- Purchase/rental options available:
This article analyzes the oral histories of a multiracial group of women who grew up during the 1950s and 1960s when social concern about suburban and urban crime was rising. The women nostalgically remember growing up during an “innocent time,” but their memories of violence and vulnerability interrupt their idealized narratives. The article argues that nostalgia serves several purposes. It enables women to critique the present, especially the loss of protective institutions such as girls’ organizations and tight-knit communities. Nostalgia also illuminates women’s negotiation of gender identity with respect to safety and respectability and may anchor their identities in gendered and class-based descriptions of protected, sheltered girlhoods.