Because her shower was 1950s-themed, it promoted racial and sexual oppression, according to columnist Karen Dunak. Really.
Social media users fawned over pictures from Serena Williams’s 1950s-themed baby shower when images surfaced last week of Williams and other celebrities in “Grease”-like garb at a 1950s themed diner.
Each photo received hundreds of thousands of “likes” on Instagram, and that should have been the end of it – a fun time out that no one could criticize.
Enter Muskingum University history professor Karen Dunak and The Washington Post opinion page.
According to Dunak, who published an op-ed in The Post, Williams’s 50s themed party promoted racial and sexual oppression. Seriously:
Yet by glorifying 1950s culture in the political climate in which we live, these women, who assuredly would not want to return to Jim Crow-era Florida, unwittingly reinforced a dangerous nostalgia that obscures the era’s harsh historical realities. Although the 1950s were great for white, heterosexual Americans, for people of color and sexual minorities it was a time of racial violence and pervasive sexism and bigotry.
And of course, who does Dunak connect this “nostalgia” to? None other than Donald Trump:
But Williams’s baby shower does not just promote a romanticized history of the 1950s. This very nostalgia itself has served as a cultural justification for restoring the politics and hierarchies of the era. One cannot venerate the culture of poodle skirts and sock hops without furthering the cause of those who want to Make America Great Again.
President Trump attracted fans with this slogan because a segment of the population has long imagined a triumphant return to 1950s America, an America not yet irrevocably changed by the New Left, counterculture and the civil rights, women’s liberation and gay liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s.
Dunak then goes on for several more paragraphs about the history of 1950s nostalgia before concluding that those who believe “such fun is harmless” are playing a game with “troubling underpinnings.”
“It legitimizes the politics and the hierarchy of the period and fuels a contemporary quest to restore them, a dangerous proposition for the many groups who found themselves shut out from those avenues of power,” she wrote.
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