Essay on The Last Breath Of Innocence By Amy Mccandless

1220 Words Dec 1st, 2015 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 women” and that “ the strict regulation of heterosexual contacts by Southern Women’s colleges reflected this concern for virtuous behavior.” Does McCandless’ argument accurately describe the environment at Sweet Briar College? Was Sweet Briar College an exception to McCandless’ pedestal? How did Sweet Briar College administration or faculty approach any romantic friendships? By examining photographic evidence from the Sweet Briar College archives, including personal scrapbooks, an interview with a Sweet Briar alumna, who…

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