"I was a Co-ed": Female Students felt Alienated from College


In her memoir recounting her time at Dickinson, Elizabeth Low remembers how she felt alienated as an early female student at Dickinson College. Low wrote, "Dickinson stressed the idea that women were admitted through the front door, on the same footing as men. This was only partially true. The men had their fraternities, their old established societies, glee and other musical clubs, athletics, field days, games through which contacts were made with the best colleges in the land. They were free to do many things proscribed for us... Much of our life can be described as from the side lines looking on. Most of the girls did not realize it. I became self-conscious. It is not pleasant to watch each step for fear of criticism." Moreover, Low describes how the libraries on campus (owned by the literary sociaties that barred female students) were rarely open to female students. The theme of gendered exclusion runs throughout Low's memoir.

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