Social U.

{February 21, 2009}   Off-Limits: The Plight of Women Into Men’s Dorm Rooms

            The doorknob twisted, but wouldn’t lead me out. My chest remembers the familiar feeling of standing trapped in my friend Maurice’s dorm room one evening freshman year. I frantically tried to leave, so that my mother (who was on the phone) wouldn’t know that I was in a guy’s dorm room.


          According to USA Today colleges around the U.S. are allowing men and women to share dormitories together. “In the prim 1950s, college dorms were off-limits to members of the opposite sex. Then came the 1970s, when male and female students started crossing paths in coed dormitories. Now, to the astonishment of some Baby Boomer parents, a growing number of colleges are going even further: coed rooms” (Smith, “Colleges Are Allowing Coed Dorm Rooms”).


          What?!? I’m sure many parents are already crossing those universities off of their child’s potential school list, but it’s true, men and women are living together at universities like: Brown University, California Institute of Technology, and Clark University – and my mother is unsettled about me simply stepping foot in a guy’s room.


          Surely as we get older it becomes understood that males and females have intimate interactions in closed quarters, whether as friends or as more than friends; so, when do young people get the opportunity to decide what social interactions are the best for them, as well as within what physical parameters?


          The time is now. I think that if parents are so concerned about what their children are doing, then they need to look back at what they were doing in their twenties – and if it wasn’t pretty, then they need to talk with their children. Parents should know that being overly concerned does nothing good for their relationship with their young adult. In fact it leads to resentment (see previous blog).

          However, not all college students are happy about the housing situations presented them by living on either coed campuses, or on coed dorm floors. Neither are religious leaders: the ethos of today–everything goes–is incompatible with a religious lifestyle,” he recently wrote to a university official. “I cannot imagine any truly devout person, whether Christian, Muslim or Jew, living in a mixed-sex environment” (“Orthodox Jews Protest Yale’s Required Coed Dormitories”).


          So what do you think? Is it okay for women to mingle in their guy friend’s bedrooms? My mother definitely didn’t, and probably still doesn’t, think that it’s good. “It doesn’t quite send out the right message” she would say– “it’s just not proper.” Is hanging out in a person of the opposite sex’s bedroom or home a big deal, or is it an understood societal norm? 


Works Cited:


Smith, Michelle R. “Colleges are allowing coed dorm rooms.” 2 May 2008.  USA Today. 20 Feb. 2009. <;.


“Orthodox Jews Protest Yale’s Required Coed Dormitories.” Los Angeles Times. 7 Oct. 1997, B-4 ed. 20 Feb. 2009. <;.


thecampusonline says:

Great piece, Gabrielle! I find it kind of funny that this is till an issue. When I went to school in Scotland, I roomed with three guys and one other girl. When I brought up the concept of non-coed rooming, they made it sound as if they’d never even heard of it.

Kenna says:

Huh. You raise some good questions. I think there’s one more step to consider… is there anyplace else to “hang out.” When you’re in college, your “bedroom,” “living room,” “dining room,” and “kitchen” are one small space – your dorm room. I’m thinking it might be unrealistic to expect that students wouldn’t hang out in each others’ living quarters. I guess as parents we just do the best we can to instill values and hope that they stick.

thecampusonline says:

LOL…that Maurice’s room dilemma was so funny. I think though Gabrielle that there is a time and place for everything. I think it depends on a person’s morals. I don’t mind hanging out with males, but I rather the crowd also be mixed with people of my own sex to equal it out. I think parents just know how hard it is to “just say no” sometimes when you put yourself in compromising positives. Although it is pushy, I also think parent’s advice is for the best. While I am not for a guy being all up in my room, I don’t mind them being over my house or dorm hanging out with a mixed group of sexes. That is waaay different from just being alone with a male. That’s fishy and risky.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

et cetera
%d bloggers like this: