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Women, Love and Learning

The Double Bind

Alison Mackinnon

This book tells the story of a generation of American and Australian women who embodied – and challenged – the prescriptions of their times. In the 1950s and early 60s they went to colleges and universities, trained for professions and developed a life of the mind. They were also urged to embrace their femininity, to marry young, to devote themselves to husbands, children and communities. Could they do both? While they might be seen as a privileged group, they led the way for a multitude in the years ahead. They were quietly making the revolution that was to come.
Did they have ‘the best of all possible worlds’? Or were they caught in a double bind? Sylvia Plath’s letters tell of her delighted sense of life opening before her as a ‘college girl’. Her poetry, however, tells of anguish, of reaching for distant goals. Drawing on interviews, surveys, reunion books, letters, biographical and autobiographical writing from both American and Australian women, this cultural history argues that the choices that faced educated women in that time led to the revolution of the late 1960s and 70s. Something had to give. There are lessons here for today’s young women, facing again conflicting expectations. Is it possible, they ask, to ‘have it all’?
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Index

academic careers, women in, 144, 147, 150, 160, 169, 175179, 203, 211, 223

Adelaide, University of, 3940, 156

advertising, 23, 31, 89, 92, 114

American Association of University Women, 8083, 8688, 178179, 210

anthropology, 34, 36, 137, 151

anti-communism, 23, 67, 6974, 7679, 81, 8386, 8889, 96, 100, 118, 121, 215216

anti-intellectualism, 29, 70, 73, 79, 8283, 91, 105106, 194, 215216

Associated Women Students, 46

attractiveness, 17, 20, 23, 26, 3940, 5152, 90, 105107, 111, 113, 214, 217, 227

Australia and US, differences, 2122, 72, 118, 137, 148, 155, 171173, 221222

Australian Federation of University Women, 202, 210

Australian National University, 213

Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation, 7071, 7375, 77

Banner, Lois, 22, 39, 46, 48, 79, 123, 138139

Barnard College, 76, 130

beauty contests, 3739

behaviour, control of, 16, 4144, 63, 9294

birth control pill, 14, 94, 97, 148, 159, 217, 219

birthrates, 6061, 149

body image, 37, 41, 95, 109113, 167, 198, 217

Bogle, Gilbert, 6566, 97, 99

California at Berkeley, University of, 1415, 39, 42, 4446, 7879

California at Los Angeles, University of, 22, 46, 49, 68, 79, 162

Cambridge University, 156, 200

Canoga Park case, 8486, 89, 216

Chandler, Margaret, 6566, 97, 99

Chicago, University of, 191

child bearing, 13, 57, 6061, 63, 132133, 143, 149, 159, 165167, 173, 217, 219220, 225226, 228

child rearing, 15, 19, 26, 50, 144, 150151, 179, 197, 201, 207210, 215, 218, 223, 227

civil rights movement, 14, 22, 83, 166, 170, 181182, 195, 217, 222

cohort, 1718, 233

Cold War, 16, 22, 6689, 93, 96, 103, 121, 125, 148, 215216, 221

Columbia University, 60, 101, 148149

communism, 6872, 75, 124126, 134, 186

see also anti-communism

consumerism, 23, 67, 8990, 9293, 103, 148, 214, 217, 219, 221

Conway, Jill Ker, 20, 2932, 4748, 6263, 73, 94, 98, 102, 122, 136, 163, 179180, 182, 199203, 214, 223, 225228

curfews, 4144, 46, 118

dating, 30, 45, 9293, 107109, 112113, 117119, 218 ← 251 | 252

Dawson, Madge, 60, 62, 91, 144145, 147148, 151152, 155, 166, 168, 171174, 176, 178

defence forces, 82, 130131, 185, 216

veterans, 115, 128, 136, 153154

demographers, 14, 18, 57, 60, 225

depression, 53, 166

diaries, 9495, 101, 109112, 140, 157, 183, 198199, 211

divorce, 51, 54, 165, 170, 173

doctors, 137, 150152, 209, 221

domestic labour, 26, 6162, 178179

economic boom, 17, 19, 70, 128, 148, 217, 221

equal pay, 24, 26, 77, 151, 197, 207, 209

Factor, June, 73, 118119, 129, 133, 138

fashion, 13, 19, 40, 43, 62, 90, 98, 133134135, 201, 213214

feminism, 14, 16, 18, 2021, 2326, 33, 41, 54, 5657, 6768, 7576, 80, 102, 117, 131, 140141, 146, 149, 166, 170, 180181, 184, 190191, 194, 196198, 201, 203210, 214215, 217, 222, 224, 227, 232

free speech movement, 14, 46, 195

Freud, Sigmund, 16, 4748, 55, 94, 100, 108, 182, 194, 196, 227

Friedan, Betty, 14, 16, 48, 100102, 145, 189, 197, 208, 221, 232

graduate degrees, 13, 58, 6061, 111, 143144, 147, 150, 155, 160, 169, 176177, 223224

Greer, Germaine, 14, 16, 20, 97, 101, 134136, 140, 197, 200, 203, 208, 228, 232

Hart, Alice Gorton, 9495, 139140, 196, 198199, 211, 219

Harvard University, 3031, 33, 127, 129, 180

higher degrees (graduate degrees), 13, 58, 6061, 111, 143144, 147, 150, 155, 160, 169, 176177, 223224

Indiana University, 44

Intercollegiate Associated Women Students, 41

International Federation of University Women, 24, 32, 84, 210

interviews, 51, 115118, 122, 143144, 146, 151, 163164, 167, 194, 197, 202, 217, 229

