|The Gilded Cage of the 1930s Debutante (Collier's Magazine, 1933)|
The attached COLLIER'S article is a piece of critical thinking written by two post-debs of the Boston and Manhattan varieties who were both products of what they called "the approval mill". Having been run through the right schools and the right summer camps, they attended the right parties and made charming with all the right people; looking back in their twenties, they were able to see how this long-treasured practice ill-served them and tended to perpetuate the spiraling vortex of women who were educated and polite yet unable to think. Among other assorted maladies they believed the Debutante Gulag that society had established created a feminine upper-class that was, at best, two-faced:
"She is effusive and admiring with her friends and acquaintances; behind their backs she is viciously critical. She derives a keen enjoyment from this."
Click here to learn how uneducated Americans in the 1860s were able to teach themselves proper manners.
Emily Post on Language (Photoplay Magazine, 1939)
At the tail-end of a very long interview concerning the problems with Hollywood movies, Emily Post (1872 – 1960), America's high-priestess of good manners, was asked just one more question - this one involved the English language and here is Emily Post's 1939 list of what to say and what not to say.
•Don't say 'brainy' - say, 'clever'.
•Don't say 'wealthy', say 'rich'.
•Don't say 'Charmed or pleased to meet you', say 'how do you do'.
•etc, etc, etc.
Emily Post had so many opinions...