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Designing Women S5 E9 Extra Sugar - Sweet Tea & TV After Dark: The Hite Report

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

Waaaaaaay back in season 3, we agreed it was time to do a Sweet Tea & TV "After Dark" after Designing Women referenced a very sexy report. (Hey, reports can be sexy. Probably.)


That’s right, y’all, we’re talking about The Hite Report, a landmark 1976 study all about female sexuality. Some of the findings are NSFW, or the kiddos, so you’ve been warned. (Also, maybe not for Salina’s grandparents because it’s just too much for her brain to comprehend.)


We’ll talk about why this report was so important, the woman behind it, the backlash she faced, and how much things have changed in the last (nearly) 50 years.


Reads and watches:

Come on y’all, let’s get into it!




 

Transcript

Salina: Hey, Nikki.

Nikki: Hey, Salina.

Salina: I had a saddle on up.

Nikki: I was wondering to get yourself back in position.

Salina: Yeah, I readjusted it and it was over there and I'm over here.

Salina: It's the same old story.

Nikki: It is time and time again.

Salina: Welcome to this week's edition of Extra Sugar.

Salina: Hey, y'all.

Salina: Hey, you got y'all.

Salina: We're going to get back in this wing of it.

Nikki: It's been a whole hour since we recorded the last episode.

Salina: Well, you will be amazed what I can forget in 1 hour.

Nikki: You would be amazed what we can both do in 1 hour.

Nikki: We had to take a quick break for baseball and other podcast affiliated items that you were working on.

Salina: I mean, I was mainly eating while you were gone for like half of it.

Nikki: Good for you.

Salina: But Nikki walks in the door and she's like, why am I getting emails from you?

Salina: Honestly, it was a fair question.

Nikki: We've been apart 45 minutes to 60.

Salina: I just missed you.

Salina: That's how we communicate.

Salina: People probably think we're talking all the time.

Salina: I'm like, no, we are writing to one another in documents.

Salina: It's true.

Salina: So this is not just any regular old extra sugar.

Nikki: It's not.

Salina: It is not.

Salina: This is our first official sweet tea air TV after dark.

Salina: I don't know.

Nikki: I don't see well after dark.

Salina: That joke will be great for me and you.

Salina: Well, that's probably good.

Salina: You're not going to want to see a lot of this.

Salina: Okay, good.

Nikki: Perfect.

Salina: Just audio is probably the perfect.

Nikki: Am I supposed to make eye contact with you through this or should I look away?

Salina: I know at some points you're not going to.

Nikki: It just started.

Nikki: She took her sweater off.

Salina: It did, but I just caught.

Nikki: She had a tank top on underneath.

Nikki: Just to be clear.

Salina: That's true for now.

Salina: So this is actually probably the perfect spot for a disclaimer because there are parts of this episode that are not suitable for work.

Salina: It's really your call as a parent.

Salina: But I want to be very clear that we did not build this episode for children.

Salina: I'm not saying this is like Game of Thrones season one Hanky Panky, but we will be discussing some sexual content.

Salina: Okay.

Nikki: And I'm going to make eye contact for the entire.

Nikki: Don't do it through two fIngers.

Nikki: That got worse.

Salina: Look away.

Salina: So if this is not for you, come back on Monday for my family members that.

Salina: Listen, you guys come back on Monday, too.

Salina: That's gross and weird.

Salina: Okay.

Salina: Love y'all.

Salina: So anyways, if you've been with us for a while.

Salina: You may remember the genesis for this one was the season three premiere.

Salina: Nikki, you may not remember.

Nikki: Yes.

Nikki: Tell me more.

Salina: This is the Florida episode.

Salina: Everybody goes down to stay at Reese's condo in Florida, except for know.

Salina: But they play charades where a reference to the height report, a study of female sexuality, comes up.

Salina: And we discussed broadly during the episode that this will be perfect for an after dark episode.

Salina: Then, Lo, this week, we finally got our excuse after Charlene was selected as the research assistant for her professor's human sexuality project.

Salina: Honestly, we hope that you'll stick around again unless you're my family or a.

Salina: Yes, yes, definitely, get out.

Salina: Because sex is a part of life.

Salina: It's why you're here.

Salina: It's why I'm here.

Salina: It's why, if you're listening, they're here.

Salina: Yes, it is.

Salina: Why we're all here.

Salina: Yes, it is, Nikki Mays.

Salina: It is.

Nikki: I want to talk to you.

Salina: Well, it's just the way it is, but.

Salina: All right.

Salina: Now, final warning.

Salina: We're getting into it in 54321.

Salina: I can make my own noises.

Nikki: I really want to help you, but, yeah, just carry on.

Salina: Yeah, it's all good.

Salina: So let me really quickly lay out where we're headed here.

Salina: We're going to chat about this report.

Salina: What did it ask?

Salina: What did it find?

Salina: What were the themes?

Salina: Why is it important or singular?

Salina: I'd like to briefly discuss where we are now relative to where we were when this published.

