Coeducation Connection?

Second try. I was using the WordPress blogging editor and it kept going into never-never land so I finally deleted the miscarriage.

So you miss the intro gibble that got eaten by the digital vacuum. Except for my cursing the reproductive organs of WordPress for producing such a pile of stercus.

Anyway, reading through the incoming this morning I came across an article [Link] entitled “Coeducation at university was – and is – no triumph of feminism.” This quote

“Beginning in 1969, and mostly ending in 1974, there was a flood of decisions in favour of coeducation in the United States and the United Kingdom. “

I was an undergraduate 1966-70 and the article moved me to reflect on the coed aspects of my UG days.

From my standpoint, Coeducation was an established fact when I got to freshman orientation in August of 1955 at the Campus of the Black Warrior. To my count there was essentially parity between men’s – not-jock – dorms and women’s dorms. No one used the term “co-ed” that I ever heard except a higher level student talking about hold over from the thirties. 

Yes, there were differences. The men had a later curfew than the women, and the dress code for men was much more liberal than for women. And the dorms were as far apart on campus as possible. But there seemed to be plenty of women students. 

It wasn’t till later that I realized they really were a minority when I realized that half the male students didn’t live in dorms. They were either resident Greeks – who would ever want to live like that? – evidently lots of useless Bogs – or they lived off-campus in apartments. Women could only live off-campus if they were married, their families lived in the city, or they were old enough to hire a lawyer and threaten suit. In those days when parents actually participated in the process, they seemed to unanimously want their daughters locked up.

I only tumbled to this when I realized after freshman year than none of my classes were more than 0.1 women. They were STEM courses, which I didn’t realize then women didn’t often do. Supposedly due to good sense according to the many guys who got weeded out freshman year.

Feminism wasn’t a known term. I don;t think I heard it in college. Maybe in graduate schule. But it didn’t impact. Grad students, at least in STEM, didn’t have time to date. And I didn’t think amiss that my classes were all male. Sex was orthogonal to grad schule.

So saying, as the articles do, that coeducation was not a triumph of feminism seems orthogonal somehow. If anything, coeducation, to my observation, was a triumph of flapperism or whatever the post-Great War women’s movement was. At least in Alibam. Except for a couple of monolith monsters, all the dorms, men’s and women’s were OLD. Plaster walls and Linoleum floors. Tile bathrooms with mostly dysfunctional plumbing.

Of course, once I got to grad schule – the Campus of the Boneyard – the dorms were coed. Alternating floors. Or so I was told. I lived off campus in a slum. Grad Schule – genteel poverty. 

I didn’t run into feminism, stated as such, until I encountered academics in the late ’80’s. Wasn’t anything but a new form of extremism, like the KKK. At least the members acted the same. But not in my UG days.