In this innovative and revealing study of midcentury American sex
and culture, Amanda Littauer traces the origins of the "sexual
revolution" of the 1960s. She argues that sexual liberation was
much more than a reaction to 1950s repression because it largely
involved the mainstreaming of a counterculture already on the rise
among girls and young women decades earlier. From World War
II–era "victory girls" to teen lesbians in the 1940s and
1950s, these nonconforming women and girls navigated and resisted
intense social and interpersonal pressures to fit existing mores,
using the upheavals of the era to pursue new sexual freedoms.
Building on a new generation of research on postwar society,
Littauer tells the history of diverse young women who stood at the
center of major cultural change and helped transform a society
bound by conservative sexual morality into one more open to
individualism, plurality, and pleasure in modern sexual life.