Salina: And then I don't think we can talk about this book without also talking about the significant backlash that occurred.

Salina: And I'd like to close out by talking just a little bit about the report's author.

Salina: So, Nikki, jump in at any time.

Nikki: Okay?

Salina: I want this to be a free flowing conversation, but also, like, I don't want to make you uncomfortable.

Salina: Don't look at my eyes.

Salina: Anyways, let's get started.

Salina: The Height Report, first published in 1976, is considered by some as the true beginning of the sexual revolution for women.

Salina: So the book was written by Cher Height, who I've seen referred to as a sex educator, a sexologist, a sex researcher, and a feminist.

Salina: This book was a bona fide hit.

Salina: Today it's sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 48 or 50 million copies.

Salina: Height herself was also a hit.

Salina: She was trotted around on all the talk show circuits and the nightly news programs.

Salina: And I need to be very clear that we are not talking about the nightly news of 2023.

Salina: We are talking about the nightly news of 1970s and 80s, when it was the only thing on the book included statistical analyses based on the survey findings of 3000 women aged 14 to 78.

Salina: And it also included first person accounts, stories from women in their own words, talking frankly about sex and their personal sex lives.

Salina: So women were asked about what they did and didn't like about sex.

Salina: How an o***** feels with and without intercourse, how it feels to not have an o***** during sex.

Salina: The importance of clitoral stimulation and masturbation, and to name the greatest pleasures and frustrations of their sexual lives knocked my microphone around.

Salina: So basically, what straight men everywhere learned for the first time was that women were far from sexually satisfied.

Salina: It also found o***** is easy and strong for women, given the right stimulation.

Salina: Most women have o***** most easily during masturbation or clitoral stimulation by hand.

Salina: Are you over there shaking your head?

Nikki: So many words.

Salina: And then sex will do.

Salina: That's what the report found.

Salina: And then sex as we define it, is a cultural institution, not a biological one.

Salina: And the attitudes must change to include the stimulation that women desire.

Salina: I also think it's really weird that in all these things, they keep saying not an o*****, but they're like, women have o*****.

Salina: I'm like, use the other word there.

Nikki: Feels like it's missing something.

Salina: Yeah, like it's being translated.

Nikki: It is.

Salina: That's true.

Salina: It was definitely being translated at the time, which I think is really important to look at the.

Salina: I don't know that people look at this today and are like.

Salina: But in 1976, I'm guessing that heads were exploding all around this country, and for a few reasons.

Salina: First, until this point, it was widely accepted that women achieved o***** from a man and intercourse, period.

Salina: That was the Omega and the alpha or whatever.

Salina: So, secondly, we learned about this from women directly.

Salina: And that was very unconventional for the times, especially when it came to sex.

Salina: A couple of history reminders here.

Salina: So the height report, published alongside the back half of the Women's liberation movement and second wave feminism.

Salina: First wave feminism, we're fighting for the right to vote.

Salina: Second wave feminism, we're fighting for equal rights, more opportunities, and greater personal freedom for women.

Salina: We were also only four years out from the failed equal Rights Amendment, or the ERA which we have talked about here.

Salina: At that time, it had passed in Congress, but it was not ratified by the 38 required states.

Salina: So while we're fighting for rights, we are also unceremoniously reminded that this country wasn't really interested in hearing us.

Salina: And I just think that is an interesting juxtaposition against this narrative where women are actually talking directly to the world about how they feel about sex.

Salina: Most importantly, women hearing directly from other women about saying something so deeply personal made them feel seen.

Salina: And maybe about this content seen for the first time ever, perhaps even in a way the women's movement hadn't really seen them.

Salina: So as one article I read put it, this wasn't men telling women what they needed.

Salina: It wasn't women telling women what they needed.

Salina: It was women telling their story, their experience, their hardship, and their pleasure.

Salina: And it wasn't just about being seen.

Salina: It was about being understood, about knowing that they weren't alone or that something wasn't wrong with them.

Salina: You have to remember or learn from the first, for the first time, perhaps, that women who didn't come to an o***** were seen as something was wrong with them.

Salina: It wasn't the man's fault.

Salina: And we are not coming in this room today to talk about how it's the man's fault either.

Salina: It's just a complete misunderstanding of women altogether.

Salina: It's like no one cared enough to slow down and learn about their bodies.

Salina: So you want anything so far?

Salina: I don't want to just rush on.

Nikki: Keep going.

Salina: Okay, full disclosure, I am reading the book now, but it is almost 500 pages.

Salina: So unfortunately, as much as I love to try and wrap things up before we get to an episode, that wasn't really something I could achieve.

Salina: However, I did run across a New York Times review from the year that the book published to help provide us with some further context.

Salina: Here are some of the themes that came up, and I would argue that these are just as insightful about women generally as they are about their sex lives specifically.

Salina: So most were told growing up that sex was bad, especially for girls, and that boys would despise them if they did it.

Salina: Women reported suppressing anger to win love and approval.

Salina: They were painfully divided about sexuality and what they need and what society expects, or often in conflict.

