Those Good Old Days

20Jun19

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I stumbled upon the Wertham Project that was discussing 1940s and 50s culture and especially the link between comics and movies. It touches upon the popular campaign to get Lois Lane spanked by Superman, which elsewhere gained traction until the publishers suspected that the calls had been hijacked by more prurient interests.

There were wider links of course and it is difficult to unpick the complex motivations and popularity of romantic M/F spanking in mainstream American (and some European) culture. The article mentioned also focuses on some links between comics and movies that may have been commercially motivated.

As the blog has it: The Avon comics were very closely linked to the Avon novels, which also included these spanking scenes. Let’s not investigate why these scenes were not only in Avon comics but in Avon books in general. The American western movie was a very popular genre from the 40s to the 60s. I have no idea why these movies were so popular, they were always the same plots and same troupes. One of these troupes was the hero spanking his love interest.

Some time Jezebel ran a feature on the cultural history of spanking in 20th century culture and started quite a heated debate between those that saw the phenomenon has pure paternalism and sexism and those that either believed it was code for sex or BDSM hidden in plain sight.

One suspects that there is some truth to all of these arguments.

You can read the full Wertham Project article here.



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