They all come marching up to Hampshire's front door.
All the theories, the
scholars, all the women and men and their
Because the sexes are
not alike, they want reasons; and because
"When a boy can say to a girl whom he wants to marry, 'I want you to do, with your life, what you want to do,' then he has had an education. And the opposite is equally true."
As this report has already suggested, Hampshire's position should be that it values individuality above all, and considers a student's sex to be secondary. Following this, the treatment of men and women in the college will have a certain rationale.
--Generally, men and women should be educated in the same way. They should only be educated differently in cases where sex differences have hitherto been emphasized at the expense of individuality.
--Both sexes should be made aware of the issues of sexuality as an important part of self-knowledge. They should discover the
ways in which sexuality has either limited or expanded men's and women's freedom to follow their own talents, and then apply their insights to their own lives.
Student and Faculty Attitudes
Although it may seem obvious to recommend that Hampshire should make its students aware of all the issues of sexuality, it is not. Many students and faculty would strongly dispute it.
First, they are not sure what the issues are. They talk about sex as casually as cars: are potency and the Pill the "issues of sexuality"? Only partly. "Masculinity" and "femininity" are the terms of sexuality: the issues have to do with what these terms mean and how they affect us. They involve every discipline from microbiology to macroeconomics. For all our emancipation, we do not commonly speak of them. A Gallup Poll finds college students "a new breed" but considers only their opinions on premarital sex, not sexuality. The same college sophomore who shares his bed with a girlfriend probably would not talk over his masculinity with her. The same girl who goes to Hair with a date is afraid intellectuality is unfeminine. A young woman may wonder how to act at her wedding, but she would not question why her husband should support her.
College-age students may be too young for such topics. "The kids don't know enough about sexuality in college," one educator said.
Only when they are out, married with a family or single and working, do they have enough experience with sexual relations at all different levels to talk intelligently and come to any real decisions about sex-role. When you're in college, the problems just aren't real enough to you. You may talk a lot about them, but you won't learn much.
Countering this argument, however, is the fact that students in college do have close experience with sexual problems. They begin their sexual activity earlier than in the past, they marry while in college more often, they have more chances to talk intellectually with members of the other sex, and are more often employed, either with or under someone from the other sex, before college is out. College seniors are often quite articulate about their sex-role concerns; experience is filtering back down through the classes.
On the other hand, college students may be too old for such topics. Since cultural conditioning begins at infancy, one theory is that children will never change from their original attitudes about sexuality. There is evidence to the contrary, though. Secondary school teachers say that young teenagers often show a nice spark in talking over ideas about sex roles, which only blows out in the later-teen dating hurricane. But, even if it were true that college students are too old to change their minds about sexual stereotypes, it would be just as true for many other issues that a college education attempts to raise.
Pushed to its extreme,
this argument is an argument against all
Finally, many faculty
and students do not like to think in
our academic tradition was initially designed by and for the celibate, the monk, the occasional nun, a kind of sexless life in which activities of the intellect were joined with a disavowal of the flesh and a denial of the body. The academic world is fundamentally hostile,_ by tradition, to those acts of femininity [and masculinity] which involve childrearing.
"Laissez-faire" would be fine if students started out as individuals in free situations. However, they do not. They start out as a cluster of stereotypes carried over from childhood, obtect and slow. In college, individuality is not a given, but
a goal. As Marya Mannes said, "I would like to see both the men and the women go through quite a long training in understanding one [another]. . . . At least to a point where each of them will think of the other as individuals first, and men and women afterwards ... I still think the gap is immensely wide."
