56 Chapters
Medium 9781626560604

5 Heading into Summer: The Third Quarter

Blanchard, Ken Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

5

Ken: I look forward to June every year, but this June was especially sweet because it started out with my 50th reunion at Cornell. Margie and I both graduated from Cornell—she was a year behind me—so we developed many good Cornell friendships together. The reunion was a great excuse to get together with this group as well as a lot of other good people.

It was hard to imagine that 50 years had gone by since we graduated. Tim and I have mentioned a few times that I was starting to get a number of “You’re looking good” comments. That phrase was originated by Frank Rhodes, who was president of Cornell when I was getting my doctorate. Frank used to say, “There are three stages of life: youth, adulthood, and ‘You’re looking good.’” At the opening cocktail party, just for the fun of it, Margie and I went in different directions to see how many “You’re looking good” comments we would get. After about a half hour, we found each other and compared notes. I beat her by one—I had eight “You’re looking good” comments to Margie’s seven. So for me, that was an important mission accomplished. The reunion was a ball. I probably drank a little too much beer, but I was grateful to be alive and getting more fit week by week and month by month.

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Medium 9780253015969

6 The Culture Wars, Then and Now

Jo B. Paoletti Indiana University Press ePub

It has been over fifty years since the confluence of youth culture, sexual revolution, and civil rights activism set the culture wars in motion. Judging by the present state of affairs, it may be another half century before the many questions raised in the 1960s are finally resolved. I wrote the bulk of this book in 2013, a year punctuated with important fiftieth-anniversary observations. The year 1963 was a watershed. It was the year that brought us the Beatles, The Feminine Mystique, the Great March on Washington, and the Kennedy assassination. The teenagers of 1963 are in their sixties now but still arguing about many of the same contentious issues that have occupied us since junior high. Commentators originally attributed the rifts in our society to the perennial conflict between youth and age, but the generation gap has faded with the passing of our own grandparents and parents. To paraphrase Pogo, we have met the culture warriors and they are us.

In the preceding chapters I have described the major battlegrounds as revealed through dress. In this chapter I use the same lens to examine what our current gender controversies and quandaries owe to the unfinished business of the sexual revolution. Finally, I ponder what may lie ahead.

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Medium 9780253021311

2. Twice Married

Kathryn A. Rhine Indiana University Press ePub

2

Twice Married

Jummai was fifteen years old when she met the man she would eventually marry. Born in northern Nigeria, she spent her childhood in Cameroon. A mutual friend shared his photograph with Jummai, and she sent her picture to him in return. “Really,” she said, “at the time, I just wanted to see if he had any ‘defects,’ and then I would say yes. I always wanted to marry someone from far away.” This man traveled frequently to her city on business. When he first called on her, she liked him immediately. Jummai then introduced her boyfriend to her family. Next, he returned with his parents to ask Jummai’s parents for their approval. They consented to the marriage. His family presented them with an offering of kola nuts as a sign of their gratitude. After two months, they came back to Jummai’s home with a suitcase filled with cloth. His family gave these items to her relatives to announce the engagement. They set the wedding date. Soon after that, they brought Jummai’s kayan lefe (the groom’s gift to the bride).

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Medium 9780253355331

1 Gender and AIDS in an Unequal World

Mark Hunter Indiana University Press ePub

In 2006, Jacob Zuma, then sixty-four and South Africa’s former deputy president, was accused of rape. Zuma, who had entered anti-apartheid politics after growing up in rural KwaZulu-Natal, faced charges from a woman he had known for some time—her father was a fellow member of the African National Congress before his death. “Khwezi” (Star), as she was called by her supporters, was only half Zuma’s age and an HIV-positive AIDS activist.

The trial—in the words of one newspaper headline, “23 Days That Shook Our World”—appeared to crystallize fundamental gulfs in South Africa’s young democracy.1 Outside the court, and watched by the hungry media, some of Zuma’s supporters burnt photographs of Khwezi and yelled, “Burn the bitch!” Inside the courtroom, Zuma controversially drew on Zulu customs to claim that he could acquire sex relatively easily and was therefore no rapist: “Angisona isishimane mina,” he stated (I don’t struggle to attract women/I am not a sissy). He also argued that in Zulu culture a man who left a woman sexually aroused could himself be charged with rape. Zuma’s defense, in other words, was that he was no rapist, just a traditional patriarch with a large sexual appetite.2

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4 Nature and/or Nurture?

Jo B. Paoletti Indiana University Press ePub

Where do masculinity and femininity come from? After all, it is fairly obvious that newborn humans have neither set of qualities. Yet by the time they are two or three years old children not only know the rules, but they also have become its primary enforcers, as any observer of a preschool playgroup can confirm. With the women’s movement challenging traditional female roles and popular culture offering a range of new expressions of modern masculinity and femininity, it seems inevitable that children would get swept up in the excitement and confusion. If nothing else, the link between adult and children’s clothing would mean that kids and grownups would wear similar styles. This clearly happened during the 1960s and ’70s, but there was something else at work too. Emerging scientific evidence pointed to gender roles being learned and malleable in the very young. This affected children regardless of where their parents stood on women’s rights or sexual morality. Given the drive to transform women’s roles and promote gender equality, it’s likely that if you were born between the late 1960s and the early 1980s, you experienced non-gendered child raising to some extent. If you didn’t wear your sibling’s hand-me-down Garanimals outfits, the kindergarten teacher might be reading William’s Doll to you at story time. Or you might be singing along to your Free to Be . . . You and Me record on your Fisher-Price record player, after watching Sesame Street, which featured Susan Robinson as a working woman who liked to fix cars in her spare time.1

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