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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Mary Turner Lane, September 9 and 16, 1986; May 21, 1987; October 1 and 28, 1987. Interview L-0039. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Resistance to feminism by female students

Lane remembers the resistance that she encountered from the female students and speculates about what caused them to feel as they did.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Mary Turner Lane, September 9 and 16, 1986; May 21, 1987; October 1 and 28, 1987. Interview L-0039. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

MARY TURNER LANE:
I remember Chancellor Fordham saying in some context when he was asked about his daughters, and his answer was, "Yes, they all graduated from Carolina. They're all married, thank goodness, and they're all married to doctors."
PAMELA DEAN:
What more could you ask? [laughter]
MARY TURNER LANE:
And that summed up better than any way I could explain.
PAMELA DEAN:
That was success. What more could any father wish for his children?
MARY TURNER LANE:
That was the norm that was desired by most of the faculty males for both their wives and their daughters. And that was the norm that was desired by females who were here. So although opposition is….
PAMELA DEAN:
Perhaps resistance is the….
MARY TURNER LANE:
Resistance is the better word. I felt that that was the most difficult task I faced, was to know how to introduce young women to the concept of change.
PAMELA DEAN:
Which should be part of the whole University experience.
MARY TURNER LANE:
That's what the University is all about.
PAMELA DEAN:
Yes. [laughter]
MARY TURNER LANE:
No matter who we brought in who had been out of college for ten years who would come back and say, "You better learn a different way of life. You better learn to support yourself." I wish somebody had taught me what I think you're having an opportunity to learn now. The young women were still very much afraid. So that resistance on the part of the students, I think, was a significant. I don't know how we might have gone about that, how I might have gone about that different. My daughter told me once "Mother, you just have to court the sorority girls. You have to make yourself available to talk about the things you're concerned about." But that was not very successful.
PAMELA DEAN:
That also seems to assume that sorority girls were still the campus leaders as far as women were concerned.
MARY TURNER LANE:
They were the campus leaders. They were setting the norms, and they probably best represented the traditional….
PAMELA DEAN:
Because by that time, sorority girls were not the majority of undergraduate women. At one point, they had been, but by the seventies, they no longer were. But they were still the trend-setters, the models?
MARY TURNER LANE:
Yes, they were. So that kind of resistance on the part of women students was a very powerful one, a very strong one. I guess the other thing that is difficult is you never know how to measure what people have learned and have they have changed. There is simply no way to know how contact with some of the individuals that we brought on campus would have made a difference, or did make a difference.