SEX: THE REVOLUTION: DO YOUR THING (TV)

Summary

One in this documentary miniseries chronicling changing societal attitudes towards sexuality in America from the 1950's to the 1990's. The concept of "free love" starts to develop in the 1970's as concepts about sexuality continue to evolve. Rock stars such as David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Lou Reed engage in cross-dressing and evoking a homosexual or transgender aesthetic, marking a greater public acceptance of these lifestyles. The gay rights movement is charged by a riot at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York in June of 1969 in response to police brutality against its gay patrons. By 1970 homosexuals across the country band together and form a coherent political body urging social and legal change, becoming a force which is recognized and gaining momentum. One of their major victories involves getting the psychiatric community to reverse their long-held policy that homosexuality is a mental illness; attempts to "cure" homosexuals often took gruesome turns involving painful electroshock therapy. In light of greater tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality, promiscuity becomes more common among gay men as a "badge of freedom." Special bathhouses and nightclubs catering to homosexuals are founded. One, the Continental Baths, receives a great deal of attention when singer Bette Midler headlines for it. Her eclectic style and familiarity with the gay community makes her very popular with homosexuals. During the 1970's, the sexual movement of the previous decade begins the fragment, and in some cases turn against each other. Women involved in the sexual revolution begin to attack Hugh Hefner and his Playboy enterprise, claiming that his business reduces women to sex objects and is dehumanizing. His comments about the lack of a male sex object in a women's magazine are soon made true when actor Burt Reynolds poses nude for the magazine Cosmopolitan, masterminded by its editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown. Women start to become more open and frank about their sexual habits and desires, typified by books such as "Fear of Flying" by Erica Jong, which advocates anonymous sexual relations without lasting attachment. The women's movement gains prominence and makes abortion a major issue. Their struggle for reproductive rights comes to fruition in 1973 with the case Roe v. Wade, which legalizes abortion. The swinger movement of the 1960's evolves into communes servings as experiments in sexual relationships. One of the most prominent of these is Sandstone Retreat in Los Angeles, a nudist resort advocating open sexuality to see if it can be integrated with traditional marital relationships. The isolation and open sexuality of the place creates a relaxed environment, and some note that the usual shame and posturing usually associated with forming relationships is absent there. Dr. Alex Comfort uses the environment of Sandstone as inspiration for his 1972 book "The Joy of Sex," a sex manual which treats sexual activity as recreational and arranges the various techniques described in the style of a gourmet cookbook. "The Joy of Sex" becomes immensely popular and widespread throughout the country. Films become far more sexual in the 1970's, including the creation of feature-length pornographic films. The first of these is 1972's "Deep Throat," which gains notoriety and massive public interest when it is declared obscene by the city of New York. Linda Lovelace, star of "Deep Throat," becomes a public sensation and the first porn star. The public's interest in pornographic film grows with the release that same year of "Behind the Green Door" starring Marilyn Chambers, who creates controversy, as she is best known for being on the box for Ivory Snow soap. She is taken off the boxes upon release of the film, further increasing interest in it and legitimizing pornographic films to a degree. In San Francisco, Castro Street becomes one of the major centers for homosexuals in the United States, openly displaying homosexual-themed businesses and buildings. Harvey Milk, the openly gay owner of a camera store, gets elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, becoming the first openly gay man to serve in public office in San Francisco and an important symbol for gay rights. At the same time, former singer and orange juice spokesperson Anita Bryant leads a strong movement in Florida opposing gay rights. Her movement manages to get laws preventing discrimination against homosexuals voted down. The gay community responds by boycotting orange juice and by protesting; one man even shoves a pie into Bryant's face during a televised press conference. However, her influence proves to be powerful and in California a politician named John Briggs tries to get Proposal 6, a measure which would prevent homosexuals from serving as teachers in the public school system, passed. This prompts a response from the gay community, and Harvey Milk debates the issue with him, especially Brigg's assertion that homosexual men are predators for children. Ultimately, Proposition 6 is defeated on November 7th, 1978. Tragedy strikes on November 27th, 1978 when Harvey Milk and San Francisco mayor George Moscone are assassinated by ex-Board of Supervisors member Dan White. He had recently been fired from his position, and many believe there is a homophobic component to his motivation. Thousands mourn Milk's death in a candlelight vigil. White is convicted of voluntary manslaughter and given the minimum possible sentence. This sparks outrage amongst the gay community and they stage a riot outside of San Francisco City Hall; the incident comes to be known as the "White Night riots." Rioters set fire to police cars and cause massive property damage; the police respond by raiding buildings down Castro Street and brutalizing homosexuals. The White Night riots serve as a harbinger of the coming battle for sexual equality and the issues surrounding it, and the coming decade sees an acceleration of the sexual revolution. Commercials deleted.

Details

  • NETWORK: VH1
  • DATE: May 14, 2008 10:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:42:20
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 108111
  • GENRE: Public affairs/documentaries
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Public affairs/documentaries
  • SERIES RUN: VH1 - TV series, 2008
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Lynne Kirby … Executive Producer
    • Brad Abramson … Executive Producer
    • Stephen Mintz … Executive Producer
    • Dana Heinz Perry … Executive Producer
    • Michael Hirschorn … Executive Producer
    • Shelly Tatro … Executive Producer
    • Ann Rose … Supervising Producer
    • Audrey Costadina … Supervising Producer
    • Richard Lowe … Producer, Director
    • Hart Perry … Producer, Director
    • Martin Torgoff … Consulting Producer, Writer
    • Salimah El-Amin … Line Producer
    • Steve Jordan … Music by
    • Meegan Vess … Music by
    • David Allyn … Cast
    • Helen Gurley Brown … Cast
    • Susan Brownmiller … Cast
    • Dyan Cannon … Cast
    • Marilyn Chambers … Cast
    • David Crosby … Cast
    • Jonathan Dana … Cast
    • Betty Dodson … Cast
    • Phil Donahue … Cast
    • Josh Alan Freidman … Cast
    • Hugh Hefner … Cast
    • John Heidenry … Cast
    • Erica Jong … Cast
    • Paul Krassner … Cast
    • Linda LeClair … Cast
    • Ariel Levy … Cast
    • John Lobell … Cast
    • Armistead Maupin … Cast
    • Legs McNeil … Cast
    • Nile Rodgers … Cast
    • Annie Sprinkle … Cast
    • Gloria Steinem … Cast
    • Susan Stryker … Cast
    • Gay Talese … Cast
    • Cal Thomas … Cast
    • Martin Torgoff … Cast
    • Bruce Vilanch … Cast
    • John Waters … Cast
    • Randy Wicker … Cast
    • Linda Williams … Cast
    • Barbara Williamson … Cast
    • John Williamson … Cast
    • Marty Zitter … Cast
    • David Bowie
    • John Briggs
    • Anita Bryant
    • Alex Comfort
    • Diane Feinstein
    • Mick Jagger
    • Ron Langevin
    • Linda Lovelace
    • Bette Midler
    • Harvey Milk
    • George Moscone
    • New York Dolls
    • Lou Reed
    • Burt Reynolds
    • Dan White