Monday, April 23, 2012

Steeped in Tradition

When my father came to Notre Dame as a freshman, the university was graduating its first co-ed class. Women had only been around for four years at the time.
Some things were really different. For instance, my father informed me that while the male dorms had female housekeepers clean the rooms on a regular basis, female students were expected to clean their own rooms. Similarly, all male students were offered laundry service without extra charge. Female students, however, were expected to do their own laundry.
Despite these glaring differences from how things operate at Notre Dame today, one thing seems to be constant - the discussion of awkward gender relations. My dad told me about how often the school newspaper would publish articles remarking on the disconnect between the genders at the school, the difficulties of relating to the other gender in such a separated community. Sound familiar? I feel we can hardly go a week without seeing these sorts of articles popping up in the Observer. Same as it was thirty-five years ago.
Gender seems to have always been a hot button issue among the Notre Dame student community (at least, as long as women have been at the university), and I don't see much evidence that this is going to change any time soon.

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