From the Editor

by Susan Weidman Schneider

Did you ever see the movie “‘The Group,” made from Mary McCarthy’s novel? It draws the curtain back to reveal sexuality and the sexual double standard in the lives of smart, savvy women who were students at an elite women’s college in the 1930s. A few weeks ago I went to a screening of “The Wild Party” from director Dorothy Arzner, the first talkie starring Clara Bow. It features a group of smart, savvy women who were students at an elite women’s college in the 1920s. Both films are provocative, charming, and very unsettling in their portrayal of women’s struggles for legitimacy, though they also feel dated. Ditto this season’s “Mona Lisa Smile.” So why am I horrified by the fact that women in their 20s and 30s today see as equally dated the struggles with sexuality and a sexual double-standard in the lives of women I knew when I myself was in college? One reason behind my horror is that the gains women have made these past decades are now at risk of being undone politically.

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