Moral Standards in the 1960s-1970s Essay

The English societal militant Constance Mary Whitehouse was frequently celebrated for her resistance to societal liberalism and mainstream media. which she frequently claimed to be root cause of a more permissive society in Britain. Although. the extent to which we can hold this position valid is problematic. There is grounds tilting on both sides of the statement ; but of class it is unquestionable that Britain did see a sudden rebellion of tolerance and open moral diminution to which Whitehouse responded briskly. initiation and puting up the ‘National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association’ via which she campaigned against the BBC n the 60’s. The inquiry is ; was she justified in traveling to these lengths to basically seek and ban media? Surely. if she injected such a huge sum of attempt into making so. so she must hold some kind of cogency in her position? Or possibly. there were other factors which she did non take into history.

The impression of Television being the chief medium of influence of this period is incontrovertible. with 95 % of British families having one by the terminal of the sixtiess. Although the fact that the authorities set up the Committee of Inquiry on Broadcasting could in itself suggest that media had partial censoring ( therefore forbiding any existent explicit broadcasts which could take to a moral diminution ) . they did small to halt. and really welcomed the trenchant ‘social realist’ dramas such as ‘up the junction ( 1965 ) ’ and ‘Come Home Cathy ( 1966 ) ’ . as they were a replacing for the purportedly ‘vulgar’ American manner programmes on ITV such as ‘Take Your Pick ( 1958-66 ) ’ and the Westerns/Crime Dramas which they feared would gnaw British civilization and do people more violent. Though. these dramas did could be argued to hold ‘worsened’ the state of affairs as. for illustration. ‘Up the Junction’ depicted rather a in writing and powerful place abortion scene. and it is suggested that this may hold been one of the causes of the 1967 Abortion Act to be passed ; which of class accordingly lead to relaxation in attitudes towards sex as there was now an transition. or a ‘life-line’ a adult female could utilize if any inadvertent impregnation occurred. therefore increasing degrees of promiscuousness.

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Furthermore. in ‘a gustatory sensation of honey’ ( besides portion of this societal pragmatism motion that swept through theaters in the 60’s ) . every bit good as abortion once more being cardinal factor in it. there is besides an happening of a ‘one dark stand’ . non an ordinary one dark base nevertheless. an interracial one dark base. Although this was a really utmost instance of moral rebellion. critically it could hold lead to the British populace to comprehending promiscuousness every bit good as interracial relationships ( seen as immoral. abnormal at this clip ) to be more acceptable. a norm. In other words. the British populace would in theory be bawling “if she can make it. why can’t I? ! ” .

The Press besides have a portion to play in this ; they contributed mostly to a new permissive air in the media when they initiated their launch of color addendums. sexualised adverts and disgraceful intelligence narratives and significantly the first female mammilla was published by media baron Rupert Murdoch who believed this would assist the circulation of his paper. The Sun. This conveys the extent to which media was now overtly advancing tolerance. and could propose that this straight influenced a more permissive society as the populace were to the full exposed to these new developments which eased them into a new. more unfastened and bold head set.

Conversely. there is grounds to propose that Media was non merely responsible for the ‘decline in moral standards’ . as quoted by Whitehouse. Touching back onto the topic of ‘press’ . although it did perfectly promote some air tolerance. the Obscene Publications Acts of 1959 and 1964 to an extent struggle that position. These Acts of the Apostless were designed to ‘strengthen’ jurisprudence around public lewdness. in peculiar the publication of obscene articles and stuffs used in them. This could therefore propose that there were in fact some limitations on media. and that they couldn’t perchance to the full keep the incrimination for rousing of tolerance and diminution in moral criterions in this period.

Additionally. although the ‘powerful’ scene in ‘Up the Junction’ could be blamed for the passing of the Abortion Act in 1967. it is normally known that it merely eased the transition of it. and it was chiefly David Steel’s run that led the manner to this debatably extremist alteration. Prior to the Abortion Act. there were about 106. 000 illegal abortions a twelvemonth. and many were doubting about the thought that the figure of abortions would increase when the act was passed as they believed although people had the freedom. it wouldn’t needfully average they would exert it. They were incorrect. after a twelvemonth in 1968 the figure of abortions per annum rose by 35. 000 to 141. 000 a twelvemonth. This strongly suggests that the Abortion Act itself influenced a more permissive and unmoral society as it offered more freedom to the populace in respects to sex and promiscuousness.

Prior to the passing of the Divorce Act of 1969. divorce was merely permitted when there was sufficient grounds exhibiting that one party of the relationship had committed criminal conversation. and statistics show that there were few than two divorces per 1000 married twosomes. The Divorce Reform Act allowed twosomes to disassociate if they had lived apart for two old ages and both wanted it or if they had lived apart for five old ages and one spouse wanted it. Following the reform there was a immense addition in the figure of divorces. by the mid-1970s about one in every two matrimonies ended in divorce. Although it could be argued that this was due to the turning independency of adult females. it’s difficult to deny that the act had a big consequence on this. This therefore indicates to us that media was non wholly responsible for the deficiency or diminution of moral criterions as statute law such as this. did basically advance more promiscuousness as it gave married couples the freedom to divide up and do as they please.

In analyzing the scope of factors. we can reason that Mary Whitehouse’s position that the media was responsible for the morale diminution of the 60’s and 70’s was slightly valid. as there are a spectrum of beginnings and pieces of grounds that per se associate together and in bend pigment a image where the British society are to a great extent influenced by media. This was possibly due to fact that the populace at this clip. and still to this twenty-four hours. are to a great extent consumed by the media and are enthralled in its contention. and although it may non hold so much of a profound consequence on us today it is obvious people of that period were more vulnerable to it as merely coming out of a period of Austerity and little want. more likely than non they were seeking for something new something fresh. something that kept up with the societal norms of other major influences such as America- and possibly unluckily. these new tendencies frequently entailed societal rebellion and tolerance. And although statute law had a portion to play in it. this lone ensured de jure alteration. non ever de facto. where as media more times out of 10 had de facto and more profound consequence on the British society of the 1960s/70s.


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