February
7th 2010
All the single ladies!

Posted under: American history, Gender, GLBTQ, happy endings, students, women's history

UPDATED BELOW

Yes, I know:  what a predictable headline.  But, it was irresistable!  Today’s blog post is a letter to all of the single college ladies, especially those of the heterosexualist persuasion.  Thanks to reader Indyanna and Tenured Radical for alerting me to this, and asking me to weigh in!

Dear undergraduate women,

You may have heard all of the buzz about the “new math” on college campuses where women undergraduates outnumber the men.  I’m here to tell you that this is a manufactured “problem.”  I went to a women’s college, where undergraduate men were outnumbered by 100%.  Even if you include the co-ed college with which we had a cooperative relationship, the numbers were approximately 70 to 75 percent women to 30 or 25 percent men.  And yet, this “imbalance” rarely came up as a topic of conversation.  There were women who always had boyfriends.  There were a lot of women who had girlfriends.  (Some had both boyfriends and girlfriends.)  And yet, most people–male and female alike, bi and gay as well as straight–were unattached:  interested in romance, but more interested in the other things that we did in college.  Some of those things were intellectual–but only some were.  Other things were artistic and creative, others were journalistic or political, and of course, a lot were just plain silly.  (For example:  menthol cigarettes, diet Dr. Pepper mixed with rum, streaking on the green or skinny dipping in the tiny fountain in the cloisters, and reading Walt Whitman and Radclyffe Hall, just to name a few examples.)

To tell the truth, I was one of those who always had a boyfriend–and how I wish I had spent more time on just about anything else in college.  The men in question weren’t the problem–they were perfectly nice, for the most part, and we had a lot of fun.  Dear readers, it was I who was to blame, because it was my lack of imagination and yes, an absence of courage, that led me down the dull path of early heterosexuality.  I didn’t believe it when I was eighteen, but I had the rest of my life in which to be a practicing heterosexualist.  Please understand:  I’m not advocating abstinence until marriage here.  I’m advocating imagination, creativity, intellectual challenge, and the occasional semi-drunken streak across campus with your friends, of whatever gender or sexual orientation.  Pairing off in college like you’re boarding Noah’s Ark is for the most part a waste of time.  Most people don’t marry or form a lasting partnership with their college boyfriends or girlfriends.  That’s not to say that these relationships are useless–merely to suggest that they’re just a small part of what life in college should be.

Now let’s take a critical look at the linked article, and wonder why people twice and thrice eighteen thought it important enough to print in the New York Times.  What is the effect of portraying college life as a catfight among straight women?  In whose interest is it to describe the relationship among straight college women as essentially competitive and perhaps to blame for bad behavior on the part of college men?  Why, I wonder, in all of those centuries in which higher education was largely, if not exclusively, reserved for young men, was the heterosexual meat and/or marriage market never described as a major social problem in the New York Times?  Heterosexuality has historically worked largely, if not exclusively, through men’s laws and men’s money in men’s interests in spite of the fact that women were a minority on college campuses, if they were there at all.  So, do not panic.  (Also, please ask yourself:  how is it that men dominated heterosexuality on campus when they were in the majority, and now they allegedly do on campuses in which they are a minority?  This “new math” doesn’t appear to work, or to explain very much at all now, does it’?)

This story–in which academically and/or professionally successful women are warned WARNING!  WARNING!  DANGER, PENNY ROBINSON! warned! that their success will doom them to a life devoid of a man’s love, bereft of babies, and shorn of the traditional accoutrements of bourgeois heterosexual success–is just one of many articles like these you’ll be reading for the rest of your lives.  (Remember:  as E.J. Graff has shown, the New York Times has specialized in these stories for decades.  This is the paper that believes that some day, any day now, all of us b!tchez will finally decide that we’re going to go home quietly to bake casseroles and pick up the dry cleaning for our much more successful husbands, and like it.)  In whose interests do these narratives operate?  Are they in your best interests, or not?

I say these narratives are not in your best interests.  They’re designed to knock you off your game, or even to get you to question whether you’re in the right game in the first place.  So if you’re lucky enough to go to college, make the most of it.  There really is life after age 22 or 23, like it or not, and it’s mostly great.  Out of three freshman year roommates, I’m still in touch with two, and consider them some of my lifetime all-time BFFs, as the kids like to say nowadays.  Out of two (and a half?  Not sure about that one.) boyfriends, I’m in touch with exactly none.  (And that’s OK by me–really, it is.  So that should tell you something about my misspent youth, as well as prove that I’m not on FaceBook.)

Your pal,

Historiann

Dear readers–what’s your advice for “all the single ladies?”

UPDATE, 2/10/10:  Cattyinqueens wrote in today with a link to a Gawker story in which the young women quoted in the article complain that their quotes were taken out of context.  More disturbingly, they’re being attacked and blamed for the article, not the New York Times or the reporter who wrote the story: 

“Kennard and Lynch seemed most upset, however, at how the story has been received—both on and off campus. “People are telling me I’ve labeled my entire generation as slutty in seven words, that I’m an embarrassment to the school,” says Kennard. “I had to change my name on Facebook because people were harassing me from all over the country.”

“Professors have approached me about it and said, you should watch what you say,” says Lynch.

“The worst thing about it is I’m in the journalism school here, and I’m making the school look horrible—apparently it’s my fault because I’m a journalist and I should have known this was going to happen,” says Kennard. “My response is when I interview people and record people I wouldn’t do this.”

Sing it with me, boys and girls:  cherchez la femme!  How would we explain the ills of the world to ourselves without women to blame?  Like I said above, you young women need to get used to hearing this, so that you can block it out.  Patriarchy is the insidious elevator music in the soundtrack of your lives.

80 Comments »

80 Responses to “All the single ladies!”

  1. LadyProf on 08 Feb 2010 at 12:12 am #

    Assuming it’s necessary for this female majority of undergrads to enjoy a larger pool of male companions to play with, I hope that college administrators are on the case. They can organize mixers with engineering schools, military colleges, etc. We know from modern history that they can do whatever it takes to make their successful, high-achieving undergrads feel happy and central to the institution. In the old days the women’s college in the New Haven area, Albertus Magnus, enjoyed the nickname of Albertus Mattress among male Yalies. And any motor vehicle that brought women to a male-controlled campus was called the fuck truck.

    Hey, deputy dean for student life. Focus! Imagine what you would want if you were a young woman on your campus with a sense of entitlement like the one men tote around, and make it happen.

  2. John S. on 08 Feb 2010 at 12:45 am #

    I *knew* that an analysis of this article was coming when I read it this morning–and this is better than I had even hoped. The article was something I have wondered about, as the gender imbalance on my campus has been growing ever since I have arrived (we”re currently 56%W, 44%M). And the situation at Professor Ms. John S.’s campus is worse; they are about 2:1 female. (Moreover, her Liberal Studies department runs about 90-95% female. I believe she has 1 male student total in her three seminars this spring.)

