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There comes a time in every young woman's life...
April 7, 2007 9:46 AM   Subscribe

Scans from On Becoming a Woman by Harold Shryock, M.A., M.D. (1906-2004).
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (24 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Via bitter-girl.com in the AskMe bad advice thread.

FAQ
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:47 AM on April 7, 2007


"a boy's principal reason for petting is physical; a girl's emotional"

Ah, before the invention of the female orgasm. I always imagined it was invented in a DuPont lab somewhere around 1963 by a team of ex-Nazi scientists in order to weaken the will of Soviet women.
posted by geoff. at 9:57 AM on April 7, 2007 [7 favorites]


"In your twenties and thirties you will experience the ralities of becoming a bride, housewife, and mother. Each of these experiences will carry it's full quota of satisfaction and enjoyment."

Full quota? LOL. Talk about damning with faint praise.
posted by delmoi at 10:07 AM on April 7, 2007


Is this where the boys go mill about the playground while the girls file into the auditorium to see a movie? I remember this, vaguely. Alice, the girl behind me in homeroom, couldn't blink her eyes in unison for a week.
posted by hal9k at 10:19 AM on April 7, 2007


Watch this ...

Harry Enfield - Women Keep Your Virtue


Harry Enfield - Women know your limits



posted by homodigitalis at 11:31 AM on April 7, 2007


big deal, this is typical of the crap that teens were taught before the 1960s. Dr. Shryock was a well-known public health expert, and one of the longtime faculty of Loma Linda University, which his father helped found.

Adventists still believe a lot of this crap. Still paranoid about masturbation--along with a lot of conservative Christians generally. And just remember where the Adventists came from....a (failed) end-of-the-world cult.
posted by metasonix at 11:47 AM on April 7, 2007


I laughed when I read this.

And then I tried not to cry when I realized how much it resembled my own upbringing.
posted by po at 11:50 AM on April 7, 2007


By the way, does anyone remember a youtube video done in the style of these "you're becoming a woman" videos that was totally hilarious? The conclusion was that you had to either have sex or take drugs to cure menstrual cramps.
posted by delmoi at 11:57 AM on April 7, 2007


"a boy's principal reason for petting is physical; a girl's emotional"

has anybody asked the cat about his reasons? speciesism, man.
posted by jonmc at 12:15 PM on April 7, 2007


And just remember where the Adventists came from....a (failed) end-of-the-world cult.

This is completely false. It is an undeniable fact that Christ really did return (and the world did therefore end) in 1844.

He's just waiting in the upper atmosphere and watching everybody really closely -- you just wait until he comes marching down here to sea level!!!!

/religion can accomodate any set of facts, no matter how much they contradict with reality
posted by Avenger at 12:30 PM on April 7, 2007


I thought this was going to be the story of how Harold became Harriet.

"So there is such a thing as homosexuality!"
posted by geos at 12:36 PM on April 7, 2007


When I was young I found an old marriage manual that was rather different than this one: the quite explicit 'The perfect marriage' (1928) by the physician van de Velde. The sex manual was risqué for decades to come: f.i. it was made in a quasi-instructive but actually titilary movie in Germany in 1968.
It was quite strange to read about sexual positions and their technicalities and relative merits in the stilted archaic dutch of the '20s.
And to realise that grandma and grandpa had had something to do with that book.

For instance that one should use vegetal/water based lubricants for vaginal sex instead of oil-based. Apparently this advice is still state of the art.
posted by jouke at 12:52 PM on April 7, 2007


"In your twenties and thirties you will experience the realities of becoming a bride, housewife, and mother. Each of these experiences will carry it's full quota of satisfaction and enjoyment."

