It is not unusual to find oneself being considered a "type" rather than an individual by others. It's a lot easier that way. Example One : The Smithie. In her natural habitat. At the Rally Day Show. As she sees herself. As she thinks others see her, perhaps.
And just what is the composite type? All right. Traditional history. Emergence at birth, safe and sound in a minute plastic baggie bought at the A&P down the block. Baptized in tingle-green mouth wash. Ready, set, Genesis a go-go.
Happy, pleasant childhood. Then : stage two. Bop Apocalypse … Puberty rites. At first, it was too bad to be true. Advice was sought. Just stay away from all those fat forbidden books and you'll survive. A-OK. Mercy, mercy, mercy.
Scene change. College time, which she entered in a state of blissful frozen sensitivity. Teeny-bop princess. Lady guru of the singing sunrise. She read Tolkien, Dyland (both of them), "The Prophet," and sucked in beauty afflicted people of the earth and shed Lestoil tears for all the alienated poetic throngs. Yet still she endured, knowing every night, as she sadly laid her body down upon the softly singing velvet bed-spread, that the dawn would come, and she would awake, ready for truth, younger than yesterday, sigh, sigh, sigh.
And the truth did come. In the form of noble intellect. Knowledge is power. She could be more than troubled girl. She could be: SUCCESSFUL. The choice between silicone and sensibility was made. Prim, punctual, passionless, computerized, officiated, self-sufficient woman. Clean, very clean. Self-voluntary imprisonment in un-jagged, well rounded penitentiary baths.
Then, by senior year, she begins to hear the rumblings. There in-side. Lightning volts, restless storms, cathedral chamber heavy breathing … She wants it. A future husband. Yes! Yes! Yes! A quick check of Masters and Johnson, which she understands now, having taken Bio. 46 ("Thus edu-cation prepares us for productivity"—Billy Graham).
Of course none of this is valid. It is a mass of stereo-typed judgements, unworthy of any perceptive, intelligent observer. At Smith, and all institutions, a group is a collection of distinct individuals, and you better believe it.
At the Rally Day Show, however, in the interest of fun and coherence, it was decided to deal with the image. And so the Sophomore, Junior, and Senior shows all poked gentle fun at the Smith image. The career woman, the sentimental, sexually inept girl, the frigid intellectual, the bitchy earth mother. Of course, the satire wasn't sharp because there was nothing real to ridicule. Everyone knows those types don't exist. Everyone knows…
The Sophomore show, which was by far the best, dealt with the fact that "you can't win alone", and suggested, in a merry, tuneful, often very amusing way, that girls should settle down and stop competing with men. There was some excellent singing, comedy, and writing in the show. It was fine.
The Junior Show took up the same idea. A competitive, aggressive female magazine publisher from an "exclusive New England private women's college" stopped competing and aggressing against her top male competitor and decided to settle down. This one wasn't as good as the previous show. Every now and then, it had a funny bit, but the girls didn't seem to have much sense of timing, and nobody could quite figure out how to get people on and off the stage at the end of little "vignettes." This show had the most double-entendres, an integral part of these shows. Most of them weren't subtle or funny. But who cares, anyway? The performers had a good leer, even though some of the audience actually seemed embarrassed. (A lot of Yalies were there, you see.)
The senior show was about a frigid, snide, intellectual girl becoming able to laugh at herself and the sterile world she's revered all through college, becoming able to appreciate the "vaudeville of life." A lot of old burlesque routines, though not too many good ones, were used. The girls played it all with a lot of gusto. President Mendenhall made his annual guest appearance in a little parody opera as "Carlo of Naples". He looked like something that had just crawled out from a psychedelic beach umbrella, and was very funny, and got a lot of applause, and that just shows that education doesn't have to be stuffy, and that's pretty nice when you come down to it. The senior show picked up tempo when the "kick line" came out, the neophyte Rockettes. And they were really pretty good, too. Great legs, placed in a top-notch framework. Nobody noticed the actual dancing too much.
It is stupid to try to apply criticism to these shows. The girls obviously love working on them and performing in them, the other Smithies in the audience had a great time watching, and it was a good place to bring a date.
Source: Amherst Student archives