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The Premarital Pelvic Exam and Heterosexuality during the Cold War (Essay Sample)

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EVERY QUESTION NEED TO BE ANSWERED INTO ONE PAGE PARAGRAPH BY PARAGRAPH
Reading 26: Carolyn Herbst Lewis, “Waking Sleeping Beauty: The Premarital Pelvic Exam and Heterosexuality during the Cold War”
•What was involved in the 1950s and ‘60s premarital pelvic exam? Why did doctors view these exams as necessary to “save” the nation, and why do you think this exam fell out of favor in medical practice after this time period?
•Why did doctors believe that pelvic exams were necessary? What are some of the ways in which this exam is problematic (ex.: violating women’s bodily autonomy, presumption of heterosexuality, viewing clitoral orgasm as deviant)?

Reading 27: Laurie Essig and Lynn Owens, “What if Marriage Is Bad For Us?”
•How is the (Western) institution of marriage different today than it has been historically? What are some of the changes that have occurred in how we think about marriage?
•Do you agree with Essig and Owens’ reasons for rejecting marriage? Are some reasons more or less compelling than others? Explain.

Reading 28: Kathleen Gerson, “Moral Dilemmas, Moral Strategies, and Transformation of Gender: Lessons from Two Generations of Work and Family Change”
*If you are or have been married, what do you think of Essig and Owens’ analysis of marriage? If you are not currently married, do you see yourself wanting to get married in the future? Why or why not?
*How is the (Western) institution of marriage different today than it has been historically? What are some of the changes that have occurred in how we think about marriage?

Reading 29: Hung Cam Thai, “For Better or Worse: Gender Allures in the Vietnamese Global Marriage Market”
* Why are Minh and Thanh unable to find spouses in their home countries? How is the idea of respect linked to Minh and Thanh’s decision to marry a person so far away?

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Marriage
Reading 26: Carolyn Herbst Lewis, “Waking Sleeping Beauty: The Premarital Pelvic Exam and Heterosexuality during the Cold War”
Lewis C. Herbst explains to us how doctors encouraged premarital women to take part in a pelvic exam believing that this would instill in them “proper” marriage gender roles in the 1950s and 1960s. It would play a role in strengthening their marriages and thus the nation would be strengthened in return. In fear of rising divorce rates, sexual chaos such as homosexuality, cold war and the soviets, the physicians were worried of the nation falling apart and believed that through the above, they would encourage heterosexual marriages and thus ‘save’ the nation. Invention of “kegel exercise” by Arnold Kegel pointed to involuntary vaginal contractions during an orgasm as the pointer to female sexual maturity, disputing the clitoral stimulation, eventually leading to pelvic exam falling out of favor in medical practice. However, assumptions like women shouldn’t focus on their own pleasure since men were the necessary aspects in procreation violated the presumption heterosexuality whilst penetration using an instrument was more or less a violation of a woman’s bodily autonomy.

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