My Antonia

Who are the "country" girls?

This answer can be found in book 2 of My Antonia.

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The Black Hawk men were expected to marry Black Hawk women and live very proper lives, but they were tempted by the independent, free-living hired girls. The country girls were therefore considered something of a social menace. While the hired girls are able to break free of traditional male-female constraints, they do so at a price: they lose social standing and respectability. Indeed, determined town girls, if they chose, could very well become employed, but they would risk a number of social privileges. Country girls have nothing to lose and only financial remuneration to gain. However, though their farm labor makes them more attractive than town girls, they will never be completely accepted.

The country girls do not really threaten the social order because social pressures prove stronger than male desire. While their presence does stir things up somewhat, the status quo inevitably triumphs.