Students might want to talk about the issues of sexuality in a more organized way if they knew how powerfully their assumptions about sex roles were affecting each other. A large number of tests have been done since World War II on male and female students' sex-role attitudes. Data show that men are more conservative about women's role than women themselves are, yet the women accept the men's standards. Male students think that women are not career-oriented and would always prefer to have a family; they see a career vs. marriage choice as being exclusive. Women, on the other hand, generally do want to have families, but they also want careers; they pretend less interest in and ability for the latter in order to meet the men's expectations. Men expect women to have more passive control over situations, more social self-discipline, less gregariousness than women themselves feel, yet they comply. Although women want more equality, they accept less. Women hope for a 50/50 decision-making process in all family affairs, but men would allow this only until there was conflict, in which case they would make the
decision: it happens so. About one in two college women in one study said that they had once wished they belonged to the other sex, against only one in seven men. Both sexes feed the false images. Women, when asked to choose the most important quality in their husband, list first "Provider," second, "Husband," and third, "Man." Female achievement is suspect: said one high school senior, "I know I can't compete with men outwardly. I'll just have to get ahead by other means." Both men and women are naive about the amount of prejudice against women in the working world. Men do not think it exists; women go along with it, accepting, for instance, the custom that typing and shorthand are required skills for any woman to have, no matter what her job. It is an old story. Longitudinal tests have also been done on some of the attitudes described above. The result:
Striking similarities in three studies with similar college populations, done over a span of 20 years, suggest that attitudes toward women may not have shifted so much as to emancipate women from feelings of necessitated subordination to men, whatever the inherent capacities of either sex.
All this in itself may be fine and natural. Yet if men impose standards and women accept them either without self-awareness or without the will to talk to each other, whichever explains many students' reticence, then their lives are not fully their own. Particularly at the time when young people are most self-conscious about "being a woman" or "being a man" and are
preparing to make some
of the most important choices in their
It is interesting
to notice the student radicals' position.
In the end, this
report's recommendation stands. "Research
Every encouragement should be given to young girls and college-age women to air their real feelings about marriage and maternity and to chart the highly probable profile of cycling through which adult roles develop. [And] they must be able to stretch more than their minds.. Their feelings must also be stretched. . . . The goal of more parents and educators should be for the cultivation of an "informed heart," to borrow Bettelheim's apt phrase.
it is not simple, either, to carry out the recommendations above. What has not been said is that all the issues of sexuality are so intimate, and so general, that they are nearly impossible to discuss in the classroom sense of the word. Few advisers think a college can deal with them all directly. That does not mean, however, that a college cannot be quite practical about them. Somehow, the issues of sexuality must take protean shapes and spread themselves into all corners of campus life. Then communication, discussion, will follow, sometimes quite unawares. The next sections will describe how this can happen.
B. Student and Faculty Attitudes
The Gallup Poll is reported in a New York Times article, May 26, 1969.
The educator who thinks college might be too soon to start discussion on sexuality is Dr. Ann Ulanov. She, however, was not certain, only debating the question in her own mind.
The college president quoted is Mrs. Livingston Hall of Simon's Rock, Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
Margaret Mead's comment appears in "Gender in the Honors Program," Newsletter of the Inter-University Committee on the Superior Student (May, 1961), pp. 4-5.
Marya Mannes' made her statement at a Radcliffe conference on "Women and the University," March 1, 1969. She is quoted in a mimeographed transcript of the conference on pp. 8-9.
The description of testing on sex-role attitudes is from Carole A. Leland and Marjorie M. Lozoff, College Influences on the Role Development of Female Undergraduates (Stanford, Calif.: Institute for the Study of Human Problems, 1969); Mary Morgan, "Concerns for Vocational Development in Women as Perceived by [Stanford] University Student Sample," seminar paper, Stanford University, 1968; Raymond B. Ryan, "Report on Male Concept of
Female Role," seminar paper, Stanford University, 1968. The conclusion on the longitudinal research is quoted from Leland and Lozoff, College Influences on Role Development, op. cit., p. 8. Rossi, in Women and the Science Professions, op. cit., p. 87, also gives evidence of men's conservatism, adding the interesting fact that women see their fathers as more tolerant and permissive of women who enter the masculine fields than their husbands (p. 91). Notice that all of these sociologists contradict Mrs. Rostow's opinion, quoted earlier, that men and women currently have flexible views about each other's roles.
