The integration of the sexes.
This is a second report on a larger comparative study of changes in twentieth-century American, Dutch, English and German etiquette books. A central hypothesis of this study is that major directional trends in dominant codes and ideals of behaviour and feeling, as reflected by changes in etiquette books, are closely connected with trends in power relations and emotion management. Further details on this hypothesis, the methods and theoretical perspective used are to be found in the first report of this study, published in the previous issue of this journal (V. 29, #1). The subtitle of that paper, 'The Integration of Social Classes', indicates that it concentrates on the diminishing social and psychic distance among people of different class and rank, interpreted in terms of expanding social integration and identification processes. The present article concentrates on the diminishing social and psychic distance between the sexes, and on changes in demands on emotion management in the process of women's social integration and emancipation. A sketch of the expansion of upper and middle-class women's sources of power and identity - traditionally restricted to the home and Society (or its functional equivalent among other social strata) - focuses on aspects of this process such as the decline of chaperonage and the development of codes of behaviour in new situations: public transport, public dances, dates, the work place, etc. A concluding section focuses on the intensified tug-of-war between old and new relational ideals and sources of power, and concomitant feelings of ambivalence in both women and men.
Diminishing Social and Psychic Distance: Increasing Integration and Mutual Identification
From the late nineteenth century onward, chaperonage was declining in popularity, and this aspect of diminishing social segregation was often discussed in etiquette books. These books contain quite explicit and specific information regarding the relationship between the sexes, as the importance of manners to upward mobility was especially relevant for women:
Society will fraternize with the millionaire and ignore his misplaced h's and his absence of good breeding, while they drink his wines and assist him in various ways to spend his money; but the wives and daughters of these men will not visit his wife and daughters, nor receive them into their houses, if they lack refinement and culture.(1)
Ever since the nineteenth century, as women not only came to run and organize the social sphere of Society but also functioned as its gatekeepers, the whole genre has been female-dominated and quite explicit on gender relationships. Therefore, etiquette books are a particularly rich source for studying changes in the behavioural codes and ideals regarding the relationships between the sexes.
Michael Curtin distinguishes between the English eighteenth-century courtesy-book genre and the nineteenth-century etiquette-book genre. Authors of courtesy books, like Chesterfield, were aristocrats, thus familiar with courts and the lifestyle cultivated and appreciated within them. The transition from the one genre to the other is characterized by a declining importance of aristocracy and patricians and their centres of power, that is, courts. Whereas the courtesy genre was dominated by men, the whole etiquette genre was (and is) dominated by women, both as authors and, most probably, as readers. This reflects the widening sphere of opportunities that women enjoyed in the nineteenth century: the opportunities of the drawing room, not those of the wider society. "It was in the sociability of the 'lady' - that is, the woman who toiled neither in the home nor the marketplace - that the etiquette book found its characteristic, though not exclusive, subject matter."(2) Leonore Davidoff has also pointed to the connection between the rising middle classes and rising opportunities for women:
Society in the nineteenth century, especially in England, did become formalised. One way of formalising a social institution is to use specialised personnel to carry out its functions. In nineteenth-century England upper- and middle-class women were used to maintain the fabric of Society, as semi-official leaders but also as arbiters of social acceptance or rejection.(3)
In the USA, a male etiquette writer referred to this very process as "the tyranny in large cities of what is known as the 'fashionable set', formed of people willing to spend money . . . this circle lives by snubbing."(4) His choice of words may have been gender-related, for it was women who organized and to a large extent controlled the private domain of Society: the functioning of Society and etiquette was for them an important resource of power, which they controlled via a constant stream of praise and blame gossip.(5) Especially in nineteenth-century Society, etiquette was decisive in making friends, and, through friends, in gaining influence and recognition. It also functioned as a means of winning a desirable spouse. However important as a source of power and identity, 'respectable' women and young girls were at the same time confined to the domain of their home and Society: "The only 'safe' contacts they would have outside the home were with a few selected other girls, clergymen, or in the context of small-scale charity work, particularly teaching in Sunday schools."(6) Toward the end of the nineteenth century,
In all of social life, in fact there was beginning to be provision for respectable women to meet in public places outside their own homes. Cafes, the growth of tea rooms, the use of buses, even the provision of public lavatories for women, were as important in freeing middle-class women from strict social ritual as the slow erosion of chaperonage. Contact by telephone and the later mobility that came with cars began to undermine the most formal parts of etiquette.(7)
