Sex Files Nov 5 2010
Venerable chocolatier revamps vintage vamp.

The world famous tea shop Bettys, based in Harrogate, England, recently unveiled a vintage line of chocolates based on one of their popular selections from the 1920s. The flapper figure perched atop the original papier-mâché box has a partially unbuttoned blouse and a mischievous expression that—in our humble view, at least—is perfect for the guilty pleasure of chocolate. But when the line goes on sale later this month, the flapper will have been bounced in favor of a more conservative breed of woman. Bettys execs are quoted in various British newspapers stating their belief that the 1920s figure is too risqué, and expressing their amazement that such a box was even made back then. A Telegraph quote from a Bettys archivist sums up their view: “I am surprised at how daring the original chocolate box is for its time as there is quite a lot of flesh on display. The fact that it is still a bit risqué even nowadays shows it must have caused quite a stir.”

Bettys management may believe the original box got everybody’s knickers in a twist, but in actuality, the 1920s were a sexually open decade. It was an attitude shift that arose among those who survived the generation-killing horror known as World War I. Life was to be enjoyed, because ten million dead on the battlefields of Europe proved it could be over in a flash. But the change also had to do with the rising numbers of women going to college (thus finding themselves in less protected social environments where they could make their own sexual decisions). Studies show that in the 1920s roughly 50% of American and British women were having sex before marriage. And let's not even get the French, Dutch and Scandinavians involved. We haven't researched it, but we'd bet they were humping like rabbits. The point is, though it’s possible Bettys' suggestive flapper caused a stir, we wouldn’t assume it. And if it did, the reaction may well have been considered a boon to the product. What’s changed in 2010 is our default position—i.e., sexualization is automatically bad, even though sex is that thing we do that enables our survival. So the question becomes are we evolving to a better state, or a worse one? 


History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
November 12
1912—Missing Explorer Robert Scott Found
British explorer Robert Falcon Scott and his men are found frozen to death on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica, where they had been pinned down and immobilized by bad weather, hunger and fatigue. Scott's expedition, known as the Terra Nova expedition, had attempted to be the first to reach the South Pole only to be devastated upon finding that Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had beaten them there by five weeks. Scott wrote in his diary: "The worst has happened. All the day dreams must go. Great God! This is an awful place."
1933—Nessie Spotted for First Time
Hugh Gray takes the first known photos of the Loch Ness Monster while walking back from church along the shore of the Loch near the town of Foyers. Only one photo came out, but of all the images of the monster, this one is considered the most authentic.
1969—My Lai Massacre Revealed
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh breaks the story of the My Lai massacre, which had occurred in Vietnam more than a year-and-a-half earlier but been covered up by military officials. That day, U.S. soldiers killed between 350 and 500 unarmed civilians, including women, the elderly, and infants. The event devastated America's image internationally and galvanized the U.S. anti-war effort. For Hersh's efforts he received a Pulitzer Prize.
November 11
1918—The Great War Ends
Germany signs an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside of Compi├Ęgne in France, ending The Great War, later to be called World War I. About ten million people died, and many millions more were wounded. The conflict officially stops at 11:00 a.m., and today the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month is annually honored in some European nations with two minutes of silence.
November 10
1924—Dion O'Banion Gunned Down
Dion O'Banion, leader of Chicago's North Side Gang is assassinated in his flower shop by members of rival Johnny Torrio's gang, sparking the bloody five-year war between the North Side Gang and the Chicago Outfit that culminates in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
1940—Walt Disney Becomes Informer
Walt Disney begins serving as an informer for the Los Angeles office of the FBI, with instructions to report on Hollywood subversives. He eventually testifies before HUAC, where he fingers several people as Communist agitators. He also accuses the Screen Actors Guild of being a Communist front.
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