Sterilization, Castration and the Road to Purity and Marriage Counseling (1939)

John Ptak sent this to me a while back and I'm just getting around to it. He said: "The eugenic-oriented Human Betterment Organization (?!) and deep believer in the forcible sterilization of the "feebleminded", prostitutes, and other social deficients was also the first man in the US to open a marriage counseling practice. This would all be pretty funny if it weren't for the fact that 75,000 people were sterilized in the US in '20s – '30s with just these wicked ideas in mind…and that the Nazis translated the thing virtually right away after it was published. And its only 79 years old. Good bloody god."

The Betterment people shed more light on the role of sterilization and sex offenses by women. (My bold.)  "Of 304 feebleminded girls sterilized and paroled, 9 out of every 12 had been sex offenders before commitment.  After sterilization, only one out of every 12 became a sex delinquent on parole". 

If this wasn't such an awful story, "sex delinquent on parole", a phrase I've never seen before, might make for a great 1950's trashlit title. (It could've been a series, too:  all you need to do is take the title "Sex Delinquents on Parole" and add something to it, like "…on Parole from Outer Space" or "…on Parole:  Queenie the Slip Crown Breaks Her Knuckles" and so on.)

The sorry story that I've interrupted with this bit of frivolity is that the "sex offenses" that are being discussed here is actually "prostitution".  These young women weren't committing violent acts of sexual savagery, they were just prostitutes, which meant that in most state they were "depraved".  The "feebleminded" girls I would guess were poor or working poor, without the best education, and didn't do well on whatever test was being administered to them to determine their test-taking intelligence. It seems to me that if  the goal was to liquidate prostitution that perhaps the men "seeing" these women should've been the ones faced with the operation. But that isn't how the dominant culture viewed the situation, and that the best way to approach the problem was to remove the reproductive capacities from the weakest members of society.

The good old days really weren't that good.

Sterilization, Castration and the Road to Purity and Marriage Counseling (1939)