The American Way: How to Hate what you don’t understand

The history of the United States is marred with a whole hell of a lot of hatred. There has been hatred for people, ideas and things. Nothing has been safe from the disdain of U.S. society. Usually this fell upon people or what they practiced. Race based hatred is very much still alive today despite multiple Civil Rights movements/amendments/progresses in the country. We as a nation have hated almost all colors and creeds generally speaking at some point or time. We hate ideas that oppose our own, especially economically and religiously. Things such as communism and socialism are still used as a badge of dishonor today (see the slander of Bernie Sanders during his Presidential campaign). Many different religions are hated by many different people for many different reasons, most of which I won’t go into, but one specifically is very relevant for this post. Many around the country are taught to have a distaste for Islam as it is now associated with terrorism, which for the most part is blatantly wrong or manipulated in monstrous fashion.

U.S. society has always needed something to hate. We can’t love everything all the time. One practice/idea/lifestyle that has faced the ills of the American people is homosexuality. For an incredibly long time it wasn’t ok to be gay in the U.S of A. Legislation was passed on state levels outlawing homosexuality. Homosexual culture has been ridiculed time and time again, and at multiple points in history gays were pushed away from society or treated like some disease, as mentioned by Amber in her article about Regress in America. It is all truly a shame, but maybe no treatment was more unfair then during the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic as we’ve read all about this week. AIDS arrived on U.S. soil in the early 1980s and from the start was associated with homosexuality. This meant a couple things. A: it wasn’t going to be taken as seriously as it needed to be, B: people wouldn’t care nearly as much about the victims, and C: there was zero doubt that the U.S. government was going to find a way to not only bungle treating people who had AIDS, but also be incredibly insensitive to an entire segment of the U.S. population in the process (AIDS in the media, the early years).

Of course all of the above did indeed happen. HIV/AIDS is still a major problem in the world today and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of cure on the horizon. But that isn’t the issue I’m necessarily trying to highlight here. What I do want to bring more light to is how contemporary, and often the most conservative parts of society, seem to always revert back to the same old same old when new things arrive on the national scene. We continue to find new things in this world to hate simply because we don’t take the time to understand what it is we are hating.

Most people never make/made the effort to understand what being gay was. We have learned that this is no disease, nothing that can be changed. It is in your DNA, you like what you like simple as that. Yet, instead of opening up to a new set of culture and lifestyle, Americans chose instead to shun it. Push it away as hard as possible because it was indeed different. We currently do the same with persons from the middle east. Instead of understanding the situation that has spawned terrorist organizations, we choose instead to celebrate killing thousands of people because at the end of the day their ideals and lives are different (and therefore lesser in the minds of many) to ours.

Will this general attitude ever change? I think no. There will always be a conservative part of society and a progressive part. Two sides (or honestly many more sides than that) to every story. And both sides have their biases and their hatreds. No matter who is in power or what groups stand out, there will always be scapegoats and those who are bullied, many for simply for the sake of having them there. Is it fair? No. But this is a distinct part of American history that continues today, and for the most part it seems to also be a part of the tragedy of humanity.

Works Cited

Endthebloodband, “AIDS in the media, the early years” .Youtube video, 2:42. Posted [March 2008].https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oWu7FR-hZ0&feature=youtu.be 

Posted in Blog Posts | Leave a comment

Morality: the spectre of the history of sexuality

Let me begin by saying I’m biased. I’m a 21 year old college student fully immersed in what modern scholars call the “hookup culture.” We may not be the “free-love” generation, but there are plenty of goings on late at night in college dorms and the surrounding apartments/townhouses. Why is that my prerequisite to this post? Well because A: I’m an honest guy, and B: I was triggered by the morality argument. This argument has been made time and time again to reason why people shouldn’t have sex, in some cases ever. In any reading of sexual history, you’ll see this argument all the time. We’ve talked about it in our class discussions, and of course my classmates have discussed it in our blog posts (as you can see with the specific target of religion here and with regards to the legality of moral regulations in the last two paragraphs here).

So what is my issue here? Its the fact that at the end of the day the largest and seemingly only “logical” argument for the opposing side of people having sex is that it is immoral. Premarital sex is immoral. Sex without the goal of having children was immoral. Looking at someone with sexual thoughts outside of a relationship was immoral. You can’t physically see my frustration currently, but this stuff bothers the hell out of me. Even today with all of the science and psychology behind sex and why the human body seems to go after it, and the fact that its a practice that is safer than ever before, people will still argue safe sex shouldn’t be taught in school because abstinence is the only way to go.