I'm a housewife and mother... I want my full quota of satisfaction and enjoyment, dammit, and I want it now!
posted by amyms at 2:07 PM on April 7, 2007


Some of the advice, like "don't read fiction-- it's bad for you!" and "masturbation will deplete your vital energies!" are straight out of the 19th century. The rest seems pretty standard 1950s advice... I had a Home Economics textbook that was published in 1948 that was a laugh a minute (this was back in 1971; it was still being used).
posted by jokeefe at 2:16 PM on April 7, 2007


I have a tendency to give pre 1950s "How to be the perfect bride" books as wedding gifts. They are always a big hit. The women laugh hysterically at how preposterous the books are, and the men laugh at the same thing while often secretly (or not-so secretly) thinking "Gee, it would be nice if she waited on me hand & foot & always greeted me at the door in lingerie, actually. These aren't half bad ideas..."
posted by miss lynnster at 2:26 PM on April 7, 2007


It was good for a chuckle until it got to the part advocating female circumcision should a young lady irritate her areas because she enjoys getting herself off too much. Holy screaming WTF - I wasn't laughing anymore after that. This is what our mothers and grandmothers were given to read - that horrifies me.
posted by Melinika at 3:02 PM on April 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Also, for the sake of your marriage, you shouldn't forget these vital tips...
posted by Samizdata at 8:28 PM on April 7, 2007


Yeah, I think the people calling this "standard 1950s advice" (not to single you out, jokeefe) didn't read as far as Melinika and I did.
posted by Acetylene at 8:28 PM on April 7, 2007


By the way, does anyone remember a youtube video ... that was totally hilarious?

no.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:57 PM on April 7, 2007


Hey! thanks, goodnewsfortheinsane! I used to have the most fun ever with this stupid book -- I've got a copy -- for a while it was an ongoing thing on my blog. Quote the good doctor, mock the good doctor, laugh -- lather, rinse, repeat. Some of my favorites:

from Chapter Seven: Lest We Regret
A girl’s reasons for petting are not so much for the physical pleasures she receives, as is true in the case of a boy. Her reasons are somewhat secondhand in that she derives her satisfactions from bringing pleasure to her boy friend. It is not that a girl is repulsed by petting, but rather that her greater pleasure comes from assuming that by petting she is endearing herself to her friend and thus improving her social status.
from Chapter Five: Personal Problems
The Creator has seen fit to arrange the organs of a woman in such a way that the clitoris and vagina are very sensitive. Delicate contact with these areas produces exciting sensations. The obvious reason is to enable a wife to experience a feeling of belonging when in her husband's intimate embrace. But there are teen-age girls who, impelled by an unwholesome curiosity or by the example of unscrupulous girl friends, have fallen into the habit of manipulating these sensitive tissues as a means of excitement. This habit is spoken of as masturbation.
from Chapter Four: Secrets About Boys
The testes are abundantly supplied with delicate nerve filaments, which produce a warning signal of intense pain whenever they are bumped or compressed. You may have even noticed, on the playground, that sometimes when a boy is injured below his belt, however slightly it may seem to be, he is unable to carry on his play for several minutes.
Ok, hands up, girls. Who among us has been compelled "by the example of unscrupulous girl friends" "into the habit of manipulating these sensitive tissues as a means of excitement"? WTF? I don't remember my friends doing masturbation demos at slumber parties, do you? Perhaps the good doctor's imagination was oh... a bit out of whack?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:10 PM on April 7, 2007


Bitter girl: This may just be my unwholesome G+T talking, but yes, yes, oh gord yes. My friends teach me the best bad habits.

I guess the lost of vital nervous energy is the reason I loiter on MF so much.
posted by Jilder at 2:05 AM on April 8, 2007


Perhaps the good doctor's imagination was oh... a bit out of whack?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:10 AM on April 8 [+]
[!]


Perhaps the good doctor was extrapolating from what he and his friend-boys did as young teenagers?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:49 AM on April 8, 2007


Not touching that one with a 10"... umm, 10' pole, dirtynumbangelboy!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:27 PM on April 8, 2007


I collect these kinds of books, although I tend to go for things written before World War II. I absolutely love them. the writing is earnest, usually well intentioned, and by contemporary standards terribly, terribly misinformed. Sometimes it's quite unintentionally erotic, too, such as the nothion of girls' masturbation demonstration parties.

Part of the reason I like these old hygeinee books is that it sheds our current sexual eductation books in a new light. How silly will they seem in 50 years?

Jocelyn Elders was fired in 1994 for publically discussing masturbation.
posted by Nelson at 12:30 AM on April 9, 2007


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