The processes of social emancipation and accommodation, and their inherent pressure to control feelings of inferiority and superiority, are also revealed in subsequent advice on courtship, dancing, dating, engagement and marriage. From the end of the nineteenth century onward, "Alternative models of femininity - the university woman or even the suffragette - offered 'careers' that competed with some success against fashionable Society . . ."(8) By the inter-war period, "the reduced scale of living for most of the middle class, the decline of chaperonage and new freedom for girls, meant that even the 'career' sequence of schoolgirl, deb (or provincial variant), daughter-at-home, matron and dowager wielding power in the social/political world, had ceased to have much cogency . . . It was the time of the 'flapper', the 'roaring twenties'."(9)
Escaping Home: 1. Becoming Her Own Chaperone; 'Fast Girls' or 'New Women'? In the early 1960s an author sighs: "Boy meets girl and girl meets boy in so many different ways that it would be quite impossible to enumerate them."(10) This impossibility became taken for granted to the extent that in later years this thought is no longer expressed, whereas before that time, enumerating the various ways of meeting was quite normal procedure. This sentence therefore indicates an important moment, a point of no return, before which, changes in ways and places of meeting often attracted special attention. Here is an example from a Dutch author, writing in the 1910s:
Fifteen years ago it would have been completely unnecessary to say anything about dancing in public. Ladies and young girls from good families did not dream of exibiting their talents anywhere but at invitation balls. Public dance halls were for soldiers and servant-girls.(11)
By the end of the last century, particularly the seaside and the watering-places, known for their 'greater informality', were considered to be dangerous and worth a warning against 'promiscuous intimacies': "Promiscuous intimicies at summer resorts are a great mistake." Also:
Picking up promiscuous male acquaintances is a practice fraught with danger. It cannot be denied that girls of the lower middle classes are often prone to it; and there are thousands of young men who have no feminine acquaintances in the great towns and cities where they live, and who are found responsive to this indiscriminating mode of making acquaintances . . . The seaside season is prolific in these chance acquaintances - 'flirtations', as they may perhaps be called. Bicycling is well known to favour them.(12)
Warnings like these show there was in practice a growing toleration of sexual licence. According to Davidoff, the phrase "you can do anything that you please as long as you don't do it in the streets and frighten the horses," was a common expression.
Women, especially young women, wanted to go out, and even chaperones were under the influence. In her Manners for Girls, Mrs. Humphry noted in 1901 the arrival of the dancing, flirtatious chaperon, no longer keeping a 'sharp eye on the movements' of the girl she was watching over. She complained: "The class of girl who likes the irresponsible, dancing, flirting chaperone is not as yet a very numerous one; but yet English Society is well aware of her."(13) Around 1910, chaperonage was on its way out: "Young ladies are now frequently asked to dinner-parties without a chaperon, a hostess constituting herself chaperon for the occasion."(14) In the 1920s, an English etiquette writer concluded:
An unmarried daughter is no longer socially her mother's pale shadow, kept closely under the elder lady's wing, never allowed to be alone, unless under her vigilant eyes, for she may now form her own social circle, entertain friends of both sexes, and be entertained at their homes . . .
Yet, traditional restrictions on young people's freedom to negotiate the dynamics and borderlines of friendships were still quite strong, as becomes clear from the way in which this writer continued:
When any gentleman, newly introduced to a girl, has escorted her home from the scene of the introduction, it is not correct for her to ask him to call, or for him to seek the permission from her. Any such invitation must come from the girl's mother, or any friends with whom she may be staying, so if she wishes to see more of her cavalier, she should introduce him to her mother or hostess.(15)
The process may have been experienced as slow or fast, but the direction was undisputed; it went towards greater freedom to control the dynamics of their own relationships, whether romantic or not, and to decide about the respectability of meeting places and conditions. There was growing appreciation of the 'new woman' (who was often the 'fast girl' in the eyes of others):(16)
The 'new woman', by easing her demands for deference, allowed gentlemen to enjoy themselves in a relaxed fashion in her company - an advantage which lower-class women and prostitutes had always exploited.(17)
Greater freedom ran in tandem with greater intimacy and a chance of friendship or camaraderie between the sexes:
Very often a man will come into contact with a girl, through business affairs, at a dance or other function, or under even still less formal circumstances, and a friendship will spring up.(18)
There was a time, not so long ago, when a marked reserve was required between men and women in public. But today, following upon the CAMERADERIE between the two sexes bred by the War, and with the advent of women into almost every profession, art, and business, this social barrier is disappearing and a more friendly relationship is springing up between the two. The former stiff formality has been replaced by friendliness and understanding.(19)
On the way from complete surveillance to greater freedom came new inventions like boarding schools for girls and ladies' clubs, both welcomed for enlarging the possibilities of making contacts outside the home:
. . . to the business woman, the lonely woman, or the woman who is not comfortably or conveniently settled at home, the club has become one of the greatest of boons and a necessity to happiness',
Boarding Schools for girls can be found all over England, whereas of old they were confined to those unfortunate creatures known in advertisements as 'refractory girls'.(20)
Escaping Home: 2. Dancing and the Ambivalences in Becoming Her Own Chaperone. This last author shifts from praising boarding schools for helping to open up the world for young girls, to a discussion of dancing. In this discussion, she expresses the typical emancipation problem of new demands on behaviour and emotion management; the quotation focuses, in fact, on this specific ambivalence between old and new sources of power and identity:
