The Inappropriate Past, Pt. 3 – Looking at Literature

Needless to say, when I saw the copy of Christian Girl’s Problems: Manners and Morals for Christian Girls (Bertrand Williams, 1946) at the rental house we were staying at in Colorado with friends, I walked around reciting bits aloud to anyone who would listen, pausing only to pass it off to someone else to do the same.  I will warn you, that this discussion does take a candid look at some highly sexual notions from the late 1940’s.  I will use direct quotes that may offend sensitive readers.  Then there’s the rest of us…

Firstly though, let me say that I take no issue with the Christian religion.  People are entitled to their beliefs and I have the utmost respect for anyone’s choice.  What I do like to explore in this book are the outdated notions of proper behavior for a young lady, the downright improper comparison of a girl’s physicality in relation to success in love and life, and the dramatic ways in which the author chooses to describe situations of moral ambiguity.  In short, it’s a hoot…

Here are some quotables:

  • “Don’t make yourself common with all the boys by petting…Be natural with boys, but make them keep their distance.  They will want to maul you and paw you with their hands.  But your warning must always be, ‘Hands off!'”
  • “You should never allow a girl to explore the secrets of your body, and on the whole it is better to keep your body covered in the presence of your girl companions.  Many high schools require girls promiscuously to take their showers in groups.  This is a bad practice, and one you and your parents should fight to a bitter finish.”
  • “Capitalize on your defects…If you are homely, make up for it in charm and graceful movements.”
  • “Woman’s work may be broadening, but her sphere remains in the home, and the girl who will be happiest in the future will be the one who knows how to build a charming atmosphere for her husband and the children who will bless her life.”
  • “Doctors tell us that ninety per cent of the boys practice at one time or another self-abuse, and more than sixty-five per cent of the girls engage in this habit…This habit drains from your body vital fluids which nature demands to build a graceful and healthy body, and when you practice it, you are threatening your future.”

You should know that each chapter includes scenarios of the good handling of situations like the ones mentioned above, juxtaposed against scenarios of poor decisions.  It is amusing to say the least.  I have not yet decided whether to sell my copy yet or not…thoughts?

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