Salina: Related There was confusion over their role in sex beyond having children.

Salina: It took years to admit what they liked sexually and even longer to ask for it.

Salina: Most respondents viewed their sexual revolution, not their, but the sexual revolution, as a myth.

Salina: It freed them to say yes, but not to say no.

Salina: So the quantity of sex had gone up, but not the quality.

Salina: But what really struck me was the divergence between the general perception about sex at the right time and how women actually felt.

Salina: Excuse me, not at the right time, just sex at that time and how women actually felt.

Salina: So, seemingly, sex was everywhere.

Salina: It was available to anyone at the drop of a hat.

Salina: And yet, what many women experienced was as the article put it a sexual starvation in the midst of this seeming plenty.

Salina: So I just wanted to stop really quickly before we move on from those themes and ask you, Nikki, does this feel relevant today still, or do you think we've moved on from these issues?

Nikki: I don't know that I am in the position to have a strong opinion on what I don't think I have a strong opinion, I guess, is where I'll leave it.

Salina: Yeah, that's okay.

Salina: So I think for me, as I was looking at it, I think that the answer is yes and no.

Salina: I think that some of it is still very relevant today.

Salina: And I think some of these themes may have dissipated a little bit.

Salina: But I definitely think that there are still, and we're not even necessarily talking specifically about sex here.

Salina: Not all of those things were about sex.

Salina: There are just like these mixed messages between what we experience in real life and what we see and hear in the media and the larger environment and the culture around us.

Salina: So I feel like that still feels very relevant today, this idea of sexual starvation.

Salina: So what I was put in the mind of when I was reading that was like, we are also in another time where, or still in a time where I think people probably perceive the fact that sex is basically on demand.

Salina: I am thinking, especially in the digital era with only fans, and even though there's a separation there, right, or like apps and you can just meet up with someone anytime, anywhere, I think that is true, and that's in the culture.

Salina: But at the same time, we keep seeing those articles where they're like, millennials don't even have sex anymore.

Salina: They have devices.

Salina: And so it does seem like there's still something like that in the air.

Nikki: I think that's what's so.

Nikki: It's just confusing to me.

Nikki: I feel a little bit disconnected from the reality of, because I don't have first hand experience outside of my own marriage.

Nikki: So, like you're saying, I feel like.

Nikki: I don't know.

Nikki: I genuinely have no idea because I've heard both of those messages.

Nikki: And so I don't know what people's experience is.

Salina: We've talked on this show before that both can be true.

Salina: So I think both may be true.

Nikki: And I think this is where it.

Salina: Gets maybe confusing or difficult because we're not trying to put our thoughts and feelings onto other people.

Salina: This is definitely just like in the.

Nikki: I think that's why something like, and I'm pointing at the height report right here on the desk, I think that's why this is so important.

Nikki: And to me, the bigger takeaway is not, is this true?

Nikki: Is this relevant?

Nikki: Is this what's happening?

Nikki: It's just, we don't know.

Nikki: We don't know.

Nikki: The media probably doesn't really know.

Nikki: And so I love that they asked those questions, and I hate that it came at a time when maybe the media put their own perceptions and their own spins on it instead of just acknowledging that this is how people feel.

Nikki: So maybe it's time for a new height report.

Nikki: Is there a new one in the works?

Nikki: Because it feels like instead of listening to what the media would have you believe, which is young people don't even have personal relationships anymore, or listen to an old person like me, that's like they're out there having sex all the time.

Nikki: Just listen to people who are having sex.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: And I don't know of anything like this in the works.

Nikki: And I keep saying young people.

Nikki: Your point resonates with me, that it wasn't just young people.

Nikki: It's still relevant inside marriage to me.

Nikki: It feels so like, I don't know.

Nikki: We don't hear a lot from married people about sex.

Salina: Maybe that's a problem.

Nikki: Maybe it is.

Nikki: And then there's this other component of it from my angle.

Nikki: Like, I want to be protective of my partner, and I don't want to share 100%.

Salina: I mean, this is what I will tell you, that preparing for this episode, what was challenging for me is I'm not going to come in here and talk about Casey and my sex life, because this is not an appropriate channel for that.

Salina: Not because I don't think that you shouldn't maybe have someone in your life that you feel like you can talk.

Salina: But a podcast isn't the right place for that.

Salina: Right.

Salina: So I think I, too, am trying to strike a balance between being open and also being like.

Salina: But there are some places that no one gets to go except for me.

Nikki: Right.

Nikki: And that's, again, coming back to this, I love the idea that people were given this opportunity to anonymously share.

Nikki: The thing that you said that resonated the most with me is that people could feel seen.

Nikki: And I do feel like there's a bit of a loneliness for me personally, not wanting to share too much with anyone, 100%.

Nikki: There's a bit of a loneliness in that.

Nikki: And I don't want to fix that by going and talking to anybody who will listen to me.

Nikki: I don't think that's the right solution.

Nikki: I think the right solution is hearing from other people, and I think that's part of what is so appealing to me about this is sometimes I look at comments online and I'm like, holy crap, someone else is going through this.