Yet the limited outlook instinct seems to have been ground into women so thoroughly in the Ages, that they are unable to escape from it even in their new freedom. Thousands of girls think of nothing but dance, dance, dance! A doctor friend suggested to me that the 'one partner' idea was probably a subconscious attempt on the part of women to get away from wide possibilities, and get back to the old ingrained safety of the narrow outlook . . . In the old days the girl or woman saw nothing but husband and family in the ordinary way, so the varying partner at a dance came as a distinct relief. Now in her wider life, women come upon so much unexpected variety that they turn instinctively to the one man limitation to which, as a sex, they have been so long accustomed. The 'one partner' craze was a bad one, from every point of view, especially when it came to women paying a particular man to dance with her, or, as was often done, hiring a stranger from some enterprising firm. When we reached that stage, dancing was no longer an amusement, but an obsession, and a dangerous one too. After all, there is really much more enjoyment in the change of partners, if we can only bring ourselves to admit it, and it is pleasant to see that it is coming into its own once more.(21)
In another etiquette book, also published in 1925, a chapter on dancing opens as follows:
The last few years have seen not only a change in the actual style of ballroom dancing but also a tremendous expansion of the opportunities for indulging in this pastime, and all classes of society have taken to dancing practically anywhere and everywhere, on every possible occasion . . . Many of the restrictions with which Mrs. Grundy once lettered the dance-loving maiden were gaily cast aside at much the same time as when old favourites, such as square dances, stately minuets, graceful cotillions and waltzes were succeeded by the one-step and fox-trot, while chaperons faded away like dim ghosts of the past during the war and programmes became unnecessary as a means of recording dances promised, as the fashion came in for a couple to become recognised 'dancing partners,' who would dance together throughout the evening, probably during the London season, accompanying each other to two or three dances in the same evening, or early hours of the next day. Now the pendulum is in some respects swinging back again. Gradually the chaperon is reappearing, though not often do we find her the formidable, lynx-eyed dragoness of former days, who kept her young charge strictly to her side between dances - the modern maid's independent temperament would not submit to that - and the chaperon of to-day is often as keen upon dancing and having a good time as are the younger folks. Many hostesses, too, now clearly imitate their dislike of the one-partner practice, so that it is again usual for a lady to distribute her favours among a number of gentlemen during the evening. This is certainly a more sociable practice. The one-partner vogue was carried to selfish and sometimes most discourteous extremes.(22)
This one-partner craze was typically English. It was not mentioned in the American sources, for instance, where the tone is quite different: "Modern steps have developed teamwork and permanent partners. Two persons whose steps blend as the result of much practice often dance together almost the entire evening, even at a private party."(23) In the USA, most authors were in favour of dancing and against puritanical critique:
The modern dances have been freely criticized because of the objectionable method of holding the partner, and also because of the "shaking and wiggling" motions of the bodies of the dancers . . . however this may be, these dances have now won acceptance if not approval, and it has been demonstrated that they can be performed gracefully and without giving offence to the most squeamish chaperon.(24)
One American etiquette book even has the paragraph heading, 'A Plea For Dancing':
Lately there has been a great deal of unfavorable criticism directed against the modern dances. There have been newspaper articles condemming the 'latest dance fads' as immoral and degrading. There have been speeches and lectures against "shaking and twisting of the body into weird, outlandish contortations." There have been vigorous crusades against dance halls . . . Dancing, even the shoulder-shaking, oscillitating dancing of to-day, is really not intended to be vulgar or immoral at all, despite the crusade of anti-immorality dancing committees!(25)
Another writer went as far as to advise "So roll up the rags, turn on a new dance record or roll, and practice your steps."(26)
In the Netherlands at the beginning of the 'roaring twenties', one social arbiter tried to raise sympathy for the 'new fashion', branding as 'old-fashioned' all mothers objecting to their daughters' presence "on a dancefloor that is open to everyone." She added: "The only rule one can urge to maintain rigorously is: do not dance with a stranger."(27) Later in the decade, however, even the Dutch government was sufficiently worried by the new freedom of dances and dancing to establish a government committee whose task it was to investigate the 'problem of dancing'. One of the recommendations in the committee's report was a mandatory appointment of 'dancing masters' in charge of surveillance in dance halls. The emphasis on sexual control still rested on obedience, on social control rather than on individual control of emotions. The report displayed hardly any confidence in the 'self-surveillance' of both sexes and was written on the implicit assumption that both men and women would give in to their sexual desires if social control was lacking:
In the modern dances, the danger of sexual titillation has reached a degree that was absent before . . . And thus, every young girl who visits a public dancing hall runs the risk of being 'led' in a reprehensible way, unnoticed by the public, and against which she practically cannot defend herself. And then we still assume the favourable condition, that the will to defend herself is present. But how many . . . do not maintain the moral endurance, here required, and end up with the rendezvous.(28)
In Germany, I have not found any trace of this dancing problem.
