Captain of Two 'Cliffe Teams Talks About Women, Athletics


Jeanie Guyton lowers her round blue eyes, flashes her shy smile, and, in a soft, breathless Southern drawl, confesses. "I guess I'm not really a women's libber at all. Except as far as sports are concerned."

Guyton is one of Radcliffe's best-known athletes. She started out as a freshman on the swim team, branched out, and now as a senior is captain of both the Radcliffe water polo team and the basketball team. On the two days a week when she doesn't have team practice, she plays in House sports like volleyball and coed touch football.

"My life revolves around sports," she says.

But she's also found time to major in Engineering and Applied Physics, complete all the premed requirements, and make grades good enough to get her into Phi Beta Kappa. And when she's not playing or studying, she likes to bake cookies.

When Guyton first got to Radcliffe from Jackson, Miss., she enjoyed telling people that she wanted to be a housewife--partly because she really did want to be a housewife, but partly for the "shock effect."


"The guys would sometimes react favorably," Guyton recalls, "but the girls would always have really violent reactions. I would say to them. 'But I like to cook and sew.' And they would just yell at me. 'But you can't, you just can't do that?"'

Guyton disliked those women "violently," she says with a hint of exasperation in her smile. And she was also annoyed by the Northerners she encountered who made fun of her Southern ways.

"People would joke around--they didn't really mean to be cruel," she says. "But you can only stand just so much teasing about your accent in one day before you blow up. And they would say things like. Oh, do you have sidewalks in Mississippi? Do you wear shoes when you're down there?"'

Guyton attributes her conservative attitude toward "women's lib" to her Southern upbringing. She says that enough of the "propaganda" at Harvard has "seeped through" so that she is now intent on pursuing a career as a doctor, but she still retains a firm belief in what she calls "chivalry."

The Man Rules

"I believe in men being polite to me because I'm a woman, and just because of that," she asserts. "I believe women should get an equal salary and things like that. But if it came down to who was the head of the household. I guess it would have to be my husband."

One thing Guyton does not believe in is women's groups--at least not for her, she says.

"I've been to a couple of women's group meetings," she says. There's always been a gaggle of women sitting around smoking cigarettes, talking about something I know nothing about."

Like what? "Oh, like why women can't make it in the business world or something, something I have no interest in," she says a little impatiently. "My feeling is, if I want to do something, I'm going to do it--I don't need to talk to a lot of other girls about it first."

But what about women's sports? "Oh, sports, that's different." The slight smile fades and she leans forward earnestly. "In sports, women need to band together."