Single People’s Weeks: This is Not a Love Story: Zooey Deschanel and the Refusal of Romance

As I’ve recently been documenting, I’ve felt a little assaulted by images of romance, particularly heteronormative romance and chick flicks. It might just be because it’s getting closer to Valentine’s Day, but I’m starting to feel a little down as a single white female in Manhattan.

You're lettin' me down ladies. You're lettin' me down.

When even Carrie from Sex and the City is married, I’m failing in the romance department. But I’m not going to get depressed, and I’m not going to settle, and I’m not going to join eHarmony and become one of those gawdawful commercials.

Because, despite what the multiplex wants to tell you, the point of your life does not have to be to find a partner, have two point five kids, and spend the rest of your life making them make up for the fact that you gave up the rest of your life for them. How do I know this? I watch Zooey Deschanel films. Continue reading

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

Single People’s Weeks: After the Apocalypse No One Will Give a Duck About Your Girlfriend Back Home

My friend James and I used to spend our time making zombie apocalypse contingency plans. James would always say apologetically, “I’d have to shoot you in the head if you were slowing us down.”

Why do I bring this up so close to Valentine’s Day? Well, because romantic relationships are what screw you over in a crisis situation, at least according to the movies. It seems like every zombie movie has the moment where the husband has to shoot the wife who’s turning. (Resulting in the infamous, “He’s not the man you married” line.) In every war movie, talking about your girl back home is a recipe for death by mortar shell. In I Am Legend, its Will Smith’s unhealthy attachment to Fred the mannequin the is the beginning of the end.

Continue reading

Single People’s Weeks: Hedging, Kathryn Bigelow, and “Women’s Language”

As promised, as part of Single People’s Week(s), today’s post is not about relationships, but it is about gender. And language. Maybe. I mean, it seems that way. Maybe you can tell me at the end?

Is language gendered? Was Robin Tolmach Lakoff right when she wrote in her book Language and a Woman’s Place that women use more approval seeking constructions (“that’ll be okay, right?”), more intensifiers (very, extra) and qualifiers (a bit, not exactly, maybe), and more uncertain rising intonations (ending a sentence on an upswing, suggesting the interrogative, kind of a verbal question mark) in order to not offend men? Does a female director/writer/producer, or, to be more general, a female leader, have to speak differently in order to be accepted by the mainstream? Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Countdown: Figuring Out Slash Fans

It’s two weeks before Valentine’s Day folks. The day of built up expectations and chronic depression, of obligatory romance and likely disappointment. Valentine’s Day is can be pretty depressing for those who aren’t in a relationship when February 14th comes around. Which is why I’d like to do some posts about women, men, and sexuality that don’t have to do with relationships. (Take that Cosmo!)

For the next two weeks I’m going to explore Slash fans, working women, female masturbation, women directors, Zooey Deschanel films, and constructions of masculinity and femininity in Star Wars, Star Trek, and Indiana Jones. Let’s open with this video. Because everything should open with this video.

More videos and analysis after the jump!