University of Texas at Austin
E-Mail: ncincotta [at] utexas.edu
Coming of Age: Youth Culture, Sex, and the Visual Revolution in Twen Magazine during the Long 1960s”
This dissertation project considers youth magazine Twen as a key site of contention in changing sexual and political cultures in the “long 1960s” (1958-1971) in West Germany. Reaching boiling point in 1968, young West Germans mobilized to break out of the perceived authoritarian social roles and thought patterns of the Federal Republic. Student activists, journalists, and artists sought to instead create antiauthoritarian political and cultural alternatives. In addition to protest, they did so by politicizing the private, especially sexuality, and by forming new spheres of knowledge, namely in publishing and journalism. By foregrounding Twen’s creative producers – American photographer Will McBride, Art Director Willy Fleckhaus, and other contributors – this dissertation considers the way visual print media was central to the making of politicized and sexualized youth identities centered on sex and consumption. Known for visual dynamism and erotic imagery, Twen’s producers often provoked what was legal and acceptable to display and talk about in public, and thus should be considered constitutive, not merely reflective, of cultural-political revolution. This project reorients our scope of 1960s beyond the student movement to consider the prominence of these cultural protagonists in broader attempts to push for cultural-political change. This project also complicates notions of sexual “revolution” to consider permissiveness as a creative process in which visual producers and their young audiences navigated and contended with new possibilities of sexual lifestyles and cultures.