The 1950s are a time period often romanticized by younger people who did not experience the era’s envied soda-pop date. It’s no secret that the social ideologies in those days were far more conservative than the current post-countercultural ideologies in place today. Therefore, Western Michigan University held more restricting ideals about how student social life ought to be during that time.

In a 1952 issue of “For Women Only,” a University-life guide given out to WMU’s incoming female students, there is a subsection included in a social life instructional chapter titled “Don’t drink me!” It reads:

“Being popular and well-liked is something for which we all strive. There are many ways to achieve this, however, and you will find at Western, that drinking is not one of the ways. Men admire and prefer to date girls who know how to be ladies and to conduct themselves properly in all situations. You should also be reminded that the University is opposed to the use of liquor at University functions, in campus buildings or on University property. Students who enter their rooming places, whether residence halls or private homes, under the influence of liquor, and students who introduce liquor or liquor bottles into any rooming place or campus building will be subject to dismissal from school…”

These pamphlets no longer exist, but were continued to be published until the mid 1960s and have also been titled “For Western’s Women” and “The Feminine Fancy.” In an issue from 1953, an illustration of a chart listed appropriate, feminine wardrobe apparel for different occasions.   

“First of all, I don’t think that women have to behave like ladies, to be a lady does not mean they have to be something that men want,” Pablo Sanchez, a WMU graduate student, said. “I think that if we want people to behave [better] with alcohol, the idea is not to forbid, but it is to teach.”

The current university policy on alcohol is a little more flexible, allowing alcohol in residential areas as long as the student who is consuming the drink is 21-years-old.

“I agree with some parts of it,” Logan Hughui, a WMU senior, said. “I don’t really know why some people like to stay in the dorm and drink, there’s better ways to spend your time. The social perspective [in regards to women drinking] was definitely different than from what it is now and while I’m sure some people still think like that, I would say most people don’t anymore.”

Aside from a co-ed, university guide book for new students titled “The Western Way,” there were no similar pamphlets made exclusively for male students. “The Western Way” was continually published for most of the twentieth century.

“It’s pretty clear we have come a long way,” Stephanie Wixson, a WMU senior, said. “It’s crazy to me that Western actually published something like that.”

Students who wish to view these documents and other university archives can visit the Zhang Legacy Collections Center located at 1650 Oakland Dr.

The 1950s are a time period often romanticized by younger people who did not experience the era’s envied soda-pop date. It’s no secret that the social ideologies in those days were far more conservative than the current post-countercultural ideologies in place today. Therefore, Western Michigan University held more restricting ideals about how student social life ought to be during that time.

In a 1952 issue of “For Women Only,” a University-life guide given out to WMU’s incoming female students, there is a subsection included in a social life instructional chapter titled “Don’t drink me!” It reads:

“Being popular and well-liked is something for which we all strive. There are many ways to achieve this, however, and you will find at Western, that drinking is not one of the ways. Men admire and prefer to date girls who know how to be ladies and to conduct themselves properly in all situations. You should also be reminded that the University is opposed to the use of liquor at University functions, in campus buildings or on University property. Students who enter their rooming places, whether residence halls or private homes, under the influence of liquor, and students who introduce liquor or liquor bottles into any rooming place or campus building will be subject to dismissal from school…”

These pamphlets no longer exist, but were continued to be published until the mid 1960s and have also been titled “For Western’s Women” and “The Feminine Fancy.” In an issue from 1953, an illustration of a chart listed appropriate, feminine wardrobe apparel for different occasions.   

“First of all, I don’t think that women have to behave like ladies, to be a lady does not mean they have to be something that men want,” Pablo Sanchez, a WMU graduate student, said. “I think that if we want people to behave [better] with alcohol, the idea is not to forbid, but it is to teach.”

The current university policy on alcohol is a little more flexible, allowing alcohol in residential areas as long as the student who is consuming the drink is 21-years-old.

“I agree with some parts of it,” Logan Hughui, a WMU senior, said. “I don’t really know why some people like to stay in the dorm and drink, there’s better ways to spend your time. The social perspective [in regards to women drinking] was definitely different than from what it is now and while I’m sure some people still think like that, I would say most people don’t anymore.”

Aside from a co-ed, university guide book for new students titled “The Western Way,” there were no similar pamphlets made exclusively for male students. “The Western Way” was continually published for most of the twentieth century.

“It’s pretty clear we have come a long way,” Stephanie Wixson, a WMU senior, said. “It’s crazy to me that Western actually published something like that.”

Students who wish to view these documents and other university archives can visit the Zhang Legacy Collections Center located at 1650 Oakland Dr.

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