The summary statement on the need for discussion between college students is made by Leland and Lozoff, College Influences on Role Development, op. cit., p. 5. Rossi's statement is from an unpublished paper, "The Roots of Ambivalence in American Women."
"If I were asked to draw a cartoon of the state of our knowledge about women's education, I would picture a hoop, lopsided and with frequent breaks, being rolled through a brightening dawn by an educator holding a flaccid stick called research."
The first move toward recommendations on the curriculum is to scan sex differences specifically related to learning. Despite the quotation above, there is some basis for doing this. The known facts cover a number of areas.
INTELLIGENCE. There are no over-all differences between male and-female IQs. There are some disparities in particular mental abilities, however, as follows.
Verbal Ability. There are few or no differences.
Mathematical Ability. Men have excelled females here because they have been able to perceive more abstract relationships between elements and are more facile with spatial associations.
These differences directly relate to men's greater interest in mathematics at school and college than women's.
Memory. Women are better at memorization than men. However, both sexes remember best whatever interests them most.
Memory is not an independent ability, but links with motivation.
Problem Solving. Men have a more analytical approach to problems than women, can pass more easily from problem to problem, are better at space and construction problems, are more self-motivated, and more dogged.
Problem solving has an evident and interesting dependence on the individual's concept of his own sex-role. Not only has it been shown that men who score highest on the pencil-and-paper test of masculine self-concept are better problem solvers than men who score lower, but women who score relatively high in masculinity are better problem solvers than other women; it has also been shown that the problem solving ability of experimental women subjects rose following a group lecture and discussion in which the cultural artificiality of some popular conceptions of femininity was laid bare.
LEARNING RATES. Women earn better grades in elementary and secondary school than men but fall behind in college.
Here, again, motivation is the key. There are many women who keep up with the men; they are the ones who, for some reason, can share the men's motivation.
EMOTIONAL EXPRESSION. Women can express their emotions more comfortably and adroitly than men.
There is no research to offer proof of whether this is an innate characteristic or merely follows the cultural tendency to encourage emotional expression more among women than men.
LEARNING HABITS. There is a common opinion that women are less aggressive than men in the way they learn. Their reserve shows
especially, so opinion goes, when sensitive issues, like sex, or sex-linked issues, come up.
Research on this subject has perhaps been the least satisfactory, since it is so largely a subjective matter. The opinion seems to belong more to faculty than to students, and it has not been correlated with faculty bias. Neither has it been correlated with class type and size, student motivation, or possible other factors. What is known, however, is that women do not fear classes with men and do not spoil their performance. Neither sex shys from talking about certain subjects in front of the other.
PERFORMANCE. Men's grades vary much more greatly than women's.
There is no convincing reason to explain this, but motivation is probably behind it.
PREPARATION. In the past, boys and girls received somewhat divergent preparation in elementary and secondary schools, particularly separate private ones. Girls often came to college with much less preparation in the sciences, but more in languages, for instance. Assumptions by school officials and teachers about the boys' and girls' future roles generally caused this imbalance.
Now, however, the variance has nearly gone. According to secondary school principals and college admissions officers,
boys and girls have much the same preparation, with individual option making for differences, rather than the school system.
However, there are subtle differences in background due to cultural sex stereotypes. Women may not be as familiar with mechanical images and equipment as men because as teenagers they were setting their hair while the boys were stripping cars. Men may not have as much sense of artistic or literary style as women because they spent afternoons at football practice instead of reading. However, these fine disparities are hard to measure. Also, increasingly similar school and high school programs compensate for them. Boys take home economics and women take physics. TV, a common pursuit, gives equal time to razors and shampoo. The trend toward androgyny mentioned earlier stretches back before college too.
MOTIVATION. Men see their college career as preparation for a professional life; women do not. Women are tentative about their goals, and act without making long-term plans.
As far as research can tell, this difference is entirely based on the cultural assumption that women will raise families and not pursue careers.