    FWIW, her students have been complaining about this problem for years; many of them have lamented the lack of romantic prospects and that the imbalance has empowered guys to act like real d!cks (their word) while still getting girlfriends. So many of them seem to have internalized the narrative before seeing the NYT article. Maybe it’s worse because they don’t want to imagine life after 22 or 23, given how brutal the job market is. (Does the economic climate change the imaginative horizons of college students, when it comes to their desire for “traditional” gender roles? I can’t say, but it seems worth exploring.)

    Indeed, my biggest beef with the article was its author’s complete lack of interest in interrogating the causes of “the new math” or placing it in a broader context. I know that at my school our freshman classes start out 50-50, and end up 56-44 after 4-5 years. I’d love to know why. (Given that we know what a factor economic class is in terms of dropping out or time to degree, might we not think of money as part of the new math?) Getting into college know is so much more competitive than when I was younger (being born in the demographic trough and all). Does that matter? And like I said, I wonder if young women see gender relations differently during a major economic recession.

    But it is the Style section, so maybe I am asking to much. Can the NYT start a sociology section?

  3. Jeffrey on 08 Feb 2010 at 2:40 am #

    What about all the single men looking for, um, single men? Now we’re in crisis talks.

  4. Notorious Ph.D. on 08 Feb 2010 at 4:50 am #

    Dear Historiann: I have a colleague who is a Ph.D.-holding professor of something-or-other, and all she ever talks about is finding someone wealthy to marry so she can buy herself out of half of her courses. She’s smart, accomplished, and yes, very attractive, and I’d like to shake her every time she starts talking like this.

    What should I do?

    Signed,

    Notorious and desperate

  5. Notorious Ph.D. on 08 Feb 2010 at 4:51 am #

    (Sorry: the subtext here was that there are plenty of otherwise sensible women who have totally internalized this, and it makes me nuts, because then I can’t just dismiss articles like this out of hand.)

  6. J. Otto Pohl on 08 Feb 2010 at 6:08 am #

    While I do not think the romantic prospects of women on female majority campi are a pressing problem, I have been intrigued by the seemingly international trend of more women going to university then men. I think that it may possibly have potentially long term negative social effects. If higher education is perceived to be primarily a female pursuit I think it will devalue its economic worth. This is particularly true in the region of the world I work. When I attended graduate school from 2001-2004 (MA 2002 and Phd 2004)at SOAS in London I noticed that a clear majority of undergraduates were women. Now that I am teaching at AUCA in Bishkek I have noticed the same thing on an even greater scale.

    It is not just a slight majority of my students that are women, but a significant majority. The honors seminar students for instance this semester for both International and Comparative Politics and American Studies are all women. I have one class, Ethnicity, Nationalism and Race that has only one male student out of fifteen students. The other classes are not as imbalanced, but are somewhere between two thirds and three quarters women. It may be that my particular classes are more popular among women than men, but I think there is definitely a significant gender imbalance at my institution.

    For some nationalities the gender imbalance is particularly pronounced. For instance I have quite a few female students from Afghanistan in my classes. But, I only have one male Afghan student in all of my classes. This is in part because female Afghan students greatly outnumber male Afghan students at AUCA. The imbalance among Kyrgyz is less pronounced, but still note worthy.

    As I noted above I think the decline in male university students presents potential long term social problems. Kyrgyzstan and even more so Afghanistan are still very patriarchial societies. If college degrees are viewed as something women get, but men do not then their value is going to decrease. So despite all of Historiann’s snarkiness this is a serious problem. I wish she would treat it as such.

  7. Comrade Svilova on 08 Feb 2010 at 6:40 am #

    As Notorious Ph.D. says, so many women have already internalized this message; that’s what makes it so infuriating to me to see the message reiterated over and over — it simply reinforces what many women have already come to believe!

    I wonder if our friends and relatives are some of the primary sources from whom we derive the idea that dating prospects are still the central concern for women. I was unschooled for most of my youth, and from the age of ten I was constantly asked about prom. Prom! Over and over I was told that I needed to go to high school, because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to go to prom.

    Then when I was looking at colleges, I was interested in a school that has the reputation of having a very large gay male population, and I was repeatedly told that I shouldn’t attend that school because there would be very few straight men around. Even though it has one of the best programs in the country in my field, the first thing most people pointed out is that it would probably be hard for me to get a date.

    And I grew up in an incredibly liberal, hippy-infused North-Eastern town, so the people around me who were so concerned with my dating prospects were all declared liberals who read the NYTimes …

  8. Lance on 08 Feb 2010 at 7:03 am #

    I’d love to know where the idea for this piece came from. I know the Times has basically decided to define this as the great age of crisis for women with an education or with ambition, so it fits *that* pattern, at least. But this very much feels like an essay written during an weekday stopover in Chapel Hill during a snowstorm when the internet was down. Somebody went for pizza at the local pub and….

    No more mansplaining today from me. I will read and be enlightened.

  9. Janice on 08 Feb 2010 at 7:24 am #

    Panic! Panic! See, this is what happens when you let women go to university. They eventually end up outnumbering the men, there, and the entire social order falls apart. And it’s all our (women’s) fault, isn’t it?

    *headdesk*

    But whether there are too few women or too many, somehow there’s always an explanation that college men have to take this as an excuse to behave badly and that college women need to learn their place and stop being so demanding. Want a personal life and an education and a career? Not you, chickies! They were saying this in the nineteenth century and, surprise!, they’re still saying this in the twenty-first.

    Is this what patriarchal equilibrium feels like? Why, yes. Yes it is.

  10. Historiann on 08 Feb 2010 at 7:26 am #

    Why, indeed, is everyone panicked by the prospect of straight women not being contained by the practice of heterosexuality? (Including many of them, themselves, of course, as Notorious suggests.) Well, the world would lose out on a lot of volunteer labor that women provide for their families when their bodies are contained by marriage and childrearing. Unattached women are freer to quit their paid jobs because they have better opportunities (or they’re just pissed off), being unencumbered by a family. Although resisting marriage won’t equalize the wage gap anytime soon, if ever, the prospect of women whose education, work, and money are entirely their own is still very threatening in traditional patriarchal societies like those in North America.

  11. Historiann on 08 Feb 2010 at 7:31 am #

    Or, as Janice said and beat me to it: “They were saying this in the nineteenth century and, surprise!, they’re still saying this in the twenty-first.

    Is this what patriarchal equilibrium feels like? Why, yes. Yes it is.”

    Exactement! And expressed with an admirable economy of language. How many mothers and fathers of daughters, if they thought about it for more than 15 seconds, really want their bright, talented, smart daughters to cast their pearls before swine? If I’m a parent, I sure as hell would hope that my child/ren would choose dating and/or mating partners who are worthy of their time and attention. The d-bag men described in the linked article don’t impress me at all. I hope the parents of those young women are all over them this week, asking them about their priorities and what college might offer them beyond a “hook up” or an M.R.S. degree.

