Amy Mccandless 'Preserving The Pedestal'

1220 Words 5 Pages
An intimate relationship shared between two college women was labeled as a “smash” or a “crush” up until in the late 19th Century. There was seemingly nothing deviant about the relationship and was defined as, “one girl, generally an underclassman, and usually a freshman, becomes much attached to another girl, ordinarily an upper-class girl. The young girl is ‘crushed’ and the other, sends her flowers and tries in various ways to give expression to her admiration.” Historian Lillian Faderman called this era the “last breath of innocence” for female-female relationships. On the contrary, female-female relationships, or “romantic friendships” continued at all women’s colleges around the United States, such as Barnard College. In her essay, “Preserving the Pedestal,” Amy McCandless discusses the ethics and expected behaviors from the Southern women who were attending college. She states, “Purity was one of the most cherished qualities of the antebellum …show more content…
The post-World War II culture was one that included distinct gender roles and heterosexuality. Dr. Sally Miller Gearhart, a Sweet Briar alumna from the class of 1952 remembers anything that deviated from these trends was “completely demonized.” Dr. Gearhart published her own tragic story of romantic friendship the collection of LGBTQ short stories “The New Our Right to Love.” In her story she describes falling in love with one of her fellow Sweet Briar sisters she calls “Lakey.” They began an intimate relationship that continued several years past their graduation from Sweet Briar. The couple ultimately split when “Lakey” decided to do what any woman in the 1950’s was expected to do, get married. Unfortunately, as Dr. Gearhart pointed out in a recent interview, these relationships between two women were “looked upon as just a stage that a young woman might

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