Thursday, February 11, 2010

I'm So Dreading Valentine's Day

I saw this slideshow, catchily entitled "Where the boys aren't" last week at NYT, discussing the major issue raised by the fact that women "have represented enrollments at American colleges since at least 2000." You might be surprised that said major issue is not "schools are hostile to boys" or "this is proof that men are underprivileged."

Nope. It's that college women can't find dates and face bitterness, desperation, and meaningless hookups. (Read the captions, f'real)

So, let's follow the NYT's premise for a minute--which seems to be something along the lines of "all college women are interested in men and see dating as a significant part of their college experiences." This sad state of affairs produces not only a sex ratio imbalance, but a power one, in which men have all the control. Note the following quotes:
The on-campus gender imbalance puts guys in a position to play the field, and tends to mean that even the ones willing to make a commitment come with storied romantic histories.

"On college campuses where there are far more women than men, men have all the power to control the intensity of sexual and romantic relationships," said Kathleen A. Bogle, a sociologist at La Salle University in Philadelphia.

The accompanying pictures are primarily of social settings in which women outnumber men (7 to 1 in the last one), highlighting how serious this crisis is!!! I mean, a girl can no longer go to college and pursue what her real goal should be--finding a man???

Particularly touching to single me, however, was this lovely quote:
Thanks to simple laws of supply and demand, it is often the women who must assert themselves romantically or be left alone on Valentine's Day, staring down a George Clooney movie over a half-empty pizza box.

I couldn't help thinking, "Wow! It's eerie how accurate the NYT is on the lives of single women!"

Update: Apparently there's a whole article linked to this travesty. I started writing this a few days ago and just saw Jill's post on it:
It seems to be a problem of perception more than statistics — if there are roughly equal numbers of men and women in a room, or if there are a few more women than men, we perceive the situation as thoroughly female-dominated. The same phenomenon happens with race. We’re used to seeing men (and white men in particular) as the standard; we’re used to them dominating higher education and the workforce. When we up the numbers of non-men in a situation where men have traditionally made up large majorities, the perception is that no more men exist – even though men are nearly half of the room.


Also, the article talks in much more troubling terms than I did about a "power imbalance." Even my flippant self paused and wondered about this:
“A lot of my friends will meet someone and go home for the night and just hope for the best the next morning,” Ms. Lynch said. “They’ll text them and say: ‘I had a great time. Want to hang out next week?’ And they don’t respond.”

Even worse, “Girls feel pressured to do more than they’re comfortable with, to lock it down,” Ms. Lynch said.

As for a man’s cheating, “that’s a thing that girls let slide, because you have to,” said Emily Kennard, a junior at North Carolina. “If you don’t let it slide, you don’t have a boyfriend.”


Women on gender-imbalanced campuses are paying a social price for success and, to a degree, are being victimized by men precisely because they have outperformed them.


If a guy is not getting what he wants, he can quickly and abruptly go to the next one, because there are so many of us,” said Katie Deray.

Emphasis mine.

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