  12. Paul on 08 Feb 2010 at 8:03 am #

    This might be off-topic, but when I read this I found myself thinking – why are men going to college in smaller numbers and dropping out at a higher rate? You don’t have to subscribe to the idea that education is now “feminized” and actively discriminates against men to wonder what exactly is happening.

  13. perpetua on 08 Feb 2010 at 8:37 am #

    For me the article itself (the fact that it was written AT ALL), as well as the attitudes portrayed by the young women in it are more symptoms of the cancer of postfeminism – since the hallmark of postfeminism has always been “You don’t want to end up ALONE do you?” Scare tactics to drive women away from feminism, and from meaningful lives generally, have only intensified in the last few decades. And I would challenge anyone to maintain seriously that the problems exposed by the women in the article is related to the *proportion of men to women* rather than, say, the expression of latent ideas about male-female relationships running riot in 21st c. America. For example: “that’s [cheating] 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.” That makes me want to heave, but truthfully, we’ve seen media report after media report from teenage girls expressing the *exact same attitudes*. We have to give bl-wj-bs or put up with such and such ’cause otherwise we’ll be ALONE. And of course we’ve also seen the rates of partner abuse among teenage girls skyrocket in recent decades. The terror narrative of solitude (and against achievement) starts young, and has a huge impact on the development of young women’s sexuality & senses of self, in really sad ways. Pretending this problem is the result of female achievement a la NYT is just another way of perpetuating it.

    I’m all about resisting marriage, precisely for the reasons you articulate, H. It goes back to the earlier post, “don’t marry a d*ck!”. Have your own life and career and money and sense of self and you’ll be a lot more likely to marry/partner with someone who respects and values you (if you choose to partner at all).

  14. FrauTech on 08 Feb 2010 at 8:50 am #

    Everyone’s said great things so I’ll only add a little. I happened to meet my now husband before college, spent all my college years dating him, and am now happily married for X years. My parents were shocked (and disappointed) that I would marry so young. However, you don’t choose who/when you fall in love with someone and I wouldn’t trade it.

    That being said, I have an incredibly brilliant friend who just started here first post-doc and always complained about being single or how you know she was getting too old and didn’t have a husband yet etc etc. But she took a great post-doc and moved a couple states away for some fascinating research that if she had been married might not have been an option. Having a spouse means you need to agree where you’re going to live and can’t just pick up to take that great opportunity across the country without your spouse’s consent (or understanding that you might destroy your marriage). As someone who works and goes to school, there have been many times when I’ve wanted to take on an interesting research project on the side, but when one has a spouse at home who they want to keep a relationship with this is not possible. I don’t regret getting married. I wouldn’t even have had the confidence to go back for my engineering degree if it hadn’t been for my husband. But I think it’s a two sides of the coin thing, and wish more women would take advantage of their single-hood to have some great research and fun social times.

  15. Helen Huntingdon on 08 Feb 2010 at 8:56 am #

    This might be off-topic, but when I read this I found myself thinking – why are men going to college in smaller numbers and dropping out at a higher rate? You don’t have to subscribe to the idea that education is now “feminized” and actively discriminates against men to wonder what exactly is happening.

    Heh. Sure dude. Have yourself a good time with that fantasy.

    I know one old-ish white male prof in a heavily male-dominated field whose research group has tended to be more than 50% women for the last several years. He’s world-famous in his field, and has endless applications from around the globe from students hoping to study with him. Is he discriminating based on sex? Nope. He’s just gotten old enough he is no longer willing to bother with certain kinds of bullshit, so he’s sorting for some specific personality traits that not only make effective researchers, but make for a professional work environment. He’s as surprised as anybody that the choices keep coming out women.

    It’s not hard to see why though. He wants students who won’t give up — or worse, get whiny — when they hit a brick wall, and women in his field are already swimming against the tide. They have to show a lot of vim and tenacity before their applications make it to his desk. If you do a further sort for civil and pleasant behavior in the work environment, how would you guess your average 22-year-old male is going to stack up against your average 22-year-old female? It’s not a shock the women are winning.

    I’ve seen this happen in industry too. Men claim gender-bias meant a woman got a job they deserved, when what really happened is the woman had the necessary qualifications *and* a decent personality and nobody wanted to work with the whiny dick.

  16. Historiann on 08 Feb 2010 at 9:12 am #

    perpetua wrote: “. . . more symptoms of the cancer of postfeminism.”

    Yes. Because few people (outside of the Taliban, or FLDS communities) in the modern world will make a principled argument for paying women less than men, limiting their educational opportunities, or discriminating against them in the law, the emphasis for the past 60 or 70 years or so has been cultural pressure on women. Even U.S. Christianist fundies no longer argue that there should be discrimination enshrined in law. But even so-called “liberals” and progressives appear to be very invested in conforming to traditional gender roles and in the hierarchies embedded in heterosexuality.

  17. thefrogprincess on 08 Feb 2010 at 11:19 am #

    I have a bit more sympathy for the situation in the article b/c, as I know from experience, remaining single all through college isn’t particularly pleasant. Not sure I buy it’s a numbers problem, though. Even if it were 50-50, the same issues would apply about guys already in relationships and guys you don’t want to date (which is a fair chunk of college boys).

    I’m on record as saying on this blog that I think there’s something funky going on with how boys are taught in this country. However, I’m not at all surprised that the rates are as they are, nor do I think this is the catastrophe Paul does. Men have always had tons of decent-paying, highly respected job options that don’t require a college education and have traditionally been the preserve of men, though not exclusively: the military (as the NYTimes notes), law enforcement, firefighting, plumbing, HVAC, construction, manufacturing, etc. Yes, manufacturing and construction are dwindling but the others probably aren’t going anywhere. I don’t want to push the point too far but I’ve always had the sense that women have a stronger need for a college degree because the jobs that don’t require a degree and have traditionally been the preserve of women don’t carry the same respect or the same decent pay: childcare, domestic work, lunchladies, etc.

    So no, I’m not worried about the numbers gap (and frankly, I barely consider 55-45 a gap worth talking about). There are a ton of things to worry about with high school and college education, this is not one.

  18. Matt L on 08 Feb 2010 at 11:36 am #

    Uh. No. Wrong question.

    I think Helen Huntingdon provides a great explanation for what has been happening at the graduate level for years now. I can only second her observation.

    At the undergraduate level the male/female imbalance is also pretty straightforward. A lot of 18-20 year old guys have more interest in buying stuff than in ideas. Many guys want to work to be able to buy a car and the flat screen TV, so they are not keen on college in the first place.

