April 20th, 2010

keep calm and ride the kick /

Small-town American ideas about female homosexuality in the 1980s.

The situation. I've got two female characters, working- to lower-middle-class women in semi-suburban, small-town America. (As for specific location, I'm... er, not sure. Around the Kansas, up-to-Minnesota, over-to-Ohio block.) Let's call them Character A and Character B. Character A's a widow with kids, moving back to be near family friends, and Character B's the daughter of said family friends. (To clarify: twenty-something-year-old daughter. This isn't about age differences.) Both are fully involved and more or less accepted in their (geographic, social) communities. Neither are involved in the feminist movement or the gay rights movement, and they both come from close-knit, probably conservative - but not necessarily Christian - families. Character A has had little to no homosexual experience; Character B is quietly gay. No problem so far. They start a romantic/sexual relationship, and that's where I'm having the problems.

Does anyone know anything about small-town female homosexuality in the early 1980s? They're not "out" in any way, so I'm not talking reactions of community members as much as internalized ideas about lesbianism, bisexuality, female homosexuality, etc. How would straight people feel about lesbians; what would the stereotypes be? How would lesbians feel about lesbians? How would lesbians and straight people feel about bisexuality? Would there be any sort of lesbian subculture going on out there, or was that restricted to more densely populated areas? Were there any ideas about the types of relationships lesbians would form - strictly sexual, or strictly emotional, long-term or short-term, with kids or without, etc.? If they went traveling or out together, would they be perceived as friends, or would people think that there was something "weird" going on? (Closest analogy I can think of: two unrelated men sharing a hotel room. But views about sexuality differ a lot with gender, so that's not really a good analogy after all.)

I've tried searching various combinations of "lesbian" + "culture" + "rural" + "1980s" + "bisexual" + "female homosexuality" + "America", etc., but all the stuff I've found has been rather unhelpful (lesbianism & bisexuality within the context / from the perspective of women involved in the feminist movement) or, er, rather scary. (To be honest, I don't know half this stuff in regards to the attitudes now, and I wasn't even alive in the 1980s. So I'm kind of out of my depth in a major way.) Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

And context? It's for a Supernatural fic. Yeah. That small-town America.
like bond

graverobbing in nineteenth century britain

Hi folks!
So I have this story I’m writing which is set in a world vaguely based on mid-nineteenth century England. It’s not particularly true to life – there are zombies – and I’ve thrown in a heap of anachronisms all over the place (such as the types of technology used) but the story hinges on a character who’s a doctor (or pseudo-doctor is more like it) and a graverobber. The idea is that he’s chopped up a heap of bodies and sold them to people all over the place.
What I want to know is: How plausible is this? Exactly how common was it to sell stolen body parts (for medical/scientific analysis and for other reasons)? Not just to steal them, since every source I’ve found has reflected that it was pretty common, but to have a very prolific business in it? How would he conduct said business – and how wide a range of customers can I give him before it just becomes too daft? Who (in your opinion – I’m going for narrative atmosphere here; suspension of disbelief is allowed) would have been his likely customers? How much would he have been able to sell the parts for?
Sorry for the deluge of questions, and some of it I can probably work out on my own, but I’d really appreciate any input.
Googled: grave theft, grave theft nineteenth century, body snatching nineteenth century.

Clothing Creation with Minimal Tools

I have 500 college-aged kids. They're mostly modern, urban, low-income Westerners, with no special training. (A few can probably knit and sew, but no more than the average for their population.)

They've been on a spaceship for thirty years, and had to make their own textiles. After thirty years, what quality of fabric will they be turning out?

I'm assuming that it will be rougher than machine-made fabric, but I'm not sure by how much. With no machine assistance, about how long will it take to produce an outfit?

I'm not sure how to research this, because they don't have the infrastructure that most textile-makers have had, which might slow the process considerably.

They have only a few spinning wheels / looms / carders / etc. They have the materials to jury-rig their own, but resources are very limited, and will favor tools which are easy to make and maintain. (ie, drop spindles, rather than spinning wheels.)

They're growing flax, hemp, and a little cotton - pretty much no animal fibers.

They also don't have any physical teachers. They have fairly good instructions, on the main computer, but I'm not sure how the lack of interactive teachers would complicate things.