COURSE PREFERENCES. The conventional rubric is that men choose the sciences, women the humanities. Data from separate colleges
often seemed to follow this, for at men's colleges, cyclotrons and computers proliferated, while women's colleges built theaters and enlarged their music library collections. Even within disciplines, there were supposed to be divisions: for instance, in psychology, women would prefer the developmental rather than the experimental side; in philosophy, women would study metaphysics, men logical positivism; in the natural sciences, women would take botany, men zoology; in mathematics, women would like matrix algebra, men geometry.
Current data shows conflicting results. According to a recent Wesleyan study of several coeducational and coordinate liberal arts colleges, course elections do follow the rubric. However, there is a less divergent pattern for majors: well over one third of both men and women students major in English, history, or government. As for separate colleges: of the five most popular majors at Vassar and Yale, history, English, political science, and psychology are the same at both places. At the end of its section concerning the structure of a coeducational curriculum, the Princeton Report concludes:
The evidence we have, then, strongly suggests . . . that enrollments in a given discipline at a given university are affected far more by the quality of the faculty, by the particular courses offered and by the other options available, than they are by the sex composition of the student body.
Thus, in course preferences, as in other matters, motivation rather than innate sex differences seems to show. Other studies have confirmed this from a second point of view. Girls who make career plans take "masculine" courses; girls who are introduced to "masculine" courses make career plans.
FINALLY, there is a general qualification of any statement about sex differences specifically related to learning. All of them become slighter and slighter the better educated and brighter the girls and boys are. It is as in Jerome Bruner's statement, "As societies get control over their environment, the differentiation between men and women becomes less marked."
Considering all the above points, the argument between the natural and environmental theories of sex differences outlined in Chapter IV seems to come out, at least with respect to direct learning differences, in favor of cultural causes.
Separation in the Curriculum
Theoretically, it might be possible to concoct a separate set of courses for women and men on the surmise that the two sexes learn differently. A few colleges have entertained the
notion. This report will recommend differently, however, since the evidence above indicates that there are fewer differences between the sexes' ways of learning than might be supposed and, furthermore, that where there are differences, cultural expectation, translated into the student's lives as differing motivations, is at work. Since this report's theme is that students need to gain some common vantage on this bifurcation, there should be no separate courses for men and women. It might be more efficient to have them, no doubt, but then, efficiency is not always education's worry.
--All courses should be for both men and women. Both men and women may need certain help, according to the differences noted above, but remedial work should be mixed with the course work for each individual, not provided for separate groups.
In the immediate future, many students will follow stereotyped course preferences. Women may do this more than men, since the stereotypes are more restrictive for them. And, unfortunately, they may do it more readily at Hampshire than at other colleges because of the flexible curriculum. Particularly alert advising during orientation's first stage should counter this.
- -Women should be encouraged to diversify in their choice of courses.
It is perfectly possible to imagine that, one day, men and women may demand separate courses. Hampshire should allow this, depending, of course, on its staff and facilities, but should not institutionalize it, the college's aim constantly being to mend any such breaks harmful to individual option.
Additions to the Curriculum
Although the curriculum must not divide to serve men and women best, it must enlarge for them. However, like "Black Studies," "Sex Studies" are risky and vague. This section of the report makes a series of recommendations that would weave them almost entirely into the regular curriculum at Hampshire instead of segregating them.
--Every possible course should include material relevant to the issues if sexuality. Men and women need to find these issues everywhere, not only in courses on "sexuality," not even only in the social sciences. The material would vary from course to course. In biology, it might be the variety of sexual adaptations for reproduction. In economics, it might be the manpower impact of volunteerism. In history, it might be feminist movements in whatever period: Hypatia, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mme. de Sevigne. In physics, it might be women's contributions: the Curies, Marie Goeppert-Mayer, Lise Meitner, Chien Shium Wu.
