By Mary C. McComb
Nice melancholy and the center classification: specialists, Collegiate formative years and company Ideology, 1929-1941 explores how middle-class students navigated the rocky terrain of Depression-era tradition, activity industry, relationship market, potential marriage clients, and school campuses by utilizing expert-penned recommendation and company ideology to make feel in their scenario.
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Extra info for Great Depression and the Middle Class: Experts, Collegiate Youth and Business Ideology, 1929-1941 (Studies in American Popular History and Culture)
The trend of middle-class females attending college and working in clerical and professional positions began in the mid-to-late nineteenth century, but during 1930s women students and workers were perceived as larger threats than they had been in previous and more prosperous decades. College enrollment figures show that in 1870, 21 percent of all students enrolled in college were female. 76 The new women of the earlier decades of the twentieth century received a fair share of scorn, but the increased numbers of young women in school coupled with competition for jobs made female college students of the 1930s more suspect than their predecessors.
The most visible targets for their outrage at these supposed birthrights being threatened were the female students who had arrived en masse on coeducational college campuses in the early 1930s. Male students fought back against the perceived female encroachment by using rhetorical strategies to protect their shaky, but still dominant status on campus. Young men wrote articles and editorials that attacked their female peers on three fronts. The first line of attack was questioning the intellectual ability of co-eds and raising questions about how they managed to get good grades.
37 filled the pages of student newspapers. The female sector of the student body was collectively treated like intruders who should “know their place” and keep quiet in intellectual matters. White males who were invested in maintaining gender boundaries and male privilege used discursive means to accomplish these goals. Female students were ridiculed in cartoons, campus newspaper columns and other public forums including debates. 39 Female undergraduates who challenged the “unproblematic, taken-for-granted world of the dominant group” had much to gain by their actions, including opportunities to make their voices heard, to enact change, to overthrow outmoded traditions and to replace them with new practices that better suited their interests.