2. In “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” Jane Tompkins writes that “because the Beatles were somewhat androgynous, they gave women permission to be more androgynous, too” (217).
In “Beatlemania: A sexually defiant consumer subculture?,” Barbara Ehrenreich and her co-authors write that, “What. . .most adult commentators couldn’t imagine was that the Beatles’ androgyny was itself sexy” (535). First, explain what the terms mean in the context of these two readings. Then go on to discuss what Tompkins means with her assertion about the Beatles, women and androgyny.
In particular, trace out the distinction she draws between American culture of the fifties and American culture of the sixties and the dominant images of “masculine” and “feminine” held up by each period.
Do you agree with Tompkins’ claim that there was a problem with fifties-era images of the masculine and the feminine? Why or why not? And do you agree with her claim that the Beatles and sixties culture reframed such images in a way that was salutary? Why or why not?
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