Escaping Home: 3. To Pay or To Be Paid For? As women were trying to do away with chaperones and replace them with gentlemen-escorts, the question of whether women were allowed to pay for themselves became an issue of greater concern. Chaperones used not only to watch over their charges but also pay their way. Curtin has summarized the problem:
. . . money was a real asset not merely a ceremonial gesture . . . Some ladies wished to make clear that the relation between themselves and their escorts were of a public and egalitarian nature, not romantic as between lovers or dependent as between fathers and daughter. Chivalric deference was not well suited to comradely relations . . . In addition, those who paid the servants . . . owned their allegiance . . . To transfer this power from husbands and fathers . . . to outsiders was obviously dangerous.(29)
Apparently, women who wanted to 'escape' from the emprisonment of the 'home' and to get rid of the system of chaperonage, had to put up with this interpretation of a "transfer of power over women to outsiders." Going out with relative strangers without the protection of a chaperone was considered dangerous enough in itself, but being financially dependent upon this 'outsider' enlarged the danger considerably. Whenever her way was paid for by such a person, her father or husband was advised to send him immediately a postal money order.(30) However much this interpretation of a transfer of power may have waned, it has not disappeared altogether. In the 1980s, an English etiquette book held that
The person who issues the invitation pays. Usually he pays for her. His payment is for the pleasure of her company - nothing more . . . If he is courting her he should pay. One day she will become pregnant or give up work temporarily to look after their under-fives and she needs to know that he is able and willing to pay for two - even three.(31)
In the phrase "His payment is for the pleasure of her company - nothing more," the danger of the 'power transfer' is still recognizably present. If he thinks his payment is for more, or 'worth more', this may even end in a 'date-rape'. On their way to gaining greater control over the dangers connected with this view of a 'power transfer', women had to establish the right of paying for themselves.
The issue is first dealt with in English etiquette books. In 1902, for instance, a social arbiter writes:
It is the man's place to pay for what refreshments are had, if the ladies do not insist on paying their share; and if he invites the ladies with him to go in somewhere and have some, then the case is simple enough. But if the lady expresses a wish to pay, and means it, - and there is but little difficulty in knowing when she does mean it, - it is only polite and kind on the part of the man to let her do so, and whatever his feelings may be he must give in.(32)
In the 1950s, as this rule for ladies of independent means had trickled down the social ladder, the transition had reached a remarkable stage:
The going has never been so good for a bachelor woman who has a paid job. She not only gets her pay packet and her independence but she is still able to enjoy the remnants of masculine gallantry. In many fields she is paid a salary that compares with a man's and she can still graciously lie low when it comes to standing her round of drinks when men are about.(33)
In the German etiquette books the issue of women paying for themselves was dealt with much later than in England: approximately around 1930. In 1933, for instance, Meister wrote: "Until a few years ago, it was still taken for granted that a man paid the bill. Today, a young lady has achieved independence and often earns as much as a man."(34) Up until the 1950s, it was repeated that he should pay, but she might pay her share in advance or later. Then, in 1951, von Franken wrote: "In former times, it was taken for granted that a man paid the bill. Today, a woman wishes to be independent of men in this respect too."(35) For some time, disputes over this issue continued, but from the 1970s onward all social arbiters suggest that it should be a woman's right to pay the bill whenever she wishes to do so. 0 In the Netherlands, it is only a few decades since the Dutch have been 'going Dutch': the possibility of women paying for themselves was mentioned positively from the 1950s onward, and in the 1980s, a woman who did not pay her share by buying her round of drinks every now and then was even called a parasite.(36)
In the USA, the tradition of men paying for women lingered on for some time. In 1937, Emily Post was already complaining about this tradition:
In this modern day, when women are competing with men in politics, in business and in every profession, it is really senseless to cling to that one obsolete convention - no matter what the circumstances - that the man must buy the tickets, pay the check, pay the taxi, or else be branded a gigolo or parasite. The modern point of view has changed in every particular save this one!(37)
This may sound modern indeed, but Emily Post's solution to the problem reads like an anti-climax: she only allows for one exception: "On occasion, when agreed beforehand, girls as well as men pay their own checks" (p. 369), and for the rest she advises: don't let him pay more than he can afford. Around 1960, women were allowed to invite a man to dine with them - "a situation that caused great embarrassment some years ago but is taken casually today" - but her paying for the dinner had to be hidden: "If she has no charge account and has to pay the check before her guest, this will be embarrassing." On first dates, "It is the man's responsibility to plan and to pay for everything they do that evening . . ."(38) Until well into the 1970s, it was still taken for granted that he payed, and although the possibility of 'going Dutch' is mentioned earlier, only from the 1970s onwards is it mentioned favourably. Even today, however, 'going Dutch' is not considered 'normal': if she does not suggest it, in most cases he is still expected to pay for both. Here the Americans seem to lag behind.
