I was watching an old time western TV show the other day. It was made in 1958. The plot revolved around this attractive saloon owner woman who had previously committed murder and got away with it. In actuality, she was probably running prostitution out of her saloon, but this could not be shown due to the TV standards of 1958.
The way that she got away with murder was to stack the jury with men who would be influenced by her beauty. They would acquit her. The show was perhaps not totally realistic in the sense that there probably would be some men not influenced by her appearance, but let us run with the plot for now.
The Marshal believes that it is a tragedy that she still walks the street, so he tracks down a witness to a previous murder and convinces him to testify against the lady. Her lawyer decides to stack the jury with men again, but the Marshal has a trick up his sleeve. He convinces the judge to dismiss the jury of men and to replace it with a jury of middle age women. As the new jury of women are taking their seats, it is clear from their facial expressions that they will not be sympathetic to her. She immediately pleads guilty in the hopes for a lesser sentence.
So in 1958, it was assumed that a bunch of women would not be sympathetic to such a woman. Contrast that with today, where one would have undoubtedly some women with a “you go gurl”, “stick it to the patriarchy” attitude. Why was the old attitude in place, and why did a new attitude replace it?
Well, in the olden days, sleazy women might have done OK in the short term, but never did well in the longer term with respect to resource extraction from men. Furthermore, women as a whole formed a cartel on sex, and did not want women giving it out for anything less than long term commitment. In modern times, women have their own jobs and the government to provide resources, so there is no longer any need to enforce a cartel.
Men on the other hand, then and now, are less likely to give long term commitment to sleazy women. When long term commitment from a man is important, then one works to maximize one’s chances of receiving it.
So it used to work with both men and women pressuring women to not be sleazy. Probably it requires both groups working to make this happen. In the immediate future this will not happen. What might?