Single People’s Weeks: It’s an Abbreviation Showdown: NYT vs. UNC

In my previous post I talked about a New York Times Style section article by Alex Miller where Miller bemoaned the fact that a woman heavy gender imbalance at many universities has lead to a “man’s world” of dating, i.e. more hookups rather than relationships and more attractive women dating less attractive men. The article focused on the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, one of the most prestigious public universities in the country. There’s been a semi-large hullaballo about the article in campus and feminist communities, so UNC’s newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel ran an article after they began covering the buzz surrounding the article on the day it came out, collecting comments from readers and twitter. A brief selection:

“I’m embarrassed by the things in that article. It’s dis-empowering, to say the least. It
reduces dating to numbers.”- John Reitz, Senior, English and drama double major

“That’s not the image we need to be portraying. Those quotes are really demeaning to women.” – Jordan Swain, Senior, communications studies major

And from Twitter (as collected by The Tar Heel):

CInscoe: I am kinda annoyed by the NYT article about girls at UNC. Makes them look kinda desperate and makes guys look like shallow pigs. No true

leslie_gant: apparently a lot of girls at UNC are in denial about the NYT article. it’s true.. get over it. RT @dailytarheel http://bit.ly/bXllkV

emilykennard: I am not desperate for a boyfriend. I would never let my boyfriend cheat on me. LEAVE ME ALONE
Quote: Emily Kennard is quoted in the New York Times article. She is also a senior writer for The Daily Tar Heel.

This comments section is a strange mix of school pride and slut shaming with a lot of people expressing sexist and sex-negative positions on the text of the article:

For a moderately but not extremely attractive girl, the dating scene at UNC has got to be painful — all the guys they might have had a shot with at other places are suddenly much harder to snag.

and

I think it is ridiculous that some “girls feel pressured to do more than they’re comfortable with” just to have a boyfriend. If you are willing to whore yourself out then no, you probably won’t end up with a very nice guy. Girls shouldn’t be so desperate to have a boyfriend that they lose all self respect.

Just a reminder to the comments section of The Daily Tar Heel, the official newspaper of a school that is the foremost training ground for the acclaimed US Women’s Soccer Team (which still wins more games than the men): Women (and men) are not all the same, and they can (and should) have sex whenever and (with whoever) they want. Physical beauty is not all men’s biggest thing, and sometimes you have sex on the first date because you both feel a spark, have protection, and are consenting adults. Continue reading

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Single People’s Weeks: All the Heteronormitivity That’s Fit to Print: Blanche, Stanley and the NYT’s Single Ladies

[Update on the fallout at UNC as a result of the article discussed in this post can be found here.]

Okay. So I know I promised no romance stuff until February 15th. And I will hold to that promise. You will get no romantic affirmations, no gooey-ness in response to seeing men with babies, or bemoan-ment of my single fate. Apparently The New York Times didn’t get the message.

Today in the Sunday Styles section, the NYT published a front section article called “The New Math on Campus.” I was expecting something about mathematics becoming sexy again in college culture, or maybe a feature on mathematician,  former chid actress, and great role model Danica McKellar‘s work to encourage women in math and science. Instead I found this, a story about how the 60-40 female to male ratio on college campuses is creating a situation where

“Women do not want to get left out in the cold, so they are competing for men on men’s terms,” she [Kathleen A. Bogle, a sociologist at La Salle University in Philadelphia] wrote. “This results in more casual hook-up encounters that do not end up leading to more serious romantic relationships. Since college women say they generally want ‘something more’ than just a casual hook-up, women end up losing out.”

W. Keith Campbell, a psychology professor at the University of Georgia, which is 57 percent female, put it this way: “When men have the social power, they create a man’s ideal of relationships,” he said. Translation: more partners, more sex. Commitment? A good first step would be his returning a woman’s Facebook message.

[…]

But it’s not as if the imbalance leads to ceaseless bed-hopping, said Austin Ivey, who graduated from North Carolina last year but was hanging out in a bar near campus last week. “Guys tend to overshoot themselves and find a really beautiful girlfriend they couldn’t date otherwise, but can, thanks to the ratio,” he said.

Mr. Ivey himself said that his own college relationship lasted three years. “She didn’t think she would meet another guy, I didn’t think I would meet another girl as attractive as her,” he said.

What follows is a portrait of college life that basically offends everyone. Men are either cads who revel in “not having to work that hard” for a date or pining for dates with the school’s “enchanting, beautiful women” (whatever happened to smart, funny, kind, or talented?) that they still can only barely get (and stay with out of habit) with the math skewed in their favor. Women are either sluts who “grab men by the wrist, spin them around […] and start grinding” or shy and lonely shut-ins that are  “left alone on Valentine’s Day, staring down a George Clooney movie over a half-empty pizza box.” They also seem to only be straight. Continue reading