Nikki: Like, the most niche experience.

Nikki: To have someone else going through it is really validating.

Nikki: So that was what of everything you said that sounded the most resonant to me?

Salina: 100%.

Salina: I agree that the narratives in here from women directly is the most important thing in here.

Salina: So another thing, though, that struck me that still feels like it is relevant, although I really hope that this is changing, is like, I'll just speak for myself.

Salina: When I was growing up, even though we're growing up at the same time, I also heard the narrative that young women were somehow bad or damaged if they had sex outside the constraints of marriage and everything.

Salina: So when I'm thinking about things that still feel the same, that was part of my experience.

Salina: And I think that was very damaging for me on some level because I think it's hard to hear messages like that and it not be hurtful whether you're having sex or not, because it kind of sets you up where any decision you make is wrong.

Salina: You're either a prude or you're a w****, right?

Salina: Welcome to the world, Celine.

Nikki: No in between.

Salina: Exactly.

Salina: Or like, how maybe you're disappointing people on know.

Salina: And why is it anybody's business in the first place?

Nikki: I think every time I talk about sexuality and every time I talk about just sex in general, that's the thing that strikes me, is like, why does it have to be anyone else's business?

Nikki: One?

Nikki: But then I have to counterbalance that.

Salina: With somebody needs to feel seen.

Nikki: Exactly.

Salina: Everyone just keeps it to themselves.

Salina: Then we never really grow because I do think we kind of have to step outside of ourselves.

Salina: And that's, again, where this is such a multi.

Salina: It's a true onion.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: It's like eight onions, right?

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: One thing that I wanted to say, too, is when I was reading through things about Cher Height, the author, she herself reportedly said that she, quote, felt nervous that women will have to fight the same battles in the future.

Salina: So it is hard in 2023 to not think about the landmark Roe v.

Salina: Wade decision that was made just three years prior to when her work published.

Salina: That landmark decision was overturned last year.

Salina: Here in our home state of Georgia, we currently ban most abortions after roughly six weeks.

Salina: Limited access remains while the law is being challenged in the courts.

Salina: So I'd say she had some reason to feel nervous, and I honestly don't.

Salina: It's not really my business where someone stands on abortion, but definitely we are very interested in women's bodies, and we are very interested in some kind of legal control over them.

Salina: So that is, I think, the more heightened and serious version of what is thematically still happening today when it comes to women, sex and their bodies.

Salina: I'm not entirely confident that women, generally speaking, and I can see that from some of the discomfort that we're having having this conversation right now.

Salina: I'm not sure that women are entirely comfortable to this day talking openly about the topics that are covered here in this report.

Salina: So I'll give you an example that I just randomly I saw on TV as I was preparing for this episode.

Salina: So I'm super classy, and I love to watch some Southern charmed.

Salina: I got to stay caught up on that reality TV show on there.

Salina: There's a woman, and these are real life people.

Salina: So I want to be very cautious of this.

Salina: But in the show, someone gives her a vibrator as a gift.

Salina: We could break down all the reasons why that is or is not a great gift or why maybe someone wants to choose their own.

Salina: Anyways, across different scenes, we hear her say that she's never masturbated and basically, like, proudly say she's never masturbated and basically makes it clear she thinks it's disgusting, and then she throws the vibrator away.

Salina: First of all, can't you just give it back to the person so they can get their money back?

Salina: I'm not.

Nikki: If used it four times, claiming you've never used those things, that would be gross.

Salina: That would be a little too far, I think.

Salina: And I'm glad you said that, because my next thought was, only she knows her truth.

Nikki: Right.

Salina: I think the important takeaway for me from this is that it is speaking volumes about how some women, at least, still feel about being even associated with masturbation.

Nikki: The reason it's so hard for me to talk about what other people's experiences are or like, my perception of the reality of things is because I am assuming what people share externally is not always consistent.

Nikki: I made a joke a minute ago about her using it.

Nikki: I don't think it's always consistent with reality.

Nikki: Just the same way I don't public use media.

Nikki: Right.

Nikki: And for me, I'm a very modest person, just like, in general.

Nikki: In general, like, getting attention is uncomfortable to me.

Salina: So you're loving the masturbation.

Nikki: It's not because I think it's shameful or because I think it's embarrassing.

Nikki: It is a little embarrassing for me because I think that's personal.

Nikki: That's my personal stuff.

Salina: Sure.

Nikki: And that is really hard for me.

Nikki: So I always presume there are things people do that they are not comfortable sharing.

Nikki: And I think sometimes, again, you get labeled a certain way if you don't want to talk about it, like you're vanilla or you're bored.

Salina: That would be different than degrading it.

Salina: And, again, it's fine.

Nikki: It's an overreaction.

Salina: Well, I have no right to control what someone else says.

Salina: For me, it was more like, this is where we're at.

Salina: That's what I'm trying to say.

Nikki: See, in my mind, it's more of a thou doth protest too much situation where she's two.