Jewish women, 25, 173174

labour movement, 6768, 7172, 76, 115, 117, 123125

lawyers, 15, 38, 129, 133, 137, 150151, 194, 197, 209, 221

learning for pleasure, 13, 25, 115, 136, 138140

Leland, Marine, 82, 192193

letters to family, 3536, 107109, 115, 123128, 136, 139, 141, 181

letters to friends, 82, 187, 192193

Lewis, Nancy, 31, 59, 132, 189190, 193

longitudinal studies, 33, 49, 5156, 100, 144, 152, 158, 162, 164166, 168170, 172173, 209, 222

Louisiana State University, 38

Mademoiselle, 45, 95, 102, 131, 182185, 187, 203

marriage, 13, 15, 19, 2324, 26, 3133, 45, 49, 5355, 6062, 75, 87, 91, 9394, 98, 101, 106, 109, 112, 128133, 145, 152, 156, 159, 161, 166167, 170173, 175, 178179, 184185, 189190, 192193, 196, 198, 200, ← 252 | 253 207, 209211, 217, 219220, 222224, 226, 228

age at, 5859, 149

Mead, Margaret, 48, 151, 194, 226

Melbourne, University of, 14, 19, 21, 39, 7173, 76, 92, 116119, 122, 129, 133134, 147, 182

Michigan, University of, 44, 48, 172, 223

Mills College, 94, 99, 164168, 170

Mitchell, Roma, 194

Monash University, 147

Neumann, Anne Rittershofer, 126128

neuroses, 16, 23, 30, 93, 131, 221

Newnham College, 32

Orr, Sydney Sparkes, 73, 9799, 120121

Payne-Scott, Ruby, 7475

peace movement, 7172, 7778, 80, 181182, 195, 222

Pembroke College, 31, 132, 189

Pennsylvania University, 112

Plath, Sylvia, 16, 20, 36, 9495, 102, 106, 112, 121, 135136, 140141, 156, 183184, 199200, 203, 210

posture photos, 3437

pregnancy, 25, 44, 75, 94, 98, 133

Prentice, Alison, 35, 123125, 139, 167, 189, 201203, 216, 228

psychology, 19, 23, 3133, 4750, 63, 100, 108, 129130, 137, 161, 167168, 190191, 204, 221, 227

‘Push’, the, 20, 9799, 203

race, 14, 2122, 4445, 6970, 7778, 83, 108, 124, 166, 189, 222, 227

Radcliffe College, 34, 90, 129130, 163, 177, 182185, 193, 204205, 209

rebels, 1314, 90, 106, 135, 214

religion, 63, 6970, 118, 173174, 182, 208, 216, 218

role conflict, 33, 47, 4955, 161163, 179, 191, 222225

romance, 17, 19, 9596, 105107, 112, 128, 214

Rossi, Alice, 2324, 191193

Scarritt College, 81

schools, 8487, 116, 173

scientists, 66, 7475, 129, 137, 169, 175177, 197

sexual assault, 121

sexual harassment, 7374, 9899, 120121

sexual objectification, 26, 4041

sexuality, 22, 30, 53, 5557, 6566, 92100, 102103, 107, 120, 193194, 205, 214215, 217, 226227

control of, 16, 9294

homosexuality, 22, 9394, 96, 99100, 193, 218, 226227

Smith College, 13, 14, 35, 68, 82, 8788, 100102, 106110, 122123, 125127, 139140, 183, 186, 192, 196, 199, 203, 213, 218, 223

smoking, 43, 107, 113115

social workers, 15, 56, 151

sociology, 23, 33, 63, 108, 129, 137, 191

Sontag, Susan, 195, 204, 213

sororities, 4546, 106

Southern California, University of, 221

Stanford University, 130, 181

St Ann’s College, 40, 42, 44

Steinem, Gloria, 20, 114, 123, 185189, 197, 203, 228

Student Christian Movement, 22, 118, 195

student protest/activism, 15, 46, 6869, 117119, 125, 181, 188

success, avoidance of, 33, 47, 61, 172, 193, 226

suicide, 16, 20, 25, 102, 135

surveys, 32, 91, 100, 123, 131, 146, 171, 204208, 223, 229 ← 253 | 254

Sydney, University of, 21, 59, 62, 73, 91, 168, 172, 176, 202

Tasmania, University of, 7374, 9798, 182

teachers, 1921, 23, 7778, 8487, 89, 116, 129, 156, 158159, 203, 207208, 215

Texas, University of, 3738, 4345, 90, 128129

therapy, 23, 100103, 112, 221

travel, 110, 122126, 131, 160, 186189, 201202

UNESCO, 24, 210

United Nations, 46, 83, 88, 184

Vassar College, 50, 168171, 209

Vietnam War, 15, 222

Wellesley College, 34, 82, 171

Women’s Bureau (US), 75, 81

women’s colleges, 13, 22, 35, 117, 131, 155, 171, 221

self-government, 4243

see also Radcliffe College, Smith College, etc.

Women’s Dormitory Associations, 42, 44, 46

women’s magazines, 89, 91

see also Mademoiselle

Woodcock, Lucy, 7778, 80

workforce, women in, 17, 20, 23, 50, 62, 7476, 137, 144145, 149152, 156158, 160161, 168, 170171, 176180, 210, 218220, 222227

working-class women, 20, 48, 116

yearbooks, 15, 37, 39, 46