The damned 1969 online dating

Nancy Weiss Malkiel, an emerita professor of history at Princeton University, has written a history of this era: ‘Keep the Damned Women Out,’ a title provided courtesy of a Dartmouth alumnus, class of 1929, who summed up his thoughts on coeducation thusly.

She writes that the largely male leaders of elite schools worried that they wouldn’t be able to compete for top high-school talent, who no longer wanted to attend an all-male college or university.

Green: Something that came up repeatedly in your book is the idea that schools like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton existed to cultivate the next generation of men who would lead the world.

In discussions about coeducation, some argued that it’s not the role of a Princeton or a Harvard or a Yale to educate women, because the world’s leaders are men. Malkiel: It was very clear that places like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton were in the business of creating leaders.

What were some of the challenges you noticed for the women who were in the first coeducational classes at these schools, who were also “firsts”? It may have been that their male teachers thought they were paying appropriate attention to the women who were new students, but that isn’t the way it worked.

It worked to make those students feel very self-conscious, as though they weren’t just students—they were representing their gender.

I spoke with Malkiel about the history and legacy of coeducation on college campuses; our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.One has to work hard to remember an era in which that was just the way it was. It’s an era that we aren’t really so familiar with anymore, but the dominant mode was clearly: Men are in charge, and women don’t belong here, whether “here” is in the corridors of power or on an all-male campus.Green: With the upcoming election, there’s potential for a new “first” for women: winning the White House. They were constantly asked for the woman’s point of view, in every class—whether it was in engineering or mathematics, where there is no woman’s point of view, or a class in history, literature, psychology, or sociology.It’s hard enough being a new college student—figuring out a new environment, getting your bearings. Writing about her SAT scores and extracurricular activities, the Princeton Alumni Weekly chose, chauvinistically, also to publish “her non-academic statistics”—“35-25-35.” How were women in these spaces treated as bodies or sex objects in a way that their male peers were not?But if you’re doing that at the same time that you are conscious of how you are regarded as a woman—it made a lot of women very reluctant to speak up, especially in class. Malkiel: That was the way male students were accustomed to treating women.

Leave a Reply