Escaping Home: 4. Going to Work. Of course, gaining 'the right to pay' was only a small step on the way to overcoming the interpretation of "transferring power over women from husbands and fathers to outsiders." A more important step was 'the right to earn', to enter the labour market and aim at financial independence. Going out to work in offices, libraries, etc. was another aspect of the development of women 'escaping' from homes where they were 'kept' by fathers and husbands, and entering the wider society. In the words of the English Lady Troubridge, whose etiquette book was popular from the mid-1920s through the 1930s:
There was a time not very long ago when women's interests were confined chiefly to the home. For a woman to be actively engaged in some business or profession meant one of two things, either she was an old maid or she was 'queer', but to-day woman is a citizen and may use her talents and capabilities in any way in which she chooses ... It may take many years before she is regarded as the equal of man in business and professional life and politics, and until that time arrives it behoves every woman ... to do her share in building up the right attitude towards sex equality.(39)
For a long time, women at work were strongly confronted with the problems related to the interpretation of a 'power-transfer' and were trying to cope with them. There, both men and women were, so to speak, put to the test: both had to unlearn their habitual out-of-business 'social' expectations of each other. These centred on sexuality and marriage. At work, both women and men had to learn how to relate to each other more or less regardless of gender and sexual attraction. This implied that women had to unlearn their old Society roles and attitudes. Finding a paid job and gaining financial independence demanded a price: they had to give up many of their traditional sources of power and identity derived from their functioning at home and in Society (or its equivalent further down the social ladder). Moreover, quite often and especially in the beginning, women could only derive a little power and identity from their functioning in society outside Society. Therefore, many women must have experienced a tug-of-war between their old nineteenth-century sources of power and identity and their newly gained, twentieth-century sources. This means that at some times and in some respects they stuck to traditional resources, and to the connected patterns of superiority and inferiority feelings; here are two examples of such a pattern:
* Let the new woman prate as much as she please about her independence of man, but she is the first, nevertheless, to rise up in indignation if any of the same old chivalry is omitted.
* The true love of a good man is worth winning. It is not won by the girl who lowers herself to a man's level. To her might apply the time-worn toast of man to "The New Woman, - once our superior, now our equal."(40)
At other times, sometimes even at the same time, women had to 'embody' a rather opposed and contradictory pattern, especially when claiming access to the more modern resources of power and identity. A quotation from a 1905 manual may illustrate this point:
The prejudice which so long existed among men against women in business relations was partly caused by the thought that they could never forget they were women, could never discuss work or business relations on impersonal and rational grounds. The first lesson a woman must learn in making her own way financially is to appreciate that ... her place of employment is no place for superfluous courtesies. The cultivation of a cool, matter-of-fact, unsentimental way of looking at the work in hand, is the only path to honorable achievement.
