03 November 2011

4 speaking of the south

as a woman who was once made to spit her gum out in an elderly girl scout's ungloved hand because "young ladies do not chew," and who- failing to realize that young ladies did not chew anywhere in all of savannah- traipsed through the many homes of juliette gordon low leaving in her wake a trail of dried up gums in ungloved hands, i appreciate this proof that i have always been uncultured. 

(Milligan College Handbook for Girls, 1937-1938)


4 comments:

Linda said...

This is awesome!!! Who knew gum-chewing was so scandal-icious?

oline said...

indeed, one wouldn't want to be uncultured while entertaining a gentleman caller!

Osutein said...

Another thing the NY Times article left out (and I'd argue this may be even more ingrained in the practice of Southern Manners than the harsh racial system), is the way in which manners reinforce a harsh gender system. Ladies must be lady-like. Men must be gentlemen. Everyone has a role and to violate that role and the surrounding rituals is to become a pariah.

Mannered societies create a lot of pariahs. It's not about being nice; it's about enforcing the status quo.

oline said...

oooh, i kinda want the NLB to write the longest op-ed ever in response to this.