A Strong Strain of Vulgarity: Tradition and an Oregon Grassroots Gender Rebellion

By Jay Mullen.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

University of Oregon in loco parentis policies denied female equal access to the university libary, required female dormitory residents to "be abed" by 11:00. Women accepted these and other campus restrictions until harassment and "groping," practiced under the guise of "tradition." Their entreaties for reform generated little sympathy from university officials, but their response to harassment from
"lettermen" inspired them to physically attack the training table of the Rose Bowl-bound football team, overturning tables, hurling food, and then continuing the expression of their ire against the most conspicuous of the harassing fraternities. This raised campus conciousness about gender discrimination and drew two of Oregon's most famous sons, then undergraduates, novelist Ken Kesey and Nike CEO Phil Knight, into the intensifying discourse. This, during the supposedly "conformist/Cult of Domesticity" 1950s, spontaneously antedated 1960s intellectual feminism at the grassroots. Impressive women!

Keywords: Gender Discrimination, Gender Rebellion, Feminism, Oregon

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 8, pp.117-126. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 533.022KB).

Jay Mullen

Professor, Department of History, Southern Oregon University, Ashland, Oregon, USA

Jay Mullen is a graduate of the University of Oregon with an MA and PhD in history from the University of Kentucky. He has been a Fulbright scholar to Egypt, a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, and a National Defense Foreign Language fellow at Indiana University's African Language Institute. He teaches at Southern Oregon University.


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