Nikki: Right.

Nikki: So you're saying she's doing it because she thinks it's super shameful.

Nikki: In my mind, I'm saying she's doing it.

Nikki: I would just be like, oh, my God.

Salina: I just don't want to talk about this.

Nikki: Can we just not talk about this or shut something down hard and fast so we can just be done with the conversation?

Nikki: If that makes sense.

Nikki: Yeah.

Salina: And, I mean, who knows how they piece.

Nikki: Can you say her name so we can just have her write in and tell us what she really thinks?

Salina: Are you serious?

Salina: No.

Nikki: But there is something there, whether it's shame or.

Salina: And I do think it's like, well, religion.

Salina: I think religion is a huge piece of it.

Salina: Right?

Salina: I mean, they're ready to take your hand off.

Salina: I mean, for boys, too, right?

Salina: This isn't just women.

Salina: When it comes to religion, you're not supposed to be touching yourself.

Salina: But then, yes, that's religion.

Nikki: Then where is the social disconnect between those two things?

Nikki: Then why did women take it so seriously to the point where I don't know if they actually reported, but, like, reporting that they're not doing it?

Salina: Oh, no, they're doing it a lot.

Nikki: Doing it a lot.

Nikki: Okay.

Salina: A lot.

Nikki: That's the disconnect right now.

Salina: No, I mean, remember, there's narratives in here, and so if you wanted a how to guide, my goodness, it's right here in this report.

Salina: I was like, whoa.

Salina: So, I'm like, I'm the one having to lead this conversation.

Salina: 18 Shades of red, sweet tea, and.

Nikki: TV after dark, for sure.

Salina: But my point is, I don't care if she does it or not.

Salina: It's this idea that, well, now I need to know.

Salina: Doesn't want to be associated with it at all.

Salina: And I think that that is a pervasive feeling.

Nikki: I guess I would not want to be associated with it publicly either.

Nikki: I don't know that that's the reaction I would have had.

Nikki: It's not because of shame.

Nikki: It's more just like, get out of my business.

Nikki: I just don't want to talk about any of it.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: Well, we have to find a line.

Salina: Right.

Salina: I think we need to be very cautious about making people feel dirty for exploring their own bodies and their own sexuality.

Salina: Right.

Salina: We never want people to feel that way.

Salina: We also probably don't want people publicly masturbating on the.

Salina: Marta.

Nikki: My preference.

Salina: You know what I'm saying?

Salina: So can we get somewhere in between?

Nikki: Somewhere in the middle.

Nikki: Right.

Nikki: Like, making it healthy and comfortable.

Salina: That's right.

Nikki: Because you can't have it both ways.

Nikki: Sexuality is.

Nikki: Well, and also sexuality is natural.

Nikki: So you can't tell a 16 year old, just, like, control your hormones.

Nikki: You can't have sex, but you also can't touch yourself.

Nikki: Right.

Nikki: There's got to be some in between.

Salina: But then in the media, everyone's naked.

Nikki: Then everybody's naked all the time.

Salina: Right.

Salina: Interestingly, though, there is a state of self love report.

Salina: This is put out by Cosmo, but it was a pretty extensive survey.

Salina: Honestly, and I mean honestly, I think the methods were probably stronger than this book right here, but we can link to that for people who are interested in seeing how those stats shake out.

Salina: Whatever works for you.

Salina: And maybe Gen Z will get us to a better place here, whatever that place is.

Salina: They can't.

Nikki: They're always looking at their phones.

Nikki: They have no free hands.

Salina: Well, we'll all be looking at our phones together, I guess.

Salina: So I'm going to move on to the backlash then.

Salina: Let's do it.

Salina: That's a huge part.

Salina: And we'll just get past the masturbation part.

Salina: God, I hope my grandparents don't listen.

Salina: You think you have.

Salina: All right, so I think that we just have to talk about this particular aspect again, backlash.

Salina: Oh, right.

Salina: That this book received, as well as that, a position.

Salina: I'm trying so hard to bring you up out of it, and you are going back to it.

Salina: So I just want you to want.

Nikki: You to know how much I've controlled myself in this entire segment.

Salina: I think that you're an incredibly controlled person.

Salina: If you had just let it rip, I would just let you have it.

Nikki: Sit back and eat the popcorn.

Salina: I sure would.

Salina: So I think it's important to talk about the backlash for this report as well as her other work.

Salina: One, because it's significant, and I want to be as objective as possible about this book and also because the attacks get kind of personal, and I think that's kind of telling.

Salina: So let's start with the easiest part of the backlash, which is that the Christian right, let's just say they weren't really fans and they were not enamored with her findings.

Salina: I mean, we were just talking about the religious aspect of some of this.

Salina: And in fact, they were attributing her work at the time to the dissolution of the family.

Salina: Then another piece of backlash is the reaction of men.

Salina: So they reportedly felt criticized and threatened.

Salina: I imagine that they didn't take kindly to these messages from a woman, and an attractive woman at that.

Salina: And I think we see this play out in some really interesting ways.

