Did the Industrial Revolution Lead to a Sexual Revolution?
The Industrial Revolution happened during the late 1700’s, as well as in the early 1800’s. The Industrial Revolution involved a sequence of changes within the industrial techniques, as well as in the production sector. However, it can also be regarded as a social revolution that brought about social causes with profound social effects. The consequences of the Industrial Revolution have brought about several disasters to mankind. The society has become destabilized although it has led to the increase in life expectancy. This destabilization has led to dissatisfaction since it subjects humans to indignities, as well as creating prevalent psychological suffering. Furthermore, the natural world has also been considerably inflicted by severe damage (Mitchell J. and Mitchell B. 23). This essay argues that the Industrial Revolution led to a sexual revolution.
The book taking sides presents a debate between the two authors Joseph and Hellen Mitchell whose ideas conflict regarding the increasing rate of illegitimacy during the Industrial Revolution. Joseph argues that the Industrial Revolution made women change their habits such that there were many children who got born out of marriage. He argues that with time, there was an increase in the rate of illegitimacy because industrialism offered a broad scope of opportunities out of the home, thus increasing the level of independence among women. On the other hand, the other author asserts that women worked so as to improve their lifestyles and that of their families. They had an inner desire of making ends meet by supporting their men and making use of the available opportunities (Mitchell J. and Mitchell B. 47).
The author Hellen argues that this revolution did not lead to a sexual revolution since the women who sought employment did so out of desperation and not for fulfillment. Moreover, those jobs that women got allocated used to be horrendous. According to the critics, women did these jobs due to necessity, and if given an option they would not have worked at such places. She supports other researchers who argue that the sexual revolution began, in 1960, when the introduction of the birth control pills took place. The pill allowed women to make informed career decisions, and decide how many and when to get children. Additionally, they argue that women and men became at par regarding matters that relate to the consequences of sex. Thus, the movement on modern women got established. However, I disagree with these assumptions since the Industrial Revolution is what created opportunities for women within the workplace. In addition, they also got skills, as well as awareness that made them compete with men for their rights and privileges (Mitchell J. and Mitchell B. 53).
Hellen also argues that the sexual revolution was a result of traditions becoming abolished. It was also due to inadequate support from the community, family, as well as the church. I tend to disagree with this assertion because with industrialism, the position that women held within the family shifted from dependency and powerlessness to independence. They were able to afford to live by themselves and even cater for their children’s needs singlehandedly. They became aware of their rights and would not allow anyone to infringe on those rights. This was contrary to the social ideology that made men supreme over women within the households. Women had to obey and serve their husbands (Mitchell J. and Mitchell B. 61).
In my opinion, I agree that industrialism led to sexual revolution since it is what actually brought about the vast transformation with regard to female emancipation. Sexual revolution began when women got allocated the jobs that men handled. They began demanding equal rights at their workplaces and at home. With time, more women began working. The number that demanded equal rights such as equal pay and suffrage increased. This sexual revolution has continued to date whereby women are, in some instances, paid more or equal to their male counterparts. The situation changed in that even before the Industrial Revolution ended women were able to vote (Mitchell J. and Mitchell B. 75).
Women whose economic status improved by a greater margin were the ones who would not be able to fulfill their original roles of housekeeping and childrearing. They also sought to enhance their skills by seeking further studies, which promoted the fight for female liberation and independence. From the nineteenth century to date, sexual revolution has continued to affect many aspects within the society with women rising over men in many sectors. For instance, there are several households where women dominate over economic and other social aspects. They are the breadwinners who go to every length at ensuring that their children get well catered for (Mitchell J. and Mitchell B. 89).
The technological advancement has also contributed to change within the social structures in the society to the extent that men have now come to respect women and observe their rights both at home and the workplace. Violation of these rights can now lead to severe consequences such as becoming fined or serving jail terms for a long period. However, these laws got enacted after several years of fighting for them by women groups and activists across the world (Mitchell J. and Mitchell B. 91)…