In English, it might be "male" and "female" sentences, as Virginia Woolf defined them. In philosophy, it might be Plato and Rousseau's differing metaphysic on the Nature of Man/Woman. In language, it might be the etymologies of household and hunting words. in music, it might be an ethnomusicological study of sex-linked performance habits. In film, it might be the visual formation of sex-role stereotypes. The list would depend on each instructor's wish. Hopefully, the examples here show that the material would not be segregated in the course, but, like every other particular topic a teacher submits, would lead into or come from broad issues appropriate to the over-all discipline. To make the point with two of the examples here: debate about "male" or "female" sentences in an English course brings up broad questions of style, contrasts between works in every century, and principles in criticism; study of Lise Meitner's work leads into the principles of nuclear fission, besides giving an exciting record of the human and political sides of scientific discovery. The sexual angles of these starting-points will enhance, not disguise, their academic meaning. And the students will gain much from thinking about sexual issues in a series of well-defined, limited, academic contexts.
--In addition, there should be a handful of courses whose primary content has to do with sexuality. Traditionally, most
colleges offer one sociology course on "Marriage and the Family," which, even at excellent coeducational colleges, tried to teach students how to adjust to conventional roles. Such courses are not always successful; at any rate, their goal is askew. Adjustment is for the good of society; individuals care for Choice. Hampshire's courses should aim to help its students decide what their roles will be.
There are really three distinct bodies of investigation and information to cover. Students may learn about the economic and social position of women over the ages either through, or including, a study of feminist movements. They may learn about cultures in which sex roles differ from ours. And they may learn about the psychological investigation of sex differences. This triplex can be taught in pieces or as one. In the interests of integration, interdisciplinary work, and correlation, all of which are especially important to Hampshire, this report recommends that it be taught as one. Later, however, depending on the faculty at Hampshire or at the other Valley colleges, more detailed study on each piece might be offered.
There are two contexts especially suited for this material at Hampshire. One is Human Development. John Boetigger's report on Human Development lays the groundwork for this, so there will be no elaboration on it here.
--Each year, one of the seminars on Human Development in Division I should deal with the issues of sexuality.
The other context is that of Equality. Here, Hampshire's, concern for communal and individual responsibilities provides the justification. The fact is that although women are not a numerical minority in America, they face nearly the same problems as a minority group. For instance, the number of similarities between women, considered as a group, and blacks astounds anyone who thinks about them carefully: there are the same legal and political barriers, the same low social status, the same economic discrimination, the same claims of incurable natural blocks or incredible natural advantages.
--There should be a three-unit course on Equal Rights that would stretch through two years, with any student in any division being free to take any or all the units. One unit would be on the black minority; the other would be on religious and a few special political minorities;' and the other would be on women. This would have the scope to be a true course on Equal Rights. Of course, Hampshire has not arranged its curriculum yet, and the recommended course may not fit the pattern made next year. It seems, however, that the statement here is general enough to fit many patterns. Eventually, this course may even have its separate units on separate Valley campusus.
--Any student should be able to build his or her "major" around the theme of sexuality.
--One faculty member's time should be pliant enough to accommodate any student request for a special course in this area.
There is a continuum jump between the issues of sexuality discussed above and practical information about physical sex. While the first are most important in this report, the second belongs here too, for despite the fact that some schools now offer sex education in the third grade, many college freshmen know surprisingly sparse facts of life.
--Hampshire should let students take the initiative in this area. There should be no separate sex education program, with the exception of one lecture a year by a visiting speaker who would be on hand afterwards for consultation. The lecture, as purely informative as possible, would be open to both sexes. Inevitably, some information about physical sex will come into the curriculum through the course material suggested above. Additional arrangements to provide information and services to students could be made on a contract basis with the local Planned Parenthood group. of course, advisory faculty and the resident
psychotherapist should also help. The librarian should collect films, records, and books on the subject. Sex-educational events at the other four Valley colleges should be cross-scheduled.