Salina: So Playboy magazine reportedly called her work the Hate Report.

Salina: People poked at her name, saying she should change it to sheer hype.

Salina: I ran across a Vanity Fair article where her own editor, Robert Gottlieb, called it one of the saddest reads of his life.

Salina: She was hounded about old new photos during a Harvard lecture.

Salina: She was pulled apart by men in an Oprah audience for her methods.

Salina: I assume they're referring to the scientific methods.

Salina: We'll get to that.

Salina: And this is also from that Vanity Fair article.

Salina: But Time magazine was quoted saying that her third installment, Women in love, was simply an excuse for male bashing, and she received death threats both by mail and over the phone.

Salina: So that's just like a little sampling of things that I ran across.

Nikki: We have this interesting thing I feel like happens anytime a woman gets into a position where she makes men feel self conscious for what you said, some of the attacks got personal.

Nikki: That's what I was thinking of when you gave your Southern charm example a minute ago, is how when you are feeling attacked, some people, some people like myself, when you feel attacked, you lash out in really unusual ways.

Nikki: And one thing that I see happen, and so I think that lady may have lashed out a little bit with the over the top reaction.

Nikki: But one thing that seems to happen over and over again with men is the backlash becomes very personal very quickly.

Nikki: So it's always about looks, it's always about weight.

Nikki: If she's talking about sex, it's going to be about how she is not an attractive person or she's so attractive that she's just doing, I don't know, doing this to get attention or whatever.

Nikki: That part of it doesn't surprise me that it got personal really fast.

Nikki: I just think it's really sad.

Salina: Yes.

Nikki: Very unfair.

Salina: No surprise, right?

Salina: I agree.

Salina: I don't think I would have been like.

Salina: And everyone was like, thank you.

Salina: Now, if I was a heterosexual man.

Nikki: I think I'd be like, be all over that book.

Nikki: Right?

Nikki: Like, what do I need to learn?

Salina: That's why I don't understand.

Salina: I think that might be more of the reaction today.

Nikki: Oh, okay.

Nikki: I thought you were going to say that happened quietly in the dark.

Salina: I'm sure in some ways it did.

Salina: I think it probably was generational then, too.

Nikki: I want to say one more thing.

Nikki: The dissolution of marriage point, I think, is.

Nikki: And the dissolution of family, I think, is what you said.

Nikki: I think that's really an unfortunate reaction to women's sexuality.

Nikki: And it's this weird thing we keep defaulting to.

Nikki: Like, it comes up a lot with gay marriage, too, that it's responsible for the dissolution of family.

Salina: I got to tell you, I had.

Nikki: Two parents and their marriage dissolved.

Nikki: And I don't think it's necessarily for any of the reasons.

Nikki: How do I say this?

Nikki: I think marriage is dissolved for a lot of reasons.

Nikki: And so I don't know that women having more agency over their body or their sexuality is the thing that's going to drive a marriage apart.

Salina: Exactly.

Salina: Oh, yeah.

Salina: Just having great sex right out.

Nikki: Exactly.

Nikki: And I just find that to be such a we, whoever, it keeps coming back to that point.

Nikki: And I just think, man, if we could really focus on making people feel whole and making people feel like they have the full exploration of the human experience and doing that together as a family, not the sex part, but as a couple, you could do that together.

Nikki: But kind of used to fully experiencing life, that feels like the strengthening of family versus the dissolution.

Salina: Yeah, but it's like if we go to the religious mode.

Salina: Right?

Salina: And again, if you look at what's happening with women's rights in this country right now, which is, like, a little unbelievaBle, but if you look at all of that and the religious aspect and the fact that some of these groups get so angry about a woman having agency over her body, I mean, it is hard to tear it apart from the children aspect, that there are people in the world who don't see the body for pleasure.

Salina: It's like factory.

Nikki: But they mode do, I think, on a personal level, for themselves.

Nikki: I think in a lot of instances they do.

Nikki: It's this projection on other people that's hypocritical.

Nikki: And the problem.

Salina: Yeah.

Nikki: As she continues to point out obvious.

Salina: Things, people are great, aren't they?

Salina: Okay, so let's get on to this third backlash, which is that many took issue with the reports.

Salina: I'm going to call them scientific shortcomings.

Salina: So one article referred to a, quote, flawed methodology and a, quote, skewed sampling.

Salina: Another referred to it as lack statistical reporting, specifically citing that she failed to obtain demographic statistics for some of her respondents.

Salina: I researched how, in what ways was my question, and I kept searching for that, and I kept being like, these really broad strokes of what the problem was.

Salina: And then finally, I ran across a 1976 article where they actually had two psychotherapists review her book.

Salina: Now, they both admitted it was flawed, and one of them, I thought, laid out a really good argument for what those flaws were.

Salina: This is not a science course, so I'm not going to take you piece by piece through that, but we will link to that if you want to see some of the things that they were pointing out.

Salina: But I really wanted to bring up this to also say that they also both gave it a rave review, high praise, and a strong recommendation, mostly for the reasons we've already talked about, which is the narrative piece.