    Second, a plumber’s or electrician’s apprentice program offers a chance to start earning money now, and a license in the same number of years it would take to earn a BA. It also happens to cost less and require fewer classes. So the combination of more doing and less classwork with the potential to earn more money in the short run means fewer men in college.

    This has nothing to do with women being smarter, or men being discriminated against, and everything to do with maximizing the time spent playing X-Box and working to make payments on your car. Its also highly gendered in that not too many young women would consider becoming electricians, but they do want to become nurses or primary school teachers; vocational programs that require a four year degree. So while women might want to work, and be consumers, they also face different incentives and higher barriers for their chosen vocational track. As a result more women choose college: No discrimination against men required.

  19. Matt L on 08 Feb 2010 at 11:38 am #

    Shoot. That post above was in response to Paul. I meant to use his post as a quotation.

  20. Comrade PhysioProf on 08 Feb 2010 at 11:44 am #

    The New York Times is run by a bunch of white-d00d douchebag hacks who never got laid in college, and are still fucking seething about it. They operate the NY Times as a misogyny factory to get back at those fucking bitchez in college that wouldn’t even talk to them. This is why they hire smarmy woman-hating scumbags like Ross Douthat, and why they publish garbage like the one you have debunked.

  21. Susan on 08 Feb 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    Well, I thought the story was downright silly. I was a woman student at a formerly male college soon after integration. And I can say when the ratio was 2:1 male to female, you couldn’t get dates. I never figured it out, and I ultimately did have some boyfriends in college, but it was not the perfect dating scene.

    As for admissions, it also depends on what is valued. And for boys, success in school is not rewarded in peer culture, the way it is for girls. My U still has a majority male population, but mostly because it has a heavy science & engineering focus.

  22. Historiann on 08 Feb 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    CPP–I hadn’t thought about the possibility of sexual humiliation in college, but that’s an interesting theory. I think the NYT folks and a lot of elite media types also suffer from a kind of nostalgia about their college years that convinces them that universities are preserved in amber and operate the same way they did in 1960, 1970, 1980, or 1990, rather than changing with the times. Thus all of these stories that presume that nothing has changed in the past 40 or 50 years.

  23. John S. on 08 Feb 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    Re: nostalgia: I think that it’s important to keep in mind that there’s still a proportion of media elites, in their 50s and 60s, that went to college just around the time their schools went co-ed. (Some, like Chris Matthews, graduated before their schools admitted women–I wonder if that affects how he sees the world? Don’t get me started on Pat Buchanan.) This is especially true if you’re talking about those who attended sectarian schools, or even northeastern Ivies (Yale’s first co-ed class was the class of 1973, while Harvard first merged admissions with Radcliffe in 1979). I would imagine that this experience, for men of a certain generation, would make majority-female colleges seem even more “world turned upside down.”

  24. Martin Quinones on 08 Feb 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    ‘“It’s awesome being a guy,” admitted Garret Jones, another North Carolina senior.’

    I’ll call Ripley’s.

  25. mandor on 08 Feb 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    The article sounds an awful lot like a recycled version of those moral panic ones about “hooking up” from a few years ago. All of the examples are the same, but they frame it with the added twist of this so called gender imbalance. The message is the same–women, you haz a problem!!!

    It’s funny because when I was an undergrad at Oberlin in the mid 90′s, we used to joke about our 60/40 ratio, but no one actually cared and no one (gay, straight or whatever) felt like they were missing out. Perhaps this was because we weren’t the most heteronormative campus environment? College was mostly hanging out in groups anyway. It’s not as if everyone is happy and paired up on a campus that is 50/50.

  26. Comrade PhysioProf on 08 Feb 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    Thus all of these stories that presume that nothing has changed in the past 40 or 50 years.

    I think it’s the opposite. These d00ds are fucking livid because every college d00d nowadays gets to act like an entitled douchebag and still go to the bar with three hawt bitchez on EACH ARM, while their own college sexual experiences were 99% spanking it in the coed bathroom stall while peering out through the crack at women brushing their teeth.

    They sublimate this rage into putting bitchez in their place. This includes the NY Times practice of putting just about anything that specifically addresses women’s actions in society–like women-owned businesses, women blogging, women in medicine or law, women authors, women health issues, women in sports, etc–in the “Fashion & Style” section of the paper.

  27. Feminist Avatar on 08 Feb 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    The other explanation for the increase in women in higher education is mature returners. According to my extremely scientific google search (taken from Gender Equity in Higher Education: 2010 report), women aged over 25 make up 28% of u/grads in the US, compared to 14% of men in the same age category. And, African American and American Indian women aged over 25 actually outnumber their under 24 counterparts.

    What we may be seeing here is not the ‘feminisation’ of education so much as women, who previously did not have the opportunities to attend university, catching up with their male counterparts.

    Having said this, between the ages of 25 and 29, more white women have bachelor’s degrees than white men. On the other hand, young men may have alternative (and often well-paying) career paths that do not require higher education that young women do not (for social reasons), such as apprenticeships in trade and construction.

  28. Matt L on 08 Feb 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    And here is another thing that bugs me about that article… does anyone really go to college expecting to find a mate?

    The best thing I got out of college was friends, lots of friends from different backgrounds, lots of men and women friends. I think only a couple of us married the people we were dating in college. And thank goodness. I had no idea what I was doing when I was in my 20s. I would have been a disaster as a husband (well meaning, but still a disaster). But I was and am a good friend, and college taught me a lot about friendship and being an adult.

    Going to college and finding your mate in your 20s is luck, not a god given right. If it happened to you and it worked out, that great! But really, thats a silly expectation to put on the admissions office or your alma mater. I think this relates back to one of Historiann’s earlier threads about college expectations.

  29. Indyanna on 08 Feb 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    My most senior student in an upper-level history class, senior to me I would guess (if that’s possible), swung by the front the other day to say she would be missing a week. Heading to Cancun. Her hub is a “big snorkeler,” and a group is going down there. Then I learned that our deparment secretary is also going to Cancun. Her bf is a “big snorkeler.” She’s not senior to me, but is non-traditional, and takes classes regularly. I thought something’s happening here…. This is part of some big local group of big snorkelers. Or was. They got snowed into at Smoketown Int’l Airport this weekend, but the trip is rescheduled in a couple of weeks.

    This is to say, yes, I think the gender ratios may be somewhat being shaped by surges in non-traditional student populations. If the missing young men on campus *are*, in fact, diverting to the military and other remunerative walks of life, this may pre-figure a countersurge in the other direction in a decade or two.

    My senior student, I should say, I think told me she has a degree from a Big Ivy, where she met snorkel-dude, but for all I know Big Ivy might have had the collegiate equivalent of a Home Ec track years back. She’s not pursuing a degree now. She’s very big into historical research though, which is very refreshing. Brings extensive photocopied documents to class, offers exegesis on them after class, and seeks feedback.