So lets break down some information. This week we learned that post WWII America had its eyes opened to the fact that a lot of people have sex before marriage, and a large percentage of those people have homosexual experience as well as heterosexual (gasp!) (Kinsey, 368-73). The response to it seemed to be more negative than positive (Women, 373-374). How dare people actually admit they had sex and how dare they experiment with the same sex, clamored the uptight-est persons of society (I’m looking at you large church groups).  That said there was some movement towards new forms of education, such as safe sex (May, 158). The saddest part is, you could still say that same statement today. When I was in middle school my “health” class was forced to sign abstinence pledges. Yes, that really happened, and I didn’t even know what I was signing off to not do considering they didn’t really teach us what sex was.

Now why are these almost 70 year reactions (and even some today) a problem? I’d say it is because people, technology, society… literally everything CHANGES overtime. But the argument against talking about sex to younger generations and promoting safe sex doesn’t. It has always come down to morality. What is morality anyway? Well its another one of those words that we have complete power over as the people who give it meaning. Its the idea that we should all strive to do the right and proper thing. Now here is my question, isn’t sex the right thing for the body? Have we not figured out that sexual release is actually good for you for many reasons? That practicing safe sex can lead to a healthier lifestyle down the line? Or even that giving young people as much education regarding a topic that without prior knowledge can lead to potential dangers down the line is actually a very good thing?

Ok, so that was more than one question but regardless you got my point. How can we keep using an outdated argument to fight against a topic that is constantly being updated with seriously valuable and good-for-society type of information? To me, it just doesn’t make any sense. Whether it is in 1953 or 2017 we have to stop using our faith in an ideal of the “right thing” to stop practicing good things in society.

“Alfred Kinsey Reports on Americans’ Sexual Behavior, 1948-1953.” In Major Problems in the History of American Sexuality, edited by Kathy Peiss, 368-373. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

“Women Write Life and Look About the Kinsey Report, 1953.” In Major Problems in the History of American Sexuality, edited by Kathy Peiss, 373-374. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

May, Elaine Tyler. “Explosive Issues: Sex, Women, and the Bomb.” 154-170.

Posted in Blog Posts | Leave a comment

The Contraceptive story: Almost 200 years later

From 1840-1870, old white men who held power in the U.S. government worked feverishly to prevent men and women from acquiring easy to use items that would prevent or terminate pregnancy. Take a step back and look at that statement again. Now, replace the range of years with 2017. Does that actually change the statement at all? Yes, a little, but it still holds relatively true. The difference is that today, the focus seems to be preventing specifically women from acquiring said items. Not many of the readings we have done can directly tie into today like articles on birth control from this week. It is both sad and almost hilarious that almost 200 years later the same kind of people are fighting the same kind of fight against both premarital sex and certain types of healthcare for women.

So here is some brief background. Contraceptives had been on the scene in several different (many odd) capacities in the 19th century. After several Presidencies involved scandal for one reason or another, Congress desired to pass “moral” legislation. In walks in leader of the No-Fun Brigade Anthony Comstock with the desire to boost some already toughly worded legislation. Considering his “one-man campaign,” Congress pushes Comstock into a position of power and give him some command with enforcing the law. (Tone, 439)

Now lets skip ahead some years… and boom here we are in 2017. Recently healthcare in general has come under fire and seems to be in for some massive changes, but specifically women’s care will be at the center of many debates. Planned Parenthood, which helps women and families in many fashions (including with contraceptive and abortive services), will likely be defunded if the GOP leaders get their way (they likely will). Congressmen have called for the end of health care coverage for birth control and women’s contraceptives. Despite this, there lacks an uproar for health care covering men’s viagra (not entirely relevant but it is a point to make). This last point especially coincides with Amber’s theme in several of her writings about the double standards in America. There are attempts to bar women from having items that would prevent them from having children or keep them safer during sex, but men are given “boner pills.” There is also heavy debate regarding abortion and the rights of women to abort a fetus are discussed daily.

So how does this all tie together and why is it important that it does? Well it all comes down certain buzz-phrases that are used to limit contraceptive practices. They’ve been called “obscene,” said to decay “the morals” of the masses. Contraceptives promote “promiscuity” rather than give people a safety valve. Advertisements for abortion or contraceptives “corrupt the youth” (Tone, 443). All of these things have been said for almost 200 years. The counter argument also hasn’t changed much, but it has a stronger defense considering the safety and effectiveness of most contraceptives and modern abortive services. Medical findings point towards all the positives widespread contraceptive use could have on the populations of the world, and yet.. these findings are shot down for the sake of a subjective moral argument? An argument that is led primarily by old white men trying to tell women specifically what to do (or not do) with their bodies. An argument who’s leadership consists of several men who need to question their own moral standing for one reason or another. Doesn’t seem right to me at all.

At the end of the day times change. People come and go. But ideas will never die. The contraception/abortion/sexual freedom debate will be one that could likely continue on for a long time. As long as politics is divided, many debates we see will never have a final “right” answer. But, if I had to throw my hat in the ring with regards to contraception and abortion, I’d rather have and not need then need and not have.

Tone, Andrea. “Black Market Birth Control: Contraceptive Entrepreneurship and Criminality in the Gilded Age.” In The Journal of American History, Vol. 87, No. 2 (Sep., 2000), 435-459.

Posted in Blog Posts | Leave a comment

Why do Words Matter? A Brief Answer.

Words, phrases, and language in general are just like everything else in the world. We give them meaning and then use that meaning in everyday life to accomplish (insert thing here). Society decides what words have certain “strength” and what words don’t. We decide what is taboo and what is not. Through this “system” we give words incredible amounts of power over people. Racial slurs, dirty words, or even just generally cold-hearted comments can cast a shadow over entire groups. It is just a word or just a phrase but because of the connotations that we assign to it, it makes words have more power than a sword or a bomb.

A perfect example of what I just said lies in this weeks readings. Whether it is Anthony Comstock really hating on anything “obscene” (Comstock Condemns, 243) or Angela Heywood and her “infamous three words,” (Battan, 259) it was clear that in the 19th century words had an incredible effect on what people considered good or bad. For example, Shannon noted last week in her piece how powerful the word “gay” could be on society. Homosocial and homosexual relationships were considered quite foreign during this time, and a lot of that is because there simply wasn’t a proper term to describe them.

Thanks to Comstock, the Freedom of Speech of average Americans was censored regularly through the mail service. Why did he fight such a battle to demand censors? Well he believed that the words and subjects offered up by advertising and pornography were harming the nations youth. They were so harmful that the legislative branch of the U.S. government (under heavy scrutiny at the time) decided the moral thing to do was to limit people with the threat of financial penalty or jail time. (Comstock Condemns, 243-244)

Words were so powerful and effective that the government had to limit their use in certain outlets. As it turns out at the time they were so powerful they cost people their lives. The post Civil-War south was still an incredibly racist and unfair society towards african americans. As Ida B. Wells-Barnett pointed out, the word rape was misused constantly in this society. Black men were slapped with the label of rapist from the word go. This was done to bring down the black man and make them look like the bad guy. As long as the word rape was tied to a black man, it was essentially a death sentence. But this word wasn’t the only one deadly to african americans. One story Wells-Barnett mentioned was simply in regards to the tone of the words spoken to white people, “Will Lewis who was hanged at Tullahoma, Tenn., last year for being drunk and ‘sassy’ to white folks.” The words attached to African Americans or spoken by them either challenged or reaffirmed the social hierarchy of the south, and in many cases led to the untimely deaths of many African Americans. (Myth of the Black Rapist, 155-158)

The best observation made in our readings was that by Jesse Battan. He noticed that both of the major groups with regards to sexuality, the “Free Lovers” and the “Prudists,” both attacked the issue from that of language. The Free Lovers wanted to open up the language society considered normal at the time, and then it would allow people to understand sexuality in a more equal and respectable light. The prudists instead wanted to censor language even more so then what was normal in the Victorian era. Words were the weapons of these two groups. By limiting them, the prudists exerted power over the population and set the precedent. But by trying to open up what people can say, the Free Lovers tried to change society as a whole and eliminate the deemed oddities of the Victorian era.

Words cost people money, years of their life in jail, or more simply their lives. Words have the power to change society or rip it to shreds. The power of words is determined by society, but the decision of what power words receive is a great debate. It was as common in the 19th century as it is now. This will likely continue as society evolves and changes, and as time continues words will assuredly shape how we think of ourselves.

“Ida B. Wells-Barnett Exposes the Myth of the Black Rapist, 1892.” In Major Problems in the History of American Sexuality, edited by Kathy Peiss, 155-158. New York Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

“Anthony Comstock Condemns Obscene Literature, 1883.” In Major Problems in the History of American Sexuality, edited by Kathy Peiss, 243-244. New York Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

Battan, Jesse. “‘The Word Made Flesh’: Language, Authority, and Sexual Desire in Late Nineteenth-Century America.” In Major Problems in the History of American Sexuality, edited by Kathy Peiss, 252-264. New York Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

 

Posted in Blog Posts | Leave a comment

Learning to love your friends: Sexuality within Victorian friendships

When you think of your friends today do you ever say that you love them? I don’t mean your casual “I love you bro” moment, I mean really deeply love them. To many of you reading this you may find the sole idea of this to be quite strange. I wouldn’t say that I passionately love my friends for instance. They are great to be around but I don’t have thoughts of marrying them. For people (especially women) it was incredibly common to have a profound love for close friends during the nineteenth century. Living within Victorian society, the sexes were commonly separated and encouraged to only speak with each other in terms of future relationships rather than any kind of friendship. This led in many cases to oddly erotic relationships between friends of the same sex, despite no evidence of actual sex taking place.

Why did things like this happen? I’d argue it’s because humans are incredibly sexual beings. The more aware we are of our sexuality the more it crops up in our lives. For men and women of the victorian era, their sexuality was known to them. It was commonly repressed by both society and religious standards, but that doesn’t remove it from their being. It is the kind of thing that builds up over time and needs to get out. As the saying goes, “we all have needs.” So despite the homosexual nature of these passionate friendships, the inner sexuality needed some form of expression. As Angela noted last week, Karen Lystra explains that during this time sex is sacred and private. It concerns what is deep inside us. Don’t we only share and express what is deep down inside us to our closest of confidants? In the Victorian era, this was usually a same-sex best friend.

I would argue that Caroll Smith-Rosenberg has it right when it comes to what context we should be looking at with these relationships. Don’t simply look at the psyche profile, but rather examine the culture and societal norms of the time to help understand why the women of this time had these relationships. “American society was characterized in large part by rigid gender-role differentiation within the family and within society as a whole, leading to the emotional segregation of women and men.” (Smith-Rosenberg, 205). Through this structure women were encouraged to only form close bonds with women, and men with men prior to marriage. So we have our context. Society is gender separate which leads to closer and more emotionally dependent friendships with the same sex.

These dependencies then dip into the world of sexuality. While many of these women still preferred heterosexual relations, they had experiences prior to or even during marriage with the same sex that were sort of fringe sexuality. Combining the emotional attachment they’ve had with the same sex with their own need to be sexual. “The girls are very friendly towards me… One of them wants to sleep with me. Perhaps I will give my consent some of these nights.” (Hansen, 219). The African American woman Addie Brown was giving her testimony to her incredibly close friend. She described a coworker of hers wanting to “sleep” with her. Now, this wasn’t in a sexual fashion, but during the rendezvous the girl did want to practice sexual acts such as fondling Addie. Even though Addie was a co worker who wasn’t a very close friend, the girl had an attachment knowing that she was a woman and would understand her sexuality and her desires.

Because of the distinct separation of the sexes before marriage, the Victorian era created distinct homosexual relationships in society between heterosexual people. All people learned growing up was to avoid the opposite sex until courtship. This created emotional bonds between members of the same sex. Human beings being very sexual in nature had to let out their desires somehow. Because of the tight bonds that were formed between great friends, they released some of their sexuality to their closest of friends. For many sexuality building up explodes out like a volcano, but for many of the Victorian era it had to come out little by little and eventually became natural among members of the same sex.

 

Hansen, Karen. “An Erotic Friendship Between Two African-American Women.” In Major Problems in the History of American Sexuality, edited by Kathy Peiss, 214-228. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

Smith-Rosenburg, Caroll. “The Female World of Love and Ritual.” In Major Problems in the History of American Sexuality, edited by Kathy Peiss, 201-214. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

Posted in Blog Posts | Leave a comment

Breaking Spirits: Sexual violence and slavery

The practice of slavery is one of the most abhorrent things mankind has brought unto itself. Slaves were treated as less than people (and in many cases officially not counted as human). Masters consistently established dominance in many different ways, one of the most prevalent being the use of sexual violence. These offenses were specifically used to target women in most cases, but the profound effect it had on men broke the collective spirit of all in the slave communities. Men, women, and children were taught to fear the masters because they could use you as they wished and there was nothing you or your family/friends could do about it.