Salina: Honestly, I've been thumbing through it.

Salina: I'm a little over 100 pages in right now because I can only read, like, four or five narratives for each one of these things.

Salina: And I'm like, okay, I get it.

Salina: I got it, Jackie, you're cool.

Salina: We get it.

Salina: You love your shower head anyways.

Salina: But at some point, Nikki just fell out of her chair.

Nikki: I think you bought an electric toothbrush.

Salina: Because, well, that got mentioned, too.

Salina: And I was like, please don't.

Nikki: Oh, my God, that's so unsanitary.

Salina: Please tell me you have two toothbrushes, Jackie.

Nikki: Oh, Jackie.

Salina: What a mess.

Salina: But anyways, I don't see a lot of stats in here, period.

Nikki: Right?

Salina: There's some stuff in here, like, when they're like, 75% of women say that they m*********.

Salina: That is about as much as I see.

Salina: It's just not that detailed.

Salina: I think she kind of knew, guys.

Salina: I think she kind of knew.

Salina: However, her follow up books received even wider criticism.

Salina: So the height report on male sexuality comes out in 81.

Salina: Then she has the height report on women in Love, a cultural revolution in progress that comes out in 87.

Salina: Incidentally, that Florida episode, I think that's the book that had just come out.

Salina: And so I think the height report gets a plug as a reference in the show.

Salina: The Designing Women Florida episode.

Salina: We have a designing Women podcast.

Nikki: I thought we were talking about Southern Charm again.

Salina: My bad.

Salina: So I think that that third book caused a big stir.

Salina: There was some pretty.

Salina: I noted some of the statistics I think this is where the mail bashing piece really comes in, or at least people's reaction to it.

Salina: 84% of respondents to her questionnaire are not satisfied emotionally with their relationships.

Salina: 95% of the report emotional and psychological harassment from their men.

Salina: 98% desire more communication.

Salina: Okay, that point, I'm like, I can't.

Nikki: Believe that wasn't 100.

Salina: 100% of the people in this room will tell you that.

Salina: And then just 13% of women married more than two years are, quote, in love.

Salina: And I think people, oh, God, you said 2%.

Salina: Just 13%.

Nikki: 13%.

Nikki: Okay, two years.

Nikki: Okay, that is low.

Salina: So I think when this one came out, it just started to get an even closer look.

Salina: They were like, oh, this is cool.

Salina: And then we keep doing it.

Salina: And they were like, wait a second.

Salina: So I run across this Washington Post article, and it's not a hit piece because technically a hit piece means that you're using false information to make something look true.

Salina: And as far as I know, it's not false information, but it is definitely what I would call like an attack piece on share height.

Salina: So I don't know what happened over the course of these years, but it was not good.

Salina: And it is very clear as someone who has some experience with media that she really pooped the bed or they pooped the bed or something.

Salina: Okay, so here's what happens in this article.

Salina: The reporter called her out for her quirky behavior.

Salina: This is nice, okay.

Salina: Hitting a limo driver, storming out of interviews, or threatening to back out of interviews when her requirements weren't met, screening interview requests through a lawyer and suing a writer for 15 million.

Salina: Now they settled.

Salina: So something happened.

Nikki: It sounds like she had had a lot of crap.

Nikki: I think that's exactly, she had to start protecting herself.

Salina: I think that's exactly right.

Nikki: This is why we can't have nice things.

Salina: I think in the beginning, too, she needed a better handler.

Salina: I think she needed like a publicist and stuff.

Nikki: She needed someone to help her guide the narrative.

Salina: I think that's right.

Salina: And I think then it became too controlling.

Nikki: Right.

Salina: This is me reading between the lines of articles.

Salina: So I don't know anything, but these are just my guesses.

Salina: But this article goes on to quote not two, not five, not even eight, but 1111 experts openly and in some cases in great detail, questioning her methods from top to bottom.

Salina: Eleven.

Salina: You know they don't need eleven experts.

Salina: I know they don't need eleven experts.

Salina: You should have seen me read this article.

Salina: It's like 123456.

Salina: Who is the reporter.

Nikki: Did they have a relationship that fell apart or something?

Nikki: Like a friendship?

Salina: I feel like I could probably do a deeper dive on that.

Salina: I didn't have time to, but I think.

Salina: Yeah, I think that's a great question.

Salina: Perhaps her mom or something.

Salina: Here's the worst part.

Salina: The most cringey for me, anyway, was a painstakingly thorough account of how they caught her making up a fake employee that was actually her.

Salina: And then all of this culminated in a weird screaming match with a camera crew in her apartment, where she had basically paid somebody to come in and pretend that it was the person that she had made up.

Nikki: Oh, no.

Salina: Why?

Nikki: To what end?

Salina: I don't know.

Salina: But how it played out is.

Salina: This is me remembering an article I read a few weeks ago.

Salina: But something like they asked, like, the girl said something that made it very clear that she had no idea.