1. Sex Differences in Learning
A large part of my discussion of sex differences related to learning takes not only its content but also its form directly from a paper prepared for Vassar's deliberations on coeducation by a psychology professor there: Dwight Chapman, "Known Sex Differences and Their Implications For Higher Education," Vassar College, August, 1968. He himself relies on a basic source: LT. E. Garai and A. Scheinfeld, "Sex Differences in Mental and Behavioral Traits," Genetic Psychology Monographs, LXXVII (May, 1968), pp. 169-299. 1 have supplemented his source with several of my own. His recommendations are quite different from mine, one important difference being that he emphasizes the need for more research. As I see it, Hampshire's classes will be so mixed and mobile that research would suffer from lack of controls and also would not be of much prescriptive use. Given the laboratory mood at Hampshire, however, possibilities for research could be explained further. Another report on sex differences in learning that is fascinating is called "Men and Women as Students: Comments from Swarthmore." This is a series of statements written by the department chairmen at Swarthmore about their students; often jumbled, inconclusive, hasty, impressionistic, it covers all, the
angles on sex differences in a most personal, lively way. it is in Appendix 6 of the SEPP papers cited in Chapter 11.
To discount even slight differences in male and female IQs, Kelly offers the thought that IQ tests are sex biased in the same way they are culturally biased. "Problems of Research: Design Difficulties," op. cit.
The statement on problem-solving comes from Chapman, op. cit., p. 10. Rossi has a supporting statement in Women and the Science Professions, op. cit., pp. 115-116.
An article by Jean D. Grambs in Women's Education, VII, 1 (March, 1968), p. 2, also suggests that girls in elementary schools benefit from the favor of predominantly female teachers.
A number of studies have been done of whether or not students and faculty prefer discussion in mixed classes. Appendix 5 in the Wesleyan SEPP papers, op. cit., shows that students in separate colleges (Wesleyan and Amherst) are a bit hesitant about mixed classes but Swarthmore and Pembroke students are not. Faculty opinion at Wesleyan sees no hazards in mixed classes. Vassar's results are interesting. There, 80% - 90% would prefer mixed to separate classes in all types of discussion. They feel that they personally would not be cowed by men, but when it comes to considering women as a group, 45% are really not sure women will speak as often or as freely in classes with men.
(Student Questionnaire, op. cit.) I suppose this is a beautiful example of stereotype meeting individual, without the individual even knowing what's going on. The Princeton Report, op. cit., in Tables I-VII, VIII, and IX, pp. 11-12, shows that its undergraduates would not find it distracting to have women in classes (76%); that secondary school students find mixed classes more valuable (64% m., 73% f.); and that the faculty like them too. None of these studies, however, is the sort that could provide what we need: basic information about whether men and women differ in their classroom style.
In addition to other variances, the course-preference stereotype seems to change with time. Mabel Newcomer reported that in 1865-1869, 39.3% of the students at Vassar enrolled in science courses; in 1901-1905, 25.4% did; in 1953-1957, 16.5% did. A Century of Higher Education for American Women (New York: Harper's, 1959). Token Learning, op. cit., is particularly vicious in its description of the "female education" provided at some separate women's colleges that follow the stereotype. Data on course enrollments by sex appears in Wesleyan's SEPP papers, op. cit.; the Princeton Report, op. cit., pp. 13-14; and the Vassar-Yale Report from the Joint Study Committee, Vassar College, September, 1967. The "other studies" mentioned here were noted by E. Paul Torrance in Women's Education, IV, 1 (March, 1965).
Swarthmore's statement on separation in the curriculum is a good supplement here.
As far as the curriculum
is concerned, the principle
The statement on
"Marriage and the Family" courses is based
infamous Harvard course harboring radicals, which has one section on "Sex-Role oppression in the United States.." run by a Radcliffe junior.
Alice Rossi has also made a good statement of the need for a course on sexuality in the context of Human Development. It is recorded in "Minutes of Kirkland Advisory Council," Meeting of March 20-21, 1967, pp. 28-32.
Born Female, op.
cit., has a devastating chapter called "The Negro Parallel."
[END OF CHAPTER 5, SECTION