Don’t blame 60’s

I know that Mr. Underwood is older than I but I was born before the 1960s and my parents came of age in the early 1940s.

According to Mr. Underwood, men and boys were taught to be respectful to women unlike today. Which means, thanks to social media advances, we hear more about how women are disrespected and then ridicule for speaking out. Before the social upheaval of the 1960s, women received wolf whistles and lewd remarks and unwanted advances.

Women, if single, could hold a respectable position as a teacher, secretary, or nurse but even they experienced fanny pats and being compromised in the work place. Once they married, society expected that they would give up those positions to be a full-time housewife and mother. For me, it has been the women in my life who taught me how to treat and be respectful to women and people in general. I learn even more with each passing year.

There was pregnancy outside of marriage before the 1960s. Daughters were sent to an out of state “Aunt and Uncle” for an extended visit of nine months with the baby being adopted or there was a quickie marriage and a week later a pregnancy announcement and the baby arriving early. Everyone knew, you just did not talk about it in polite society. Back then society knew how to hide ‘moral infractions’. If a young woman was unable to go out of town, they could get a back alley abortion or, if wealthy enough, get your doctor to perform one as a D and C procedure.

People in the 1960s did not throw away the traditions, customs and moral values. They could not answer the growing unrest and questions at that time with the traditions, customs and moral values of the past.

How moral is it to oppress one sex? How moral is segregation, discrimination and the continual denial of basic human rights for non white people? How moral is it for society’s institutions to keep oppression, segregation, discrimination as a moral standard? Mr. Underwood can blame the 1960s, but it started earlier than that, WWII made changes and then tried to return things back to the way they were before the war.

Women replaced the men in factories, women and minorities served in the armed forces and experienced freedom and respect. They could not go back once they experience what white males have all along.

Traditions, customs and moral values changed because of WWII and the attempt to undo that and return to the standards before the war met resistance – a resistance that built until it exploded in the 1960s.

Change happened then and it is happening now. Society readjusted then, it will readjust now. In the past moral infractions could be hidden, in the present they are exposed for all to see whether you want them to be or not.

Charles M. Reeder

Montoursville

Submitted by Virtual Newsroom

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