Salina: Like, maybe she said Cher Heights name wrong or something.

Salina: And they were like, can we see some identification?

Salina: And then the Cher Heights husband threw them out.

Nikki: Oh, my God.

Salina: For being rude in their apartment.

Nikki: How dare you catch my wife in a lie.

Salina: Get out of here.

Salina: My guess is there are no innocent parties here.

Salina: Like I said, I've seen good points raised about the flawed methodology, but it does also, at least partially, look like a female research being disproportionately attacked.

Salina: Let's just say for a second that we suspend reality.

Salina: And let's say that this book was written by Samuel Height.

Salina: Would there be criticism?

Salina: Probably.

Salina: Would the reaction have been so visceral and so hateful?

Salina: Questionable?

Nikki: Yeah.

Nikki: We don't call men ugly very often.

Nikki: Or fat or any of the things.

Nikki: They probably called her a s***.

Salina: Right.

Salina: So now that we've shifted our focus to share height, let's wrap up with a little bit about who she was and how that brought her to this work.

Salina: So she was born Shirley Diana Gregory on November 2, 1942, in St.

Salina: Joseph, Missouri.

Salina: It's right on the border of Kansas, towards the northwestern corner of the state, and most famously, the birthplace of Eminem, and also where the outlawed Jesse James was shot and killed.

Salina: That's just a little sidebar in my extra sugar, but the reason I actually looked it up is because I was curious if she was Southern or.

Nikki: Uh huh.

Salina: And it's also notable that Caddy cornered from St.

Salina: Joseph, and a short five years later, our beloved LBT would come along.

Salina: And I just think that these two probably had quite a good deal in common.

Salina: It was hard for me to find details, but there are some heavy handed implications.

Salina: That height had a rough start in life.

Salina: Her mom was only 16 when she was born, and she bounces around a little bit, living with her grandparents for some time and then an aunt.

Salina: She goes on to receive her bachelor's and master's in history from the University of Florida and attended Columbia, but left after they said she couldn't write her dissertation on female sexuality.

Salina: But while she was still there, she was modeling part time for money, including ads for the Olavetti typewriters.

Salina: By her own account, it was a tagline on one of these ads with her in it that catapulted her into feminism.

Salina: That tagline was the typewriter so smart she doesn't have to be.

Salina: That's rough.

Salina: So the thing is, I say by her own account, because I found one.

Salina: I am not kidding.

Salina: Typewriter enthusiast who claims she is flat out lying and that no ad ever existed.

Salina: Oh, gosh.

Salina: So just try to tell all sides of the story, man.

Nikki: It was a lot easier to build a false narrative around yourself back in the.

Nikki: Before the Internet.

Salina: Yes, and that's a good point.

Salina: So protesting leads her to the National Organization for Women, or now.

Salina: Which in turn leads her to the very work that would eventually become the height report.

Salina: I'm not even going to tell you what that specific story looked like, because when I read it, I was like, that doesn't even sound true.

Salina: That sounds, like, too perfect and weird.

Salina: But in 1989, just two years after her third book on sexuality was published, she moved to Europe with her first husband.

Salina: And then in 1995, she renounced her American citizenship and became a German citizen.

Salina: And we do have a record of why.

Salina: In 2003, she wrote, after a decade of sustained attacks on myself and my work, particularly my reports into female sexuality, I no longer felt free to carry out my research to the best of my ability in the country of my birth.

Salina: Share Height died on September 9, 2020, in London.

Salina: She was 77 and had reportedly battled both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Salina: Interestingly, she and her work are kind of lost to the culture.

Salina: It's not entirely clear why, especially giving her groundbreaking findings.

Salina: But if you are interested, I think we'll get some answers in a documentary that will have premiered by the time this airs called the Disappearance of Share Height.

Salina: It actually came out at Sundance this year in January, but it will not release in select theaters until November 17.

Salina: Translation, you're going to have to go to where the artsy fartsy people go to see it.

Salina: This is not going to be playing in your local AMC.

Nikki: Well, then I guess I won't see.

Salina: It well, I'm on YouTube, so I'm hoping it'll stream somewhere.

Salina: We can link to details in our blog post so those become available.

Salina: It was so, like, broad when I found the information that I was like, well, that's not helpful.

Salina: Somewhere in theaters.

Salina: And you know what?

Salina: Select theaters can mean anything, but it's actually Dakota Johnson's involved, and she does the voice work in it.

Nikki: Okay.

Salina: And does readings of share.

Salina: I guess they got a hold of all kinds of different things of share heights, and she'll be reading them to kind of add an emotionality to it.

Salina: So, Nikki, I'm realizing that we haven't said nearly enough dirty words for an after dark special.

Salina: Hurry, hurry.

Salina: Say something dirty.

Salina: Well, that'll work.

Salina: Yeah.

Salina: So I don't know what that is, but I don't want to be involved.

Salina: You know the drill.

Salina: DM us, email us, or contact us from the website.

Salina: Find us all over the socials.

Salina: And that's this week's extra sugar.


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