Thursday, January 29, 2015

UVa situation reminds some observers of 1950s, when girls' dorms had curfews and mens' did not, to "protect" women

Sororities at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville say that the mentality of protecting women has degenerated back to the 1950s.
Susan Scvrluga has several articles in the Washington Post, the most recent (Thursday, January 29, 2015) not online yet, but summarized in Daily Caller here. Women were told (ordered) to stay out of fraternity parties this upcoming weekend because men can’t be trusted.
All of this follows earlier reports claiming that a third of college men believe they are “entitled” to sex with any co-ed they want. In earlier times, when there was a military draft and a Vietnam war (and a controversial deferment system), some young men might have rationalized that they needed to create a lineage "while they had a chance".  

Back in the 1960s, it was common for residence halls to have curfews for women but not for men.  I actually lived in a dorm (McCollum Hall) at the University of Kansas as a graduate student from 1966-1968 (early), when that was the practice. 

Occasionally, I heard (heterosexual) men say things like, “No girl does that to me”, when drunk.  “I’m going to find her, and …”    Usually, alcohol was involved (and these were the days before 21 as a drinking age.)  I don’t think it was a full one-third, but the attitude was expressed,

Back in the fall of 1961, when I had my own fiasco at the College of William and Mary, there were twice as many male students as female.  Admission standards for women were higher.  I think this aggravated my situation, with a roommate who, obviously could not see me as “competition”, but saw instead my bearing as a reminder that he could fail physically.  That sort of subtle attitude would play into the debate on gays in the military as would unfold 30 days later.  But in the Army, because of the authoritarian and regimented structure, there was actually much less tension over this sort of thing (in my experience) than in college dorms.
It was a strange paradox that I grew up with.  Officials worried about girls getting pregnant and about male recklessness and impulsiveness.  I did not share those instincts.  Instead, I represented a different threat, more the kind that Vladimir Putin fears, the idea that suddenly people could stop having children altogether.  
In high school biology, you learn about reproduction as a basic life function.  

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