Behind closed doors: the expansion of female and male sexuality during the Second World War in Canada
LE3 .A278 2018
Bachelor of Arts
History & Classics
Gerald L. Porter devoted his life to volunteering for the community around him. After graduating from Acadia University in 1940, he joined the Canadian Military as part of the Young Men’s Christian Association (Y.M.C.A). The Y.M.C.A was one of many organizations that provided comfort and entertainment for service personnel. Upon his return, he rekindled his drive for volunteering at Acadia University, the Rotary Club, and other establishments. This archival thesis project entailed revising and reconstructing the finding aid for Gerald L. Porter’s fond. A brief finding aid had been compiled by Jeremy DeLeon and Bethany Jost in 2010 ; however, the bulk of Porter’s files were only briefly described. The majority of his files contained material that was not explained in depth or was simply overlooked. Thus, the entire finding aid was redesigned by outlining in depth exactly what was in each file, the files were reorganized in a compensable order, and his biographical sketch was rewritten. The formal paper explores how Canadian social values during the Second World War altered the perceptions of the younger generation and enabled novel expressions of sexuality. Both men and women challenged the prevailing social norms to achieve greater sexual freedom and/or less conventional gender roles. This was achieved through social functions organized by institutions such as the Y.M.C.A, sexual interactions (both heterosexual and homosexual), hasty marriages, and other means. Porter’s work with the Y.M. C.A led me to consider how entertainment and socializing helped maintain morale. The perceived notion of limiting sexuality is not necessarily the reality. Young men and women in the Second World War achieved sexual freedom through discrete means.
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