In etiquette books, the change in this tug-of-war or ambivalence can be followed in many ways. Here is a rather general formulation:
The new problem is ... how far she should carry the new equality into her social relationship with men, when she should assert her independence and when she should fall back on her femininity.(41)
Of course, one might point to many other barriers to women's emancipation, but without taking this ambivalence into account, it will be hard fully to understand or explain why women's present day struggle against having to work a 'second shift',(42) has been so weak for so long. As early as 1905, at a time when women's attempt to escape from the boundaries of the home was still very controversial, the principal argument against this 'second shift' was formulated:
They expect from her a double duty and this is manifestly unfair ... Men are treated far more considerately in this regard than women. Nothing is allowed to interfere with the average business man's arrangements. To facilitate these everything possible is done by his family. This may be because men are more insistent, because they have a way of demanding their rights. It would be well for women in business, well also for their families, that they should 'look sharp' and pursue the same policy.(43)
Today, this kind of view on the consequences of having a job for women's tasks at home may seem a truism. At that time, however, this kind of argument was exceptional. It was not repeated for instance by Emily Post, whose first edition of her million-copy-selling etiquette book was published in 1922. She did, however, strongly emphasize that women should behave 'impersonally' in offices:
At the very top of the list of women's business shortcomings is the inability of most of them to achieve impersonality. Mood, temper, jealousy, especially when induced by a 'crush on' her employer, is the chief flaw of the woman in business.(44)
However, she should not try to become 'one of the boys' - that would be classed as going over the top to the other extreme. Instead, a woman should try to regard herself as one member of the corporation, and see to it that she is treated as such, that is, "as a lady in the human rather than in the drawing-room sense."(45)
A quote from the 1975 edition, though reflecting the spirit of the times, the Sexual Revolution, offers a similar sentiment: "a little mild flirting, and occasional 'mixed' lunch, preferably not as a two-some, help to lighten the inevitable boredom of day-to-day business."(46)
Advice like this would have been unthinkable in Germany or the Netherlands, where the same development of women entering the labour force lagged behind by comparison. In the same era, the ambivalence and resistance of German social arbiters towards the Sexual Revolution and the women's movement is expressed in the statement that it is unavoidable that men and women work together in the same room, often right next to each other. Nevertheless, the author continues, a certain minimum distance should be guaranteed, which means no flirtations and no love affairs.(47) In the USA, this strict stand reappeared in the 1980s, when the issue of sexual harrassment, especially at work, would lead to Elizabeth Post's remark on 'a little mild flirting' as being branded 'politically incorrect.' Post's latest edition (1992) does indeed contain a paragraph on sexual harrassment, while one headed 'Sex in the Workplace' is written entirely in the tone of "Neither sex nor sexual attraction belongs in the office."(48)
Interpretation: The Tug of War Between Old and New Standards
One of the main conclusions seems to be that individuals in all four countries, whether (potential) partners or not, were increasingly expected to be able to protect and take care of themselves, both financially and emotionally. This trend was noted and expressed in 1937 by Emily Post:
Since the modern girl is to go without protection, she must herself develop expertness in meeting unprotected situations. She must be able to gauge the reactions of various types of persons - particularly men, of course - under varying circumstances.(49)
And in 1960, she added her view as to how 'the modern girl' develops this ability: "Today, however, parental training has largely taken the place of the chaperon's protection" (p. 168). Indeed, more and more parents taught their children the principles of proceeding by mutual consent, including how to avoid invading the privacy or integrity of others. This implied the formation of a pattern of a more or less automatic reaction of shame and guilt feelings in the personality of these children whenever confronted with any threat of more direct and extreme ways of expressing superiority or inferiority. In this way these expressions have been banned bit by bit as transgressions and regressions, each bit implying a rise in the level of mutually expected self-restraint. Thus, 20th-century social integration of both classes and sexes coincided with the spread of a standard of emotion management that demands a more even, stable and all-round control, especially in the light of the fear of losing control and giving in to more extreme emotions. At the same time, the same integration allowed for a further differentiation in this management: a collective controlled decontrolling of controls over emotions, especially those that before were considered to be too dangerous and/or degrading to allow. All kinds of conflict or conflicting needs and interests, formerly a tabooed non-topic, came out into the open to be negotiated.
In and outside intimate relationships, both the value of intimacy and the expectation of women to become and remain emotionally and financially independent, to be their own protectors, have risen dramatically. As welfare states developed, the ideal of an intimate relationship has been changing towards one involving a couple who are independent people, well matched, both sharing the tasks of providing care and earning an income. This ideal also means that intimate relationships have become more strongly dependent on the style of emotion management of the partners: how to love and negotiate the terms of the relationship as two captains on the same ship. On the whole, men were under women's (and each other's) growing pressure to control further their traditional superiority feelings and corresponding behaviour, while women pressured each other and themselves to control traditional inferiority feelings, for instance their inclination to be submissive and give in. In this way, changes in the importance of violence, money and emotion management as power resources and means to settle conflicts are related and a particular sequence can be observed.(50)
Enlarged opportunities for women to become and stay financially independent have strengthened the ideal of sharing the tasks of providing care and earning an income. As these more egalitarian rules take time to 'sink in', this shift in the traditional division of labour between husbands and wives has intensified the tug-of-war between old and new ideals (and power resources), and the related feelings of ambivalence in both men and women. Both sexes, that is most men and women, seem to be egalitarian 'on top' and traditional 'underneath'. Women may sometimes seem to be more extreme because they are the ones who are putting their husbands and other men under pressure. Most men react in accordance to the dynamics of established-outsider relationships: they do not want to accommodate and do not easily perceive the 'civilized' pleasures of a more egalitarian relationship. Most men will therefore use the 'gender strategy' of appealing to the old identity underneath, trying to bring it back on top, whereas most women will appeal to the new identity, trying to reinforce it and make it sink in. Recent discussions on issues like sexual harrassment, pornography, rape in marriage and date-rape can be understood as a common search for ways of becoming intimate and of keeping at a distance that are acceptable to both women and men. Negotiations about these issues will probably continue to emphasize mutual consent as a necessary precondition in these matters, and for the rest, both sexes will have to rely on experience as well as experimenting, searching for new balances between ways and means of intimacy and distance, between the quest for attachment and the fear of it, avoiding the extremes of emotional wildness and emotional numbness. Also in the quest for an exciting and satisfying balance between sex and romance or love, the tension-level has risen, if only because the increased demands on emotion management will have stimulated both the fantasies and the longing for (romantic) relationships characterized by greater intimacy, as well as the longing for easier (sexual) relationships in which the pressure of these demands is absent or negligable.
