TITLE: College Girls: Bluestockings, Sex Kittens, and Coeds, Then and Now
AUTHOR: Lynn Peril
STARTED: October 9, 2006
FINISHED: October 17, 2006
FIRST SENTENCE: Maybe you know a college freshman like this one: a bright-eyed eighteen-year old girl who for the past year or so has been caught up in a wealth of glossy brochures and interactive online presentations from giant state universities and small liberal arts colleges.
SUMMARY: [From barnesandnoble.com] A geek who wears glasses? Or a sex kitten in a teddy? This is the dual vision of the college girl, the unique American archetype born when the age-old conflict over educating women was finally laid to rest. College was a place where women found self-esteem, and yet images in popular culture reflected a lingering distrust of the educated woman. Thus such lofty cultural expressions as Sex Kittens Go to College (1960) and a raft of naughty pictorials in men's magazines.
As in Pink Think, Lynn Peril combines women's history and popular culture—peppered with delightful examples of femoribilia from the turn of the twentieth century through the 1970s—in an intelligent and witty study of the college girl, the first woman to take that socially controversial step toward educational equity.
REASON FOR READING: I had heard about it, and it just so happened to cross my desk at the library. I took it home immediately after I labeled it.
THOUGHTS: As a recent, female college graduate (at a school comprised of 60 percent women) it was more than interesting to see how the history of "my fellow graduates." Peril does a fantastic job of picking categories of college life to chronicle. She touches upon the main areas one would expect to see covered, classes and subject matter, living away from home, sex and boys, and even a few areas one would not think to write about, such as midnight snacking. Her structured use of writing from then to now makes her points easy to understand.
Peril's writing is sharp and pointed, without being arrogant or overbearing. She simply states what she wants to say with out an added flourish or inappropriate use of a thesaurus. This straightforward approach makes her book an amusing and enjoyable read. While she never outright says it, she seems to be unapologetic about her feminist views. To which I say, good for her. As a college educated woman writing about college women, one should expect there to be a drive to keep women in the collegiate atmosphere.
College Girls relies heavily on historical resources and the author's own experiences. While this is very informative, I wish Peril had dug deeper to use sources that were not so obvious. In some ways, this book felt like it was wholly researched through the internet, almost like the author was lazy with her work. I also would have liked to read more about the modern college girl - maybe with an interview or two.
College Girls is an interesting and provocative read, but it does not bring to light much new information.
MISCELLANEOUS: This book made me want to go shopping.
KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): Back to the library, so other people can actually check it out.
RATING: 5/10 [I didn't particularly like it or dislike it; mixed review]
CR: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
RN: Dracula by Bram Stoker