Spring 2020 letters

Antiquated tips seen as sexist

OWU Magazine received a letter from an alumna who was “shocked and disappointed” to read the Back Pages article “Fashion Tips from 1935,” which was excerpted from the 1935-36 OWU Freshman Women’s Handbook and reprinted in the Winter 2020 issue.

She noted: “By perpetuating the idea in 2020 that preparing young women for their pursuits in higher education means instructing them on what to wear is sexist and inexcusable.”

We understand and appreciate any reader’s concerns about the magazine reprinting a section of this student handbook from nearly 85 years ago. Please be assured that we had no intention of implying that any portion of this excerpt was relevant to the student experience of 2020 or supported by Ohio Wesleyan today. Instead, the excerpt was so antithetical to Ohio Wesleyan’s values today that we made the decision to publish it as a reminder of the dramatic societal changes we have made in less than a lifetime—in one way to show how far we have come and how much our world has changed and evolved.

In hindsight, though we thought that difference was obvious, especially compared to the rest of the magazine, we should have stated it directly. A better decision would have been to not run the article. We regret that our work could be considered sexist in any way, and we apologize to our readers.

Ohio Wesleyan is brimming with incredible students—women and men—and our goal with the magazine is to showcase these students and our breadth of alumnae and alumni who are enriching their communities, the nation, and the world.

Return to the Spring 2020 OWU Magazine