Essay Sample on Forces That Brought Changes in Dating Conventions Between 1900 and 1960

Published: 2023-08-24
Essay Sample on Forces That Brought Changes in Dating Conventions Between 1900 and 1960
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Feminism Relationship Social change Historical & political figures
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1292 words
11 min read

According to Bailey, the forces that drove changes in dating conventions between 1900 and 1960; are first it is calling cards and money (Bailey 13).. The term calling was introduced and became part and parcel of the courtship process. A man will make a call to a lady to see if they are compatible. Ladies were the drivers of calling as they would decide on which days to receive calls from men. If they did not fancy the men who called and gave them cards, they would decline it. A husband in this system was a judge concerning his social status. After meeting with the lady, the man gives a vote of thanks to the host for the call. The term date mushroomed during this period and was introduced by lower-class Americans as a slang. The lower class Americans could not afford the luxury of calling. As such, they met with men on the streets or dancing halls. Dating thus became an American way of life in the 1930s, and it could be enjoyed by all Americans regardless of their status. Courtship in America was rooted in money. If one did not have money, he could not indulge himself in the courtship process. Men provided money while women provided companionship.

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Secondly, there is the economy of dating, which also brought changes in the conventions of dating (Bailey 26). The demand and supply of scarce resources lead to competition. Before World War II the youth adored a promiscuous culture. But after the war, they preferred a system of dating, which is stable. There was an intergeneration difference of opinion between the people born after and before the war. Despite their disputes, the one thing they had in common is that there was a shortage and competition in the dating system. The competition dating system thrived in 1937 (Bailey 27). People had to have materials things like cars to succeed. The adults saw this new system is suitable for preparing the youth for the harsh realities of the world. During the Great Depression, however, the competition system of courtship suffered a significant setback. It was seen as no longer giving the youth the experience to face the future. The value of dating shifted from the social behavior likability to the public eye success. The dating competition changed and went to the dance floor in late 1940. The unfortunate part was the shortage of meant, which led to ladies competing to dance with men.

Lastly, there is the worth of a date that also brought changes in the conventions of dating. In this era, the dating system was exploitive. Men exploited women as commodities, while men were used or their money (Bailey 58). All the young people cared about during this period was their welfare. The level of consumption by either men or women controlled their cost. The primary cause of the shift is that dating was pivotal to courtship, and men had to provide for refreshments and entertainment, which cost money. If it is not the movie, it is a dance all revolving around consumption (Bailey 59). In the case of Dutch dating where the lady pays for her bills, the ladies would instead take their girlfriends. Dutch dating was considered very demeaning to the men in this system. Real dates that were elegant were now the norm and encouraged. On the other hand, women showed their worth by the types of clothes and events they attend with the men. As such, both men and women in this period were seen as commodities that could be interchanged freely as long as one had the resources.

Review of Fader man's Book Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers

The book by Faderman Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America looks into the history of lesbianism (Faderman 10). Initially, lesbianism was not socially acceptable in the United States. Education was pivotal for the spread of lesbianism as it leads to the coming together of intellects from different parts of the country. Their relationships were just romantic before the term lesbian came. With improved infrastructure and technology, the ladies who identified themselves as a lesbian could quickly meet. Lesbianism has evolved over the years from women who just want to have a sexual experience with other women; to a splinter group that championed their rights as American citizens. Conservatives were not happy with the empowerment given to women through education. They saw it would erode the capacity given to women by society. All women colleges were seen to make women manlier. But of late in American society matters regarding an individual's sexuality are considered the sole right of the person. What I have found interesting in the books is the way the author has shown how different metamorphoses have changed the attitude towards peoples who are expressing their sexuality. The author has used other scholar’s works, interviews, and personal coherence to offer context and depth in his research. For instance, she has used the book of Donald Webster, the lesbians of America, to refute the definition of lesbianism he gave. He has also acknowledged the works of William Cullen. All these studies and research makes her work robust.

In conclusion, the author has shown how the love between women evolved from a healthy friendship to a romantic relationship, which later became lesbianism. Economic independence made women live independently from men. Women could travel from different parts of the country and meet other liberal women.

Significant Milestones that Impacted the Lives of Lesbians in America

There are significant milestones that impacted the lives of lesbians in America. Firstly, it is the education which led to the interaction of middle- class women from different areas in America to meet (Faderman 12). With knowledge, the ladies could get better jobs and thus be independent of men. Education broadened their thinking of a romantic relationship. Education leads the women to question the Victorian concept of domesticity. They yearned for more than to be just homemakers. Men in that era also made matters hard as they never wanted to have relationships with educated women. Others decided to explore the relations they made while in women colleges, thus never married. This era is vital to the history of lesbianism as it signaled the beginning of women who were independent and did not mind to have a romantic relationship with their fellow women.

Another significant milestone in the lives of lesbians in America happened during and after World War 11 (Faderman 70). Many women served in the military during World War 11. Some so it as an adventure where they could meet other women, and that prospect thrilled them. Others, on the other hand, so it as a way to show fellow Americans they can contribute to the war despite their labels as lesbians. Some were indifferent about their sexual orientations and wanted to discover themselves. At the end of the war, people, people were open-minded about lesbians.

The other turning point in the lives of lesbians in America is during the wasteland and oases period. The American people were enjoying the sexual freedom of 1930. The lesbianism subculture developed rapidly during this period. There was hostility to the subculture during this period, and thus a woman had to be lion-hearted to come out as a lesbian. The great depression was going on, and a lesbian would have a tough time taking care of herself. Financial independence during the great depression made it hard for some women to explore their sexuality. They created their public life where they could explore the culture in secrecy.

Works Cited

Bailey, Beth L. From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in Twentieth-Century America. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.

Faderman, Lillian. Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America. Columbia University Press, 1991.

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