  30. J. Otto Pohl on 08 Feb 2010 at 10:26 pm #

    How come only five of the 29 comments are showing?

  31. Historiann on 09 Feb 2010 at 8:35 am #

    CPP and John S.: now I understand where you were going. I was thinking of this story as related to the other stories and op-eds the NYT has run that imply that 1) the faculty is not already adjunctified, and 2) the faculty are all lazy deadwood, and what’s the use of tenure, anyway?

    I think John’s point about the nostalgia for pre-girlified Princeton and Yale runs deep & is right on. (When did Holy Cross go co-ed? I think that’s Pat’s alma mater, no?)

  32. John S. on 09 Feb 2010 at 8:58 am #

    Pat graduated from Georgetown in 1960, whose college of Letters and Science only went co-ed in 1968. (The university has other schools, however, which were co-ed earlier; my mom graduated from the Nursing school, for instance, in 1964.) Holy Cross, the alma mater of Chris Matthews, went co-ed in 1972(!). He graduated in the late 1960s.

    (Don’t forget the great group the Concerned Alumni of Princeton, founded in 1972 to limit the number of women admitted to that University (the first class of women graduated in 1973, I believe). Justice Samuel Alito was a member of that group while there. His colleague on the court, Sandra Sotomayor, graduated Princeton in 1976–one of the first classes. To be fair–I am sure women like Sotomayor were harshing his buzz. They are both under 60 years old. So this is still something very much in the memory of many elites still in positions of authority in media and government.)

  33. Paul on 09 Feb 2010 at 9:40 am #

    Helen Huntingdon – I’m not sure what fantasy you are referring to. I was trying to say that I DON’T subscribe to the idea that the educational system actively discriminates against men (though I don’t know enough about the issue to say that it never does, either).

    Re: The idea that young women may be better students simply because they are more used to working against the odds or that they are simply more pleasant to be around, I don’t know whether that is true or not. In my experience, there is little difference between the attitudes and professionalism of young women and young men – both sexes have people who are hard-working, professional, and pleasant, and people who are lacking in one or two or all of those categories.

    thefrogprincess and Matt L. –

    Greater access to jobs with a decent level of income that do not require college education does seem to be a likely reason that more women are going to college than men.

  34. Kathleen Lowrey on 09 Feb 2010 at 9:46 am #

    So many great comments here! I like the place Historiann started, though, which is: culture-jamming message to college women. I do think college women need to get that message from somewhere, because the larger culture is so saturated with OMG Jessica Simpson is 26 and not!!!! married!!!!!! clearly the yowling cats are circling her lonesome apartment even as we speak.

    On the dating end of things, I think it’s worth noting that college in many ways is the new high school, both because more of the population goes and the age of “onset of adulthood” is getting later for everyone. So I think if yesterday’s smart young women pined away in high school for the much better caliber of boy that often did in fact await them in college, today’s smart young women need to hear that a much better caliber of boy does in fact await them … after college.

    (this is not to dismiss all the great critiques of compulsory heterosexuality & compulsory pairing-off embedded in the NYTimes narrative).

    Speaking for myself and my friends, all nearly 40something women with university educations, *no one* ended up with the guys they dated in college, all of whom are now beloved characters in narratives under the header ‘oh heavens, what were we thinking’. That’s not even to say they were all bad guys — some were; others were just immature, as were we.

    So if you are a woman who is not dating successfully — or even at all — in college, and who wishes you were: seriously, do not despair. It actually does get better later. And as Historiann rightly urges, do think about why it is the larger culture does nothing to promote that truth, and in fact goes out of its way to freak you out with scare narratives about how pursuing opportunities for a satisfying life in which you gain a well-developed sense of who you are and an ability to earn a decent independent income is actually going to ruin! your! chances! of! happiness! forever!

  35. Historiann on 09 Feb 2010 at 10:23 am #

    Paul–thanks for clarifying your earlier comment. I wasn’t clear on your point, either.

    Kathleen–thanks. Also–hillarious comment about the “yowling cats.” I wonder if the propaganda aimed at college women has to do with a kind of effort to exploit them before they get even just a little bit older and wiser. After all, preying on college women a la “Girls Gone Wild” and the environment of binge drinking is a big business. Even when there are no cameras around, I’ve been told by my students that male partygoers will egg women on to “show their tits” or to make out with another woman. (Amazingly, some will do this, but again–it’s pretty unimaginable outside of the college drinking-to-excess environment.)

    (Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinist Pigs is my bible on the pr0nification of youth culture, BTW.)

  36. thefrogprincess on 09 Feb 2010 at 10:34 am #

    Hmm, this is a difficult one for me. I think there can be legitimate concerns about what happens if you want to be dating in college and don’t. Not only is it little solace to hear that it gets better, it’s also just not necessarily true. (There’ve been a few articles in the past few months showing that for highly educated black women, their chances of getting married are quite slim.)

    I think the message should be: here’s the truth, you might not get married, if you want to be married. You might not find yourself in a meaningful, long-term relationship, if that’s what you’re looking for. Now how do you deal with that, especially given the importance of marriage in American culture?

    All this brings up Lori Gottlieb’s recent book that’s made the rounds on several blogs, with her highly offensive premise that single women in their late 20s need to settle for the next man who will have them. What’s missing is how to create a fulfilling single life, which will be the reality for some women who would rather have gotten married, no matter how much society beats around the bush.

  37. Historiann on 09 Feb 2010 at 10:45 am #

    thefrogprincess: you’re right about the odds for college educated (or better) African American women. Anecdotally, it seems like my AA women friends have either stayed single or they’ve dated non-African American (usually white) men.

    Although the legal power to forbid African American marriages ended with slavery, it’s depressing to note how American society and culture still work powerfully against black marriages, through African American poverty and the criminalization of black men. As Anitanola noted yesterday at Shakesville, 1% of American adults are in jail or prison, and those adults are disproportionately black men. She writes, “I know our society is not post-racial but I must now wonder if we are actually even post-slavery.”

    Oh, and Gottlieb? I considered posting on it, but she and her book are just too stupid. Anyone who buys her book or gives it any attention is just rewarding stupid. I’ll buy that book the day a major publisher offers a book by a man arguing that men need to “settle.” But somehow that never comes up, does it?

  38. thefrogprincess on 09 Feb 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Right on about Gottlieb. You’d have to debunk virtually every sentence and we’ve got life to get on with rather than engage her stupidity. What’s worse is that I think she recognizes that men don’t need to settle, which is why us late-20s singletons should snap up any guy who would deign to be with us. Because that’s the basis of lifelong love or even temporary happiness.

    Ugh.

  39. Historiann on 09 Feb 2010 at 11:00 am #

    Right! And married women never get divorced, dumped, or have their husbands drop dead on them. Marriage is the magic cure for all of life’s frustrations!

