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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, March 13, 14, 15, 1975. Interview G-0023-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Women find power through their sexuality

Throughout the interview, Durr explores the contradictory nature of the gendered expectations for middle class women during the early twentieth century. Here she explains how the same social controls that restricted women also made them feel flattered.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, March 13, 14, 15, 1975. Interview G-0023-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

VIRGINIA FOSTER DURR:
Well, you see, the girls today have no idea of how all the restrictions were on us. We may have resented them, but they made us feel like we had something that was very precious and valuable and that all the boys wanted and that if we didn't guard it carefully, it was gone. (laughter) But it did make you feel that you were terribly desirable, that you were irrestible. If a boy was just left alone with you long enough, he couldn't resist you. I don't know if you can understand what I'm trying to say, but the very restrictions that were placed on you; the inhibitions about sex, the fact that it was all a mystery and that you held something within yourself that was so desirable and that the boys wanted so bad that it made you feel that you were pretty desirable you see. Particularly after the boys began to pay you some attention . . .