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At the corner of Manhattan's Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street stands a 23-story building populated entirely by women, in which men are not permitted above the first floor. This does not mean that its inhabitants are not interested in men. The Barbizon hotel for women is considered a good, respectable address for out-of-town girls who have come to make a name for themselves in New York. In the small green lobby, through which moves a constant stream of eager young women carrying an air of determination, one aspiring young actress from Providence, R.I. said: "The men in New York are all the same. They're out for what they can get. I have a boy friend from home who comes to see me about every three weeks. He's a real home-town boy, all-American, clean-cut. He wouldn't speak the same language as these New York men. They're all trying to be big shots. I go out with them when he isn't here, but since I've been in New York I haven't met one man I can call a friend ... I won't marry until I've convinced myself that I've gotten everything I can out of acting. Back home, everybody's a homebody, wants to raise big families. I'm not ready for that yet.
If I married this fellow from home, I know I'd have to quit acting right away. He just wouldn't stand for it. I don't think I could do both, anyway."
American young women are, in many ways, the generation's most serious problem: they are emotional D.P.s. The granddaughters of the suffragettes, the daughters of the cigarette-and-short-skirt crusaders, they were raised to believe in woman's emancipation, and equality with man. Large numbers of them feel that a home and children alone would be a fate worse than death, and they invade the big cities in search of a career. They ride crowded subways on which men, enjoying equality, do not offer them seats. They compete with men in industry and the arts; and keep up with them, Martini for Martini, at the cocktail parties.
There is every evidence that women have not been made happy by their ascent to power. They are dressed to kill in femininity. The bosom is back; hair is longer again; office telephones echo with more cooing voices than St. Mark's Square at pigeon-feeding time. The career girl is not ready to admit that all she wants is to get married; but she has generally retreated from the brassy advance post of complete flat-chested emancipation, to the position that she would like, if possible, to have marriage and a career, both. In the cities, she usually lives with a roommate (for respectability and lower rent) in a small apartment, fitted with chintz slipcovers, middlebrow poetry and a well-equipped kitchenette. Rare and fortunate is the bachelor who has not been invited to a "real, home-cooked dinner." to be eaten off a shaky bridge table, by a young woman who during the daytime is a space buyer or a dentist's assistant.
Says a Minneapolis priest: "The young American male is increasingly bewildered and confused by the aggressive, coarse, dominant attitudes and behavior of his women. I believe it is one of the most serious social traits of our time-and one that is certain to have most serious social consequences."
Their Morals Are Confused