    It’s true! (Plus, you get a pony when you get married!)

  40. KrisT on 09 Feb 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    I can’t help but think this article is just meant to stir up the kind of vague panic that too often can keep people from achieving real success, and it is aimed at women, because God Forbid women achieve a tiny majority of the population in a school and we consider celebrating that fact. Instead, better to spin it as the Worst News Ever For Women.I am not sure what aspect of this article I appreciated more: the assumption that women couldn’t be dating other women, the assumption that women could ONLY be dating undergraduate men, or the clueless administrator who stated the problem was due to the fact that his college does not have an engineering school, to balance out the gender issue on campus.

    Overall though, I think the focus of this article, while amusing to laugh at as an adult, is tremendously concerning. We, as a society, are constantly reinforcing to young women that there is a problem with them going to college. Some of you can go, of course, but not too many of you. And in some fields, of course, you are probably taking the place of a more qualified man because of some vague affirmative action.

    I wish the article had said instead, “These campuses provide such great opportunities for women that 57% of their undergraduate population is female. Yeah, them!”

  41. Kathleen Lowrey on 09 Feb 2010 at 1:18 pm #

    Historiann — thanks for appreciating yowling cat imagery :)

    thefrogprincess — I don’t disagree with your points, but think they fall more under the header “Life: Might Not Turn Out Perfect”, which is equally applicable to *everyone*. And, totally not to discount the obstacles to happiness formed by sexism & racism, but those stories about “Career women: smiling on the outside, crying on the inside!” and “African American career women: doubly so!!!!!”

    are not really about compassionate recognition that life can be hard, and especially so for women-people and people-of-color, no matter how much they pretend to be. If they were, they’d share cultural space with stuff like Death of a Salesman, which is the same genre (life: can be disappointing, though usually not entirely!) but played as Profound Tragedy of the Human Condition, not as “Ha-ha!” (say in Nelson voice).

    I mean, seriously — all those narratives about women, and African-American women, who tried to have it all but Failed Where it Matters Most: they are effing gleeful punishment narratives. They make that move where they subvert homage by turning it into pity, which makes all readers more powerful than the subject of the article (successful professional women and successful professional women of color). That’s something a lot of readers, apparently, get off on: one can tell by the fact that this crap is produced to spiteful acclaim over and over and over again.

  42. Kathleen Lowrey on 09 Feb 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    one more way this particular NYTimes article gives a particular kind of reader an illusory sensation of power and superiority: its thesis is

    “college women: undesired and devoid of sexual power”.

    HA HA HA HA HAH AHA HA HA H AH AHA HA HA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    For reals. That’s ridiculous on its face, but just imagine what kind of person it appeals to as an argument.

  43. Historiann on 09 Feb 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    You know, now that you put it this way (“effing gleeful punishment narratives”), I can see the generic similarities to narratives of fallen women from the turn of the 19th C (Pamela, Clarissa, etc.) Those too were stories of women who were too ambitious and went beyond their station–and what did that accomplish, but shame, dishonor, unhappiness, and early death?

    Some smart lit person should write that up. It might be along the lines of Fran Dolan’s Marriage and Violence: the Early Modern Legacy (2008), which compares narratives of domestic violence from early modern England and early America to 20th C representations of the same phenomenon, skipping the 19th C entirely. (But, those of us who do women’s history know–what’s one or two centuries, when there’s so little change over time in some aspects of free women’s lives?)

  44. thefrogprincess on 09 Feb 2010 at 5:09 pm #

    Kathleen, I completely agree. These articles are deeply problematic, especially in the way that they don’t envision another life for women other than marriage. But often the conversations that rightly critique this lack of vision also act as though these aren’t real issues for women. We might not want women to have to make the kind of significant tradeoffs for pursuing a career that men rarely have to make but that doesn’t make it so. Yes, these articles might be about punishing women for daring to have careers but there’s a reality behind this that I don’t think can be ignored.

  45. J. Otto Pohl on 09 Feb 2010 at 6:52 pm #

    I see nobody addressed the fact that making the BA essentially a “woman’s degree” will seriously devalue the economic worth of the degree in many places of the world. The US is probably safe from this. But, honestly what does it say when all the college degree holders in Afghanistan are women and all of the power holders are men? But, instead people would rather deal with trivialities. I should not have expected any better from the hipster left.

  46. Janice on 09 Feb 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    Oh, look! *points above to J.O.P.’s comment*

    Mansplaining: you’re doing it right!

    There are multiple issues that can be raised from the lightweight and ludicrous NYT article. However, because this discussion was focused on one and not the one that you deemed most important, this discussion is somehow evidence of the complete moral and intellectual corruption of “the left.”

    And it’s not as if Historiann hasn’t touched on such issues in the past. Why, just look at this bit about sexual politics in Afghanistan. What do you know?

  47. Kathleen Lowrey on 09 Feb 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    J.O.P. — I’d say it indicates that gender relations in Afghanistan are improving, however fitfully, just the same way it indicates it in the U.S. (where — I don’t know if you noticed — men hold most of the power, too).

    thefrogprincess — I agree with you. At the same time, it’s important to point out that educated women are *more* likely to get marital stability than are uneducated women. I don’t say that as a rah-rah statistic, more that, whatever is associated with social status (say, marriage), rich white straight dudes tend to have more of it and the farther away one is located from that position in any direction (class, race, gender, sexual orientation) the less of the goodies one gets. But education puts women *closer* to the pinnacle of goodies, not farther away.

  48. Kathleen Lowrey on 09 Feb 2010 at 8:21 pm #

    just to be clear — I think the goodie-pinnacle-system is unsalvageably horrible & don’t want to build a politics around clambering to the top of it. But if we are keeping score on those terms, that’s what the score is.

  49. Historiann on 09 Feb 2010 at 8:29 pm #

    What Janice said. (Thanks, Janice!) Tool alert!

    We can just ignore J. Otto Pohl from now on, since he obviously hasn’t read the rules and therefore thinks that I have to drop everything and address exactly what. he. says. because I am a mere woman and am here to serve others! I’m not permitted to set my own boundaries and am required to let every untrained dog into my living room to piss in the corners. Silly me! (Besides, it’s not like I have a day job.)

    We’ll look forward to reading lots of feminist blogging about Afghanistan and the feminization of the B.A. worldwide over on your blog.

  50. John S. on 09 Feb 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    As another data point: I talked in office hours today with a recent grad, a former student of mine applying to PhD programs; she’s easily the best student I have taught since I have been here and I have written her several letters of support. And she was complaining about the endless grief her friends have given her about the fact that she’s more focused on pursuing her own career rather than getting married at age 23! They apparently think that since she has a marriage-able guy she should snag him before he gets away and not do things like move to the east coast to study history. Focusing on her career is too shortsighted, supposedly.

