Tiny Pants's Reviews > Educated in Romance: Women, Achievement, and College Culture

Educated in Romance by Dorothy C. Holland
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Nov 15, 08

bookshelves: academic, gender, sociology, college-life, education
Read in November, 2008

Someone needs to do a follow-up to this fascinating study, in which the authors followed (via interview) the progress of a group of ambitious young college women at two southern colleges (a large university and a historically black college) through to young adulthood. Holland and Eisenhart are interested in the reproduction of culture and inequalities, and in challenging and adding to the literature in this area (particularly from the Birmingham school) with their longitudinal work. Their original interest in studying women and schooling morphs into studying women and romance, as they find how much attractiveness, dating, and what they refer to as "the sexual auction block" organizes the lives of their subjects. Similarly, changing attitudes toward school combine with these peer-group structures to create very different outcomes for these women than those they'd originally intended as college freshmen. The analysis is nuanced enough to avoid a "blaming the victim" sort of approach, and by studying a group of slightly older, well-educated, (initially) upwardly mobile women, Holland and Eisenhart make an important contribution to a literature which tends to focus on younger, lower-class, less-school-oriented girls (e.g., McRobbie, Lees, Bettie).
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