FSU Sociology of Sex and Gender In Education Discussion Board

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As you’ll read later in the semester, women’s access to higher education was limited until the second wave of feminism (in the 1960s and 1970s) led to legislation and judicial rulings giving women equal access to colleges and universities. However, just because coed campuses became the norm, women students weren’t treated the same as men students. You’ll probably be surprised to learn that colleges and universities had the legal right to stand in as parents to the women students, through “in loco parentis” regulations. These regulations were challenged through feminist activism (and defeated, of course!). But before this success, the majority of coed colleges and universities published handbooks for women students, detailing their expected behavior and punishments for violations. These weren’t just suggestions – but were enforced! I have spoken with FSU alumnae from the 1960s who told me stories about these rules, their efforts to get around them (like wearing raincoats and rolling up pants to hide the fact they were wearing pants!), and the overwhelming sense they had at the time that it was just “the way things were.” A copy of FSU’s Handbook for Women Students from the 1960s is found in this week’s module. Read the handbook and then address the following questions in your discussion post:

  1. How did the handbook restrict women’s behavior? Which restrictions stood out the most to you? (20 points)
  2. How do the restrictions reflect prevailing ideas about women’s sexuality and about intimate relationships (for example, which were acceptable and who had power in them)? Why weren’t similar handbooks published for men (with similar regulations and punishments)? (30 points)
  3. Although FSU and other mainstream universities no longer have such handbooks, would you conclude that the social expectations regarding women’s behavior (especially around sexuality) that they reflected have disappeared? Why or why not? (30 points)

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