Attacks on slaves via masters were all about physical domination. The slaves had to be the lesser at the end of it all. Any back talk could earn a whipping. Running away could get you dragged through the fields in chains (Jacobs, 17). Sexual violence on the other hand had a very mental component to it. For women it was the constant threat of the master. They were there to be used, like a tool at the masters’ will. This did a lot to inspire fear within slave women especially. Harriet Jacobs experienced that first hand before her master even touched her. “He told me I was his property; that I must be subject to his will in all things” (Jacobs, 30). Her master would frequently impart sexually demeaning words upon her to try and lower her own thinking about herself and her world.

This physical violence took a toll on the women, as any rape or assault would, but it left scars mentally no matter the situation. Some slaves would have partially white children that left the reminder of their treatment with every look at the mulatto child. Even in such situations masters would not bestow kindness upon the child or mother. But sometimes they did treat their “mistresses” in special ways. But this has a different way of breaking the mind. “A woman being a slave don’t stop her having genteel ideas… They know they must submit to their masters; besides, their masters, maybe, dress ’em up, and make ’em little presents, and give ’em more privileges… This breaks down their spirits dreadfully, and makes ’em wish they was dead” (“Slave Can’t Be a Man”, 144). This special treatment could make the women feel even worse because their community will suffer no matter, and they are still simply property to be used and thrown away if necessary.

Men were not as commonly physically sexually violated, but they were not spared from the damage it caused. Men are deemed the protectors in society. In a slave system the men are relegated to simply being observers. To stand up and fight is to die or risk more punishment towards the one you stand up for. This is mentally crippling for men as Lewis Clarke sums up, “Who among you would like to have your wives, and daughters, and sisters in such a situation?” (“Slave Can’t Be a Man”, 145).

The sexual dominance of slavery had a profound physical and mental impact of all slaves involved. Men and women alike are relegated to being playthings and watchers as their family and friends are used and abused and thrown away. While the spirit of the community was so key to keep people wanting to live for something, in slave communities this spirit was attacked constantly by sexual abuse by the masters.

Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the life of a slave girl. London: Penguin Books, 2000

“Fugitive Slave Lewis Clarke Explains Why ‘A Slave Can’t Be a Man,’ 1842.” In Major Problems in the History of American Sexuality, edited by Kathy Peiss, 143-145. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

Posted in Blog Posts | Leave a comment

New-wave Godliness: Self-Discipline and its focus in early 19th Century American Culture

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “with self-discipline, all things are possible.” This quote lines up well in regards to sexual mores of the early to mid 19th century in America. Chastity and virtuosity were held in higher regard than ever before. Even men were being encouraged to abstain from sex within marriage. This focus on self-discipline was a counter to growing trends in the early of the new century and was another way to make society “good.”

The concept of self-discipline comes up time and time again in Charlotte Temple. Each of the main characters displays or lacks it in some way (mostly lacking) that eventually leads them down the path towards the rest of their lives (or lack thereof). The main theme of the novel is that lacking self-discipline will always lead to your downfall. Montraville ends up sad, several main characters end up dead, and a handful end up being ok because they actually practice self-discipline. I’d argue that the author was trying to convey the consequence for not practicing being what was considered “good.” The colonies while being formed were consumed by rampant sexuality for one reason or another, with domination being the showcase. Men lord over women and colonists over indigenous peoples.

This literature shows that this period was seemingly reeling in the poor behavior of the past two centuries in the Americas. For almost 200 years people ran rampant over others. Naturally, society will react to any force that over goes its boundaries. Look at what is happening in the U.S. right now. Historically speaking the most common presidency after a Democratic one, is a Republican one. But back to the greater issue at hand here. The natural societal reaction to spiking birth rates among women and a history of sexual deviancy within the colonies is to quell any ideas of sexual freedom.

There are many ways to begin changing culture. You have to get the word out, which are what celebrities like Sylvester Graham and William Alcott would assist with. Then you use the culture centers, like churches for instance. Of course, the churches were perfect for a message of complete sexual restraint even within the bonds of marriage.

So we have our reasoning and our source of information. Now what is the argument to be made? Well we have established what society was, sexually. That means we need to progress. With male domination still inherent and religious overtones consistent, the message becomes making yourself and society both “good” and “honorable.” To practice self-discipline is to show your self worth as a man. To remain virtuous is to be valuable and rare among women in an age of expanding pregnancies. This all can also connect to godliness. Instilling self-discipline in the youth can promote holding on to the sacredness of one’s virginity. Young men should remain honorable by withholding themselves from one of the largest of life’s vices.

