'69: How The Sexual Revolution Informed Feminism, Improved Orgasms

Last night, the History Channel premiered a documentary, Sex in '69, about the sexual revolution in America. In it, radical feminists of that era reflect on how feminism was shaped by the revolution, and vice versa.



My favorite part about how women were discovering how to pleasure themselves is this lady's face when she's shown a vibrating dildo.

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Illustration for article titled 69: How The Sexual Revolution Informed Feminism, Improved Orgasms

The documentary also talks about the feminist protest of the 1969 Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, a pivotal moment in the women's movement. Usually, for retrospectives on feminism, we hear a lot from scholarly talking heads who have not only studied and analyzed the movement, but were also part of it. But Sex in '69 featured a lesser-examined — but equally illuminating — viewpoint: that of a 1969 Miss America contestant. In this clip, Susan Anton, Miss California 1969, gives her take on how the protest affected her. Interestingly, 40 years later, she is grateful for women's liberation, and thinks we still have a long way to go.

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DISCUSSION

It's hard for me, a 24 year old woman, to imagine what it was like to live in pre-1969 America and not really be able to talk about sex or access the knowledge of how to make sex more about the woman's pleasure.

Personally, I think the greatest feminist revolution took place much earlier, when in the course of evolution human females developed the clitoris. After having spent most of the modern centuries thinking that sticking their penises into a woman's vagina was all it would take for women to experience sexual pleasure, men discovering that female orgasms mostly came from the clitoris (which has no reproductive function) must have been like God popping out from underneath the covers and saying "Gotcha!"