During the Cold War, it was important in society to keep things very traditional. The nuclear family consisted of the father going to work, and the mother staying home with the kids, set standards of what a “perfect” family should consist of. I think it is important to note that there was a rise in literature that focused on topics that were not talked about during this time. The topics would revolve around sexual assault and rape, or same sex relationships. Many of the books got banned, but it brought these issues to the public eye. These untalked issues being talked about had an impact on society and it caused a scare because it did fit the societal norms at the time. The Lavender Scare was a panic that went through America “in which thousands of suspected homosexuals were investigated, interrogated, and dismissed by government officials and private employers” (Friedman). Another scare that happened during this time was the Red Scare. The Red Scare was a time where people had this idea that communists were flooding into the country, and if a person was or did something different they would also be investigated. It was also believed that “communists and homosexuals possess similar characteristics, including moral corruption, psychological immaturity, and an ability to “pass” undetected among ordinary Americans” (Friedman). “Senator Joseph McCarthy played a big part in both of these scares, so when the image of a man whispering in his ear became thrown into the media it affected his credibility. Senator McCarthy, I feel was the first person to point fingers, and I feel when he finally got accused of something it caused great suspicion not only about his beliefs but as him as a person. McCarthy presented himself as a masculine man that wanted to “protect” the country from communists and homosexuals. I feel like that was his whole campaign, so when the press begins to release stories about how McCarthy might be a communist or how he might be a homosexual it contradicts with everything else. The smearing shows how interrelated communism and homophobia was in America, and how if you were labeled as one of those two things it greatly impacted a person’s life.
I do think sexual innuendos are still used in politics today. I feel sexual orientation has become such a big thing lately, especially with the rise of the LGBTQ+ community. I feel like some people are very open and supportive of individuals who belong in that community and want people in politics who are a part of that community. On the other hand, I feel there are people who are not supporters of the LGBTQ+ community, and still see homosexuality as a negative thing and is a reason why they should not be involved with politics. I think this can make some people question how much of themselves they share with the public in case there is a smearing of their image.
One thought on “Discussion Two”
First off, I found it very strange how focused on masculinity McCarthy was. I understand that might have been acceptable in the 1940s and 1950s but reading about the details of his masculinity these days felt weird and gross. It is also strange how anti-gay people were back then. And, it is not like this happened hundreds of years ago. There are people alive today who remember the Lavender Scare and how it affected McCarthy. It is sad to see some of the same hatred towards LGBTQI+ community happening in politics even today. I believe there is a reason we have only seen around 50 gay congressmen. That is just a fraction of total congressmen since America’s first congress.