Establishing self-discipline as one of the strongest virtues during the early 19th century was not an entirely new ideal. Instead older values were packaged into a new concept and pushed to the masses to change the developing culture of America. People were having more children, rapes were becoming more common, and male dominant culture needed a new and clean face. So by establishing the honor gained by being modest and resisting sexual urges, cultural heads of the time period found a way to push back against the evolving sexuality of the new nation.

Posted in Blog Posts | Leave a comment

Pushing Back: Colonials resist change through the the taboo label

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, colonizers from England, Spain and other European nations were forced to observe sharp differences from their traditional cultures. The colonizers were studying and living with the native peoples of North and South America. During this time they witnessed sexuality and gender roles they had never observed before, or had seen so little of they were deemed taboo. But, for the natives these things were commonplace. At the end of the day, the dominant Europeans sought to change how the natives acted because of their own conceptualized morality and potential detriment to the traditionalist society and ideals.

What were these differences that the colonizers observed? There was a clear difference in public sexuality. The natives had distinctly different garb compared to their white counterparts. They ranged from being “naked as their name day” (Perdue, P 39) to having “few strategically placed leaves” (Perdue, P 40). This clearly threw off the Europeans but also intrigued them. The open sexuality would automatically make the indigenous peoples a target that was much more concerning for the Europeans than resources. Another clear difference would be the use of gender (or lack there of) in the native society.

The traditional gender roles are simply male and female. The colonizers had understood this for a very long time. People who did not adhere to these standards were not only outcast but investigated. Such is the case of Thomas/Thomasine Hall in 1629. Hall was scrutinized for wearing women’s clothing and performing acts that were usually done by women (such as sewing). As Kathleen Brown put in her essay regarding Hall, “Hall’s life disrupted the attempts of justices and neighbors alike to treat gender as a set of natural categories” (Brown, P 83). Was Hall causing any real trouble living the way he did? It seems that he wasn’t. Eventually Hall was forced to don men’s clothing and roles for the rest of his days by the court of Jamestown.

These gender “oddities” were present in the indigenous culture as well. It showed heavily within same sex friendships. Young males in native tribes would form seemingly homosexual relationships with each other, an incredibly strong bond, without the pure sexual aspects of the relationship (Latifau, P 35). Even these bonds were looked at as entirely taboo to the colonizers.

The morality that dominated the laws of the colonial age still show signs today in religious institutions. Sexaul and gender based changes or differences from traditional norms are frowned upon or shunned away. Instead of welcoming and studying change, it is pushed back as long as it can be. I would argue that this is because they were challenged by different cultures. Opening their own culture to these changes would also allow new ideas, freedoms and possibly new uprisings amongst people looking to break out of a traditionalist shell.

When new ideas and a culture of “open-ness” is introduced to a society it can generate an incredible upswell in new emotions amongst the common folk. This provides a dangerous path to those who hold power by holding onto traditional ideals. Why is this so believable? Look at what is happening today. People who control the power structures are resisting movements and change amongst the populous by holding onto older and more traditional structures, pushing people back into the past. The colonials had to push back against the native cultures to hold onto their own power and resist change within their society.

The differences amongst colonials and the indigenous peoples of the Americas was highlighted through sexuality and gender. But these differences and the reactions to them showed off a greater scheme at work. Old power structures and those at the head will always make great efforts to push back against the “new” and changing their ways to keep their peoples where they need to be for the structure to thrive and stay at its most powerful.

Posted in Blog Posts | Leave a comment

Josh Henry: The man, the myth, the legend (but not really)

Hello World!

I’m Josh Henry, a junior and Multimedia Journalism major with a minor in History at Virginia Tech. I’m a typical average young man with a strong voice. I love sports more than anything in the world and hopefully my sports radio career will continue past here in Blacksburg. Fun fact you may not have realized: if you’ve ever been to a baseball game at English Field here at Virginia Tech, you’ve heard me before. I am the Public Address Announcer for VT baseball.

So why am I here? I love history. It has always been a secondary passion of mine to learn about the past and answer the questions of why and how we got here. That said I’ve learned a lot about traditional history from many classes over the years, so I thought something like “Sexuality in History” would be a nice change of pace. Sexuality is mysterious and uniquely interesting. Plus, I love discussions and free flowing ideas. I imagine this class will give my classmates and I a chance to openly discuss and dissect some of the more complex topics in history through a different lense. And really, that is all I want out of History 3164.

Posted in Blog Posts | Leave a comment