This prolonged deep-rooted ambivalence together with the strong need for a cautiously calculated emotion management as a more important resource of power and respect is characteristic of processes of diminishing segregation and increasing integration, that is, in relationships between people of different class (or rank) and sex. The inherent tensions and conflicts may be interpreted as part of the price to be paid for this movement of civilization, the successive rises of larger and larger groups.
Department of General Social Sciences Postbus 80140 3508 TC Utrecht Netherlands
I am grateful to Jonathan Fletcher and Stephen Mennell for correcting my English.
1. Klickman, 1902; quoted in Michael Curtin, Propriety and Position: A Study of Victorian Manners (New York, 1987), 211.
2. Curtin, Propriety and Position, 419.
3. Leonore Davidoff, The Best Circles: Society Etiquette and the Season (London, 1973), 16.
4. John Wesley Hanson, Jr., Etiquette of To-Day: The Customs and Usages Required by Polite Society (Chicago, 1896), 39.
5. These terms are derived from Norbert Elias and John L. Scotson, The Established and the Outsiders (London, 1965, second edition 1994).
6. Davidoff, The Best Circles, 51.
7. Davidoff, The Best Circles, 67.
8. Curtin, Propriety and Position, 243-4.
9. Davidoff, The Best Circles, 99. In the 1930s there was a turning inward to motherhood and domesticity, "partly caused by a decline in Society functions ... The woman is now seen as guardian of her family's health and happiness rather than of its social place" (Davidoff, 99). This increased isolation of a more tightly drown nuclear family and the strengthening of the mother's bond with her children, may also be interpreted as a 'civilizing offensive' of wives, consciously or unconsciously aimed at 'Bringing up Father', thus limiting double standards and his display of superiority feelings. ('Bringing Up Father' is the title of a series of popular drawings by the American George McManus, presenting 'father' as a captive of mother and of her longing for success in 'good society'.)
10. Mary Bolton, The New Etiquette Book (London, 1961), 15.
11. Marguerite de Viroflay, Plichten en Vormen voor Beschaafde Menschen (Amsterdam, 1916/1919), 54.
12. The first warning is American: Marion Harland and Virginia van de Water, Everyday Etiquette. A Practical Manual of Social Usages (Indianapolis, 1905/1907), 293; the second is English: Mrs. Humphry, Manners for Men, 1897, quoted in Cecil Porter, Not Without A Chaperone: Modes and Manners from 1897 to 1914 (London, 1972), 33. Today, holidays are still considered to be dangerous and worth a warning, no longer against the dangers of 'picking up promiscuous male acquaintances', but against the dangers of unsafe sex. In the summer of 1993 a government-subsidized leaflet entitled, 'Have Safe Sex, Also on Holiday', was distributed in a great number of public places. It contained sentences like, 'Have you ever heard of AIDS?', 'Do you have a condom with you?' and 'I'll put on a condom, it's safer', in English, German, French and Spanish.
13. Quoted in Porter, Not Without A Chaperone, 85.
14. Manners and Rules of Good Society, [by] A Member of the Aristocracy (London, 1910), 228; (first edition 1879; 1921, 42nd edition. Published in 1940 as: Manners and Rule of Good Society [London and New York], revised by Joan Storey; reprints in 1946, 1947, 1950, 1955).