    (And apparently her boyfriend gets grief from his friends for not taking enough advantage of the numbers game; college age women are “easier to handle” now, he was told, because they all want the ring.)

    It was a remarkable interaction, in light of the NYT story and this thread. What a terrible waste it is as this narrative gets pounded into the head of college women and men. That people want to conspire to prevent a bright young person from contributing to her profession and making herself happy while doing so saddens me. (I guess this hits me more personally as a teacher seeing this happen to a student of mine.) I am going to send her to Historiann’s letter tout de suite.

  51. Sisyphus on 09 Feb 2010 at 11:57 pm #

    Coming to the party late, but one of the recent Beloit college surveys (you know, that thing that tells us what is before our first-year-students’ time?) said that the national level of college students reached gender parity in 1981. As in, “the freshpeeps you will see this fall have never known a time when there wasn’t gender parity at the BA level.”

    So if this isn’t old news, I don’t know what is!

  52. Comrade PhysioProf on 10 Feb 2010 at 5:47 am #

    gleeful punishment narratives

    This is a very pithy way of putting what I was less eloquently trying to say about the motivations of the halibut slappers running the NY Times.

  53. Cattyinqueens on 10 Feb 2010 at 1:20 pm #

    Here’s a really interesting story about the Times article: some of the women quoted in the story are insisting the reporter did a hit job on their comments:

    http://gawker.com/5468601/something-doesnt-add-up-for-the-women-of-the-new-math-on-campus-story

  54. Historiann on 10 Feb 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    Wow, Catty–thanks so much. I’ll have to post an update. This part really struck me–how the article is being read as a poor reflection on the women quoted, not on the bull$hit artistry of the New York Times (from the Gawker story linked above):

    Kennard and Lynch seemed most upset, however, at how the story has been received—both on and off campus. “People are telling me I’ve labeled my entire generation as slutty in seven words, that I’m an embarrassment to the school,” says Kennard. “I had to change my name on Facebook because people were harassing me from all over the country.”

    “Professors have approached me about it and said, you should watch what you say,” says Lynch.

    “The worst thing about it is I’m in the journalism school here, and I’m making the school look horrible—apparently it’s my fault because I’m a journalist and I should have known this was going to happen,” says Kennard. “My response is when I interview people and record people I wouldn’t do this.”

  55. Indyanna on 10 Feb 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    I think this raises a somewhat complicated question as to where the responsibility lies. The reporter’s e-mailed explication (in the Gawker post) of the evolution of the story from interview notes to print doesn’t seem implausible. And I didn’t in fact, in reading the article, think Kennard was presented as having spoken about herself, as opposed to offering a disapproving view of what she saw as campus practice. It isn’t clear what the “this” is that she says she “wouldn’t do” as a student journalist. Context is pretty much non-existent in long-report/short-form feature story genres. I once gave a telephone interview, and was quoted, accurately enough but in a situation where context would have been impossible. It was a wire-service story, so hundreds of different headline writers had great fun above amounted to about two column inches of print. I got my first-ever and thankfully only nomination for a “Golden Fleece Award” (google Proxmire, Sen. William). Thirty years later, thanks to internet aggregator data-bases, I’m still picking funny headlines from papers in towns I never heard of out of my hide, but the boss wasn’t so amused. Facebooker-on-Facebooker verbal violence is a nasty thing, but it doesn’t of itself necessarily reflect backward to the question of journalistic integrity or even best-practice.

    None of this is to refute or subvert the larger question about whether or not the _Times_ (or the media in general) has a larger and more baleful agenda in the way it reports on gender issues, a phenomenon that has been the subject of many good posts and threads here.

  56. Indyanna on 10 Feb 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    p.s. edit: “above what amounted to about two column inches…”

  57. Historiann on 10 Feb 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    A friend of mine was recently quoted in a big story in a national magazine about his book, and he cringes at how his “conversational” language looks in print, and the shortcuts and lack of nuance that are clear to him but may not appear to be to readers. So, I get the reporter’s point of view. For me, though, the more troubling (and more important) part of the story is how these young women have been targeted for slut-shaming and blamed for ruining the reputation of UNC! As if. (Seems to me that a lot of all-male fraternities bear a lot more responsibility for that.)

  58. Comrade PhysioProf on 10 Feb 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    More disturbingly, they’re being attacked and blamed for the article, not the New York Times or the reporter who wrote the story[.]

    Oh, the NY Times halibut-slappers must be absofuckinglutely ecstatic!

  59. quixote on 10 Feb 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    If the article was talking about the opposite situation: women start out the majority, but get accepted to college in lower numbers, drop out in higher numbers, play too much Xbox, etc, etc, etc.

    What would the conclusion be?

    Omigod! Women just don’t have what it takes!

    …However, since luckily we’re talking about men, the conclusion is that they need help to achieve their rightful place.

    Patriarchy is the elevator music of the mind. Indeed.

  60. Indyanna on 10 Feb 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    True enough.

    The UNC may not have much of a reputation anymore with the Times. Hence today’s Sports Section sidebar: “On Wednesday night, however, when the vintage rivals meet in Chapel Hill, the No. 8 [Duke] Blue Devils versus the *unranked* [UNC] Tar Heels does not even present as the best game of the night. That would be No. 15 New Mexico visiting No. 23 U.N.L.V.” [emphasis supplied]. Ouch. I guess it’s over for us East Coast hegemons…

  61. Historiann on 10 Feb 2010 at 7:19 pm #

    quixote: exactly! Great points. And they, and not the men, would be responsible for their own slutty behavior. Somehow, that’s never the fault of the menz, but the menz sexual promiscuity is all because the wimmenz permit it. (Or they don’t put out enough/with the right guys/or something else.)

  62. Clarence on 11 Feb 2010 at 8:42 am #

    The reason the men -a minority of the men- get to act like a**holes is simple:

    The women are all chasing the same guys. Depending on how the original article is read, half (of that 40 percent 20 percent dateable )of the men on campus to as little as 1/5 of the men on campus are considered socially and physically attractive enough to date. These men have harems.

    And meanwhile, some lonely shy geek who wouldn’t treat these young ladies like dirt is totally overlooked. But I’m sure you all here are all ready to blame him for all the bitterness those ladies will experience as they find themselves used and tossed over and over and over again.

  63. Indyanna on 11 Feb 2010 at 9:00 am #

    Clarence, why would you be “sure” what people here would say, or “are ready” to say, instead of just proposing a point and seeing where it leads? Paul Goodman made a comparable point to yours (with less implied invective) in _Growing Up Absurd_ in the late 1950s; about young women in a bar throwing themselves at narcissistic Beatniks and being abused and despised therefor while (in Goodman’s view) perfectly good and honorable but more conventional men sat drinking in groups a few feet away. I don’t know where the analysis went with that, but by not being rhetorically “sure” in advance what the reaction would be, Goodman at least gave his point a chance not to be picked up and swept out of the conversation–as with antibodies operating on intruders in an immune system. I think that’s where the “mansplaining” threads hereabouts have been trending, anyway.

