A response to a 1925 Asbury Collegian opinion article entitled, “for men only”

By Brittany Butler
Senior Features Writer

   Asbury’s campus has evolved over the years and continues to change. Each semester, small fluctuations in trends, rules and surroundings shape Asbury into the place that approximately 1,400 students call their home-away-from-home. This semester, we’ve seen more fresh produce in the cafeteria, a lobby in Trustees, bricks under our feet as we cross College Street and a new male style consisting of long hair, bandana headbands and jeans rolled to just above the ankle or knee. Even 176 semesters ago in 1925, a seemingly subtle change was emerg- ing on campus. Like re- cent years’ tumultuous trend of leggings and the ensuing letter-to-the-ed- itor battles (did we ever conclude as to whether or not they are pants?), this small change was becoming quite the scan- dal. Ladies, we were bobbing our hair. And some of our gentlemen were not pleased. The second issue of the Collegian was writ- ten solely by the mascu- line population of As- bury. The March 9 “Boys Issue” contains, among other things, articles on the role of the professor, the inconvenient din- ing hall seating, sports, poetry and alas, the absence of spoons and sal- ad forks. However, hidden among ads for $11 springtime frocks and complaints of those who choose not to sit in their assigned dining seat is an article titled “For men only.” Naturally, this was the first article I read. The writer, Roy Newton, begins: “Frequently we have visiting preachers and speakers who in their chapel-talks or sermons make allusion to bobbed hair and girls’ dress. And when this allusion comes in the form of criticism, there comes in- variably from the boys’ side a chorus of ‘Amens.’” What would happen if this Monday morning a chapel speaker made a reference to leggings? Would your male chapel buddy glance at you, raise his eyebrows and clear his throat a little louder than necessary? Not unless he wanted to be labeled a misogynistic jerk. We’ll assume the Ameners were somewhat antiquated in the manner of their response to women’s dress. Newton agrees with us, proving that some students had a healthier mindset when it comes to judging changes in others. “This isn’t good manners, good sense, or good religion,” he writes. “If there are any ‘Amens,’ they certainly should come from the girls. Anyway, the Chris-
tian religion is broader than bobbed hair and short sleeves.”              

This opinion illustrates how the ‘20s cultural shift affected Asbury.  It’s interesting to note that, in the past, Asburians treated cultural changes just as they do now. Many of the evolving views embraced in the ‘20s were rejected—it’s hard to imagine Friday nights on campus in 1925 glit-
tering and shimmering like a Gatsby party—but Asbury has always come around and been open to giving new ideas a fair chance. “Certainly we don’t mean to condone world- liness or advocate the following of any worldly fashion, but we are safe in saying that all bobbed hair is not of the devil,” Newton says. There is a “Women” section in the Boys Issue, and this section contains articles communicating thoughts and opinions about the young ladies on campus. We see everything from flirtatious news blurbs to the statement that all Prof. Cortez “re- quires of a young lady is love and beauty.”  Roy Newton, however, has a second article commenting positively on the change in women over the past years. “Grandfather’s sweetheart mounted various pieces of handy furniture when a mouse ran across the room: the girl of today reaches for her golf club and nearly drives the of- fending rodent thought the transom. The olden miss pined away when she was disappointed in love; the modern girl with a toss of her bobbed hair consoles herself with the fact that there ‘are as good fish in the sea as was ever caught.’” Newton goes on to say, “The girl of yesterday sat at home and knitted, deeming any occupation more strenuous as un- ladylike and coarse; the girl of today has varied interests.” The “new woman” was welcomed at As- bury, as her progressive qualities (qualities that coordinated with the Christian faith) were considered fairly and deemed good. Where will we be in 88 years from now? Hopefully Asbury will continue to be open-minded about the changes that will always cross our campus. If you would like to read more Collegian is- sues from this time period, archives will soon be releasing all of the issues from 1925-1940 online!