Female Adolescent Sexuality in the United States, 1850–1965, (PDF) examines the history of female adolescent sexuality in the US from the middle of the nineteenth century until the beginning of the 1960s. The ebook evaluates both adult perceptions of female adolescent sexuality and the experiences of female adolescents themselves. It explores what girls knew (or thought they knew) about sex at different points in time, girls’ ideas about love and romance, girls’ sexual experiences, female adolescent beauty culture, and the impact of popular culture on female adolescent sexuality. It also studies the ways in which adults reacted to female adolescent sexuality and the efforts of adults to either encourage or control girls’ interest in sexual topics, girls’ participation in beauty culture, dating, and their education on sexual topics. The ebook describes a trajectory along which female adolescents went from being perceived as innately innocent and essentially asexual to being considered (and feared) as primarily sexual in nature.
“In this comprehensive synthesis of adolescent girls’ sexuality in the US, Ann Kordas is especially adept at including experiences of girls of color into an overarching narrative. Drawing on examples from popular culture and also girls’ own actions and writings, this is a must-read for historians of sexuality and girlhood.” — Nicholas L. Syrett, author of American Child Bride: A History of Minors and Marriage in the United States
“In this engaging study, Ann Kordas skillfully traces the ways in which meanings and experiences of female adolescent sexuality took shape in association to larger currents of economic, social, and cultural change from the middle of the nineteenth century to the early 1960s. Kordas establishes that there was no shortage of expert advice, parental anxiety, , and cultural fascination regarding girls’ sexual behavior during this 100-year period. She also listens attentively to the rich and varied voices of girls themselves, providing fresh insight into what girls from diverse backgrounds thought, desired, felt, and experienced when navigating a romantic and sexual terrain marked by ever-shifting measures of pleasure and danger, constraint and possibility.” — Crista DeLuzio, Southern Methodist University
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