Welcome to module 10: Relationships. During this section we will read Chapter 7: Love and Romantic Relationships, p. 224-256. We will also watch the video The Mobile Love Industry. Finally, you have your second discussion board posting number 2. See the discussion board for the prompt to write on and be sure to cite the chapter properly in your response, as well as edit your writing and respond to classmates’ posting.
Chapter 7: Love and Romantic Relationships opens with the idea of how social scripts (226) relate to our dating life: how we encounter mates in social spaces segregated by race, class and social status. How these interactions are scripted based on a normative concept of how such encounters should proceed (symbolic interaction theory). Such scripts are reinforced in our media, social expectations at large, and through the pressures of our peer and family groups. Most of us have the expectation of dating people that are similar to us in background and within a similar social location. How do you see this reflected in the world around you? What are examples of being outside the script (which point to the normative position of script behaviors)? Such scripts also contribute to our understanding of romantic love, which only recently a part of married coupling.
- How has the script for dating changed over time?
- Where did this phenomenon start (time and place)?
- What are the consumer culture aspects of dating?
- How is dating different for different racial groups? For different age groups?
- How is the hook up culture a variation on the dating theme? Similarities and differences?
Paula England has contributed important research to the understanding of hookup culture, with important statistics. Please do watch the video:
Christian Rudder is a founder of OkCupid.com dating website. One of the interesting things that dating websites provide is detailed data about all interactions (and non-interactions) between individuals. This information can be even more truthful than how people see themselves. Rudder wrote his book Dataclysm: Who we are when we think no one’s looking, with his insider access to this information. For example,while a person may say that they are non-racist in their mate selection, online dating interactions can demonstrate exactly who they do respond to and who they do not respond to based on various demographic factors. For an overview of the book, see the video below for the very interesting information on the ways in which people interact on online platforms.
Different Demographics and Concerns
Age. GLBT. Race. Gender. How do these demographic differences change aspects of dating life?
Age is a significant factor because it is related to the different places in life people may be at. While we may think of dating as relating to young people looking for their life partners, unencumbered with family and work responsibilities, we now have people dating at all time periods of their lives. Therefore, they may be balancing divorce, heavy workloads, family responsibilities, at the same time that they are dating potential mates that may be incorporated into their already busy lifestyles.
For GLBT individuals, their dating pursuits are tempered by ongoing discrimination, social invisibility, and the overwhelming landscape of heteronormativity. Individuals may be more or less out about their identities, but the general default is to assume everyone is heterosexual, and this will cause difficulties for GLBT folks to express their dating interests and partners.
Gender is a significant factor in the dating world because of the gender scripts that individuals play. For GLBT folks, this can provide more freedom and space for behavior, but some couples also still revert to butch/femme style behaviors and presentations. However, the research demonstrates that GLBT research provides the most potential for equality between partners. How are individuals’ gender presentations scripted in dating relationships? How about their physical presentation through dress and behavior, for reinforcing gender roles?
Race is an important factor in dating, because our larger social context is one within a culture of white supremacy and self-segregation. Overwhelmingly, people choose partners with similar backgrounds, especially when it comes to race. On page 250-251 the data image shows how likely each racial group member is to date someone of the other races. Only whites have a high 61% rating for dating other whites, while for Asians and Latinos, they are also more likely to select whites before their own group members, who are second. Only blacks are most likely to date a member of their own race because choosing whites secondly, and this may be based also on the extreme anti-black racism in our culture.
The Mobile Love Industry (video)
The smartphone has become the crucial link in modern relationships, it facilitates far more connections than real-world interaction ever allowed — from dating app geniuses who use data and game theory to hack the system, to the darker side of digital love, where app addiction runs rampant and users find themselves endlessly swiping in an empty search for more. Karley Sciortino will take on the task of determining where the human search for love is headed in the 21st century. She’ll meet with the brains behind these dating apps and try each of the most promising apps out using her own love life as a testing ground.
After reading through and watching these videos, please turn to your assignment on the discussion board and answer prompt 2 in as detailed and thoughtful manner as you can.