  64. Clarence on 11 Feb 2010 at 9:18 am #

    Indyanna:

    I’d love to be proven wrong, and I appreciate the reasonableness and patience of your comment.

    However the “tone” I’ve seen from most of this thread does not lead me to believe this will be the case. How DARE ANYONE suggest that maybe the young ladies involved are at least partly to blame for their own fate? Widen their pool of potential dates OR do as some h ere have suggested and focus more on academics -either of these things or a combination of both would largely solve this problem.

  65. Historiann on 11 Feb 2010 at 9:30 am #

    Clarence, I think you misunderstand the purpose of this blog, and of this blog post. This is not a “what about the poor menz!” blog. This is a feminist blog.

    The point of the post, since you seem to have missed it in the first place, was to question why college women are being represented in this way in premier media outlets like the NYT. We can’t possibly assess the individuals quoted in the story–and in fact, I don’t really care what their actual behavior is. But, you apparently do, and you have some strong opinions about the poor, overlooked menz. My advice is to start your own blog–don’t clutter mine up with irrelevant points and insult the commenters here. We’re a community of people who don’t take kindly to stray dogs pissing in the corners of our salon.

    (You might want to check out the rules for commenting here.)

  66. Clarence on 11 Feb 2010 at 10:05 am #

    I understand your blog policy and I understand your need for a safe space.

    My points are true, according to the young ladies themselves. They have , it must be said, perhaps deficient screening criteria for those in whom they choose to date.

    I must say however that when relatively modest dissent (if criticising a dating behaviour might be called a “dissent” against feminism.) is frowned upon or if any dissension from the approved male-bashing (those poor women! They just have to let the men they are attracted to abuse them due to patriarchy and stuff)is expressed it makes you feel you’ve been all mentally assaulted by misognynistic evil and all then this isn’t the blog for me. I take my leave. I wish the women on that campus well and better success dating better men in the future.

    Now go ahead and ban me since this relatively modest dissent is just too much for your (I’m sure) “enlightened” sensibilities.

  67. Indyanna on 11 Feb 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Clarence,

    Historiann can explain, defend, and enforce her own rules on her own blog without any help from me. I’ll just say that I don’t think a less aggressive, or presumptive, expression of the points you seemingly wanted to make would *necessarily* have been perceived as a “what about teh menz” stance. The best advice when first entering a living room, a salon, or space of any kind, it seems to me, is to acknowledge positively the parties you find there, not to make evaluative or predictive judgments about the points you think you heard while coming down the hall or up the steps.

  68. Historiann on 11 Feb 2010 at 11:05 am #

    Clarence–buh-bye! “Male bashing” is not what’s happening here–not even Clarence bashing! You choose to ignore the fact that the quoted women have complained about their representation in the story and decide without any facts that your “points are true.” Clearly, we can’t help you.

  69. Comrade PhysioProf on 11 Feb 2010 at 11:15 am #

    I must say however that when relatively modest dissent (if criticising a dating behaviour might be called a “dissent” against feminism.) is frowned upon or if any dissension from the approved male-bashing (those poor women! They just have to let the men they are attracted to abuse them due to patriarchy and stuff)is expressed it makes you feel you’ve been all mentally assaulted by misognynistic evil and all then this isn’t the blog for me.

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!

  70. Historiann on 11 Feb 2010 at 11:22 am #

    You’re being too polite, CPP. I think the only response to that is “no $hit.” Oh, yeah–let’s not forget “tool alert!”

  71. John S. on 11 Feb 2010 at 11:40 am #

    Wow–I am naive. I check my blogroll in the early morning, go off to give a lecture, then return after getting coffee. Who knew that things could escalate from “what about the doodz” mansplaining to a rude commenter withdrawing his wisdom from this community while I explaining about the “godless” Constitution to my undergrads? I thought I was familiar with the fragility of male egos before, but I must say that this proceeded at a warp-speed I could not have imagined. Wow. I feel almost obliged to note that the person so concerned about the plight about the poor nice menz who get ignored by the ladies is also the one so quick to withdraw his company when commenters here “attack” his dissent. But that might be a cheap shot.

  72. Fratguy on 11 Feb 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    Clarence, the post was about the article discussing why undergraduate women have trouble getting laid, not why YOU have trouble getting laid, though those reasons should be apparent by now. Yeah, I know, unnecessary roughness called on the defense, late hit after the play was called dead, 15 yard penalty and repeat the down.

  73. thefrogprincess on 11 Feb 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    John S., if you want another crash course in the fragility of male egos, look no further than the John Mayer brouhaha that exploded yesterday. Yikes. I’d tell you to read the entire interview but that’s about 10 minutes spent wading through insecurity breeding deep misogyny, racism, and homophobia that you just won’t get back. This bs is all around, friends. Tread carefully.

  74. Historiann on 11 Feb 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    Let me guess: he’s going to apologize if he offended anyone with his comments. Not for the comments themselves, of course.

    Tools abound today!

  75. thefrogprincess on 11 Feb 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    Even worse, he’s sorry he thought he could use the n-word in an attempt to make some intellectual comments about “being black”. Predictably enough, though, the focus has been on his racist remarks, not on the latent misogyny and homophobia running through the whole thing. So he doesn’t have to apologize for how he thinks about women.

    Prof Susurro has two great posts about this at her blog, Like a Whisper.

  76. quixote on 11 Feb 2010 at 9:13 pm #

    Fratguy: with a name like Fratguy I was prejudiced from the start . . . but by the end of the first sentence I was laughing out loud.

    Bullseye.

    The second sentence was pretty funny too…although I’m not at all sure about the “unnecessary” part.

  77. Helen Huntingdon on 13 Feb 2010 at 5:13 am #

    And meanwhile, some lonely shy geek who wouldn’t treat these young ladies like dirt is totally overlooked.

    *snicker* Clarence is repeating a common fantasy spread by some men who identify as “lonely shy geek”s, but the thing us, the men who do thus self-identify do in fact treat women like dirt. Clarence even nicely outlined the logic of how they go about it — women who are not doing what the Clarences want deserve to be treated like dirt, in his view. So if a particular woman stops “overlooking” a particular Clarence and dates him, his not treating her like dirt only lasts as long as she continues to do what he decides she is supposed to. Once she deviates from that, the treating like dirt starts.

  78. Standards, stress, and sneetches: how can poor kids win? : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present on 03 Jan 2011 at 10:26 am #

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    [...] I think it’s time to provide a link to one of my all-time favorites from this blog:  All the Single Ladies. [...]

  80. Z on 05 Apr 2013 at 8:39 pm #

    “Patriarchy is the insidious elevator music in the soundtrack of your lives.”

    Great sentence.