15. Burleigh, Etiquette Up To Date (New York, 1925), 230.
16. "To some extent the 'modern girl' was still the popular heroine that she had become when working on munitions in factories. She was known as 'the flapper', yet this was not a tenn of reproach. Flapper in the Nineties had meant a very young prostitute, scarcely past the age of consent, but the word had improved before the war to mean any girl in her teens with a boyish figure. The craze for the flapper ... reached England about 1912 ... 'Flapper' was now a term for a comradely, sporting, active young woman, who would ride pillion on the 'flapper-bracket' of a motor-cycle. It did not become a term of reproach again, with a connotation of complete irresponsibility, until 1927 ... The women who only a year or so earlier had been acclaimed as patriots, giving up easy lives at home to work for their Country in her hour of need, were now represented as vampires who deprived men of their rightful jobs." Robert Graves and Alan Hodge, The Long Week-end: A Social History of Great Britain 1918-1939 (London, 1941), 43-4 (Thanks to Adrian Gregory for this one).
17. Curtin, Propriety and Position, 280.
18. G. R. M. Devereux, Etiquette for Men: A Handbook of Modern Manners and Customs. New Edition. "Entirely rewritten and brought up to date" (London, 1927), 119.
19. Lady L. Troubridge, The Book of Etiquette (Kingswood, 1926), 311. (reprinted 1927/1928/1931).
20. Respectively: Etiquette for Ladies: A Guide to the Observances of Good Society (London, 1923), 136; Eileen Terry, Etiquette for All, Man, Woman or Child (London, 1925), 69.
21. Terry, Etiquette for All, Man, Woman or Child, 69-70.
22. Burleigh, Etiquette Up To Date, 108-110.
23. Anna Steese Richardson [Rosiere], Etiquette At a Glance (New York, 1927), 45.
24. Emily Holt, Everyman's Encyclopedia of Etiquette (New York, 1920), 179.
25. Lilian Eichler, The Book of Etiquette, 2 volumes (New York, 1921, reprinted 1923), 2: 104-5.
26. Steese Richardson, Etiquette At a Glance, 41.
27. Viroflay, Plichten en Vormen voor Beschaafde Menschen (1919), 55.
28. Rapport der Regeerings-Commissie inzake het Dansvraagstuk ('s-Gravenhage, 1931), 31.
29. Curtin, Propriety and Position, 272-3.
30. Mrs. C. E. Humphry, Etiquette for Every Day (London, 1902), 174.
31. Angela Lansbury, Etiquette for Every Occasion: A Guide to Good Manners (London, 1985), 77.
32. Etiquette for Women: A Book of Modern Modes and Manners (London, 1902), 59.
33. Anne Edwards and Drusilla Beyfus, Lady Behave: A Guide to Modern Manners (London, 1956), 135; revised edition 1969.
34. Quoted in Horst-Volker Krumrey, Entwicklungsstrukturen von Verhaltensstandarden: Eine soziologische Prozessanalyse auf der Grundlage deutscher Anstands-und Manierenbucher von 1870 bis 1970 (Frankfurt am Main, 1984), 399.
35. Konstanze von Franken, Der Gute Ton: Ein Brevier fur Takt und Benehmen in allen Lebenslagen (Berlin, 1951/1957), 367.
36. For more details: Cas Wouters, "Developments in Behavioural Codes Between the Sexes: Formalization of Informalization, The Netherlands 1930-1985," Theory, Culture and Society 4 (1987): 405-429.
37. Emily Post, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home (New York, 1937), 365.
38. Post, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home (New York, 1960), 62 and 176.
39. Troubridge, The Book of Etiquette, 375.
40. Hanson, Etiquette of To-Day (1896), 362; and Harland and Water, Everyday Etiquette, 345.
41. Edwards and Beyfus, Lady Behave, 135; Harland and Water, Everyday Etiquette, p. 447.
42. Arlie Russell Hochschild, with Anne Machung, The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution (New York, 1989).
43. Harland and Water, Everyday Etiquette, 451-2.
44. Post, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home (1960), 551.
45. Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette: A Guide to Gracious Living (New York, 1952), 206.
46. Post, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home (1960), 749.
47. Haller, 1968; quoted in Krumrey, Entwicklungsstrukturen von Verhaltensstandarden, 374.
48. Post, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home (1960), 229, 230. Because more formality and greater social and psychic distance between the sexes at work could help protect women when and where they would be unable to protect themselves, America's Miss Manners (Judith Martin) is against using first names (although realizing that she goes against the grain in this respect)(personal communication, August 1992).
49. Post, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home (New York, 1937), 354.
50. For further details, see Cas Wouters, "Social Stratification and Informalisation in Global Perspective," Theory, Culture and Society 7 (1990): 69-90; and "On Status Competition and Emotion Management," Journal of Social History 24/4 (1990): 699-718.
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|Title Annotation:||Etiquette Books and Emotion Management in the 20th Century, part 2|
|Publication:||Journal of Social History|
|Date:||Dec 22, 1995|
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