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Weigel writes about how a false division between public and private at the time of industrialization devalued the work that women were expected to do: “The idea arose that work was what someone else paid you money to do. Women came to believe that raising children and taking care of a husband were instinctual, as if “it was simply in their natures to do anything for love.” interrogates these beliefs and “instincts.” Emotions, the book argues, are as socially determined as they are personal, as “[t]he possibilities of how we feel arise from those we feel among.” Weigel’s book is more than a history of dating; it is a history of feelings.¤ In a 2015 essay for Jezebel, Colette Shade wrote about the strange proliferation of the hip-hop slang word “hustle” in twee, feminine products on Etsy.As Shade writes, in the 2008 recession “scant resources, stagnant wages and structural unemployment spread to people who had never before experienced it.In the new economy, everyone became a hustler.” These Etsy products, presumably made by women who are themselves hustling, “exist to soothe workers — specifically, female workers — into accepting this new reality as cute, fun, and, most of all, a self-empowering personal choice.” The rise of emotional labor came in the wake of the greatest economic recession the United States had ever seen, in the 1890s, creating a class of workers who were doing more work than could even be accounted for, much less compensated.For the first time, single men and women could meet unsupervised, supporting the United States’s growing consumer sector by participating in leisure activities together.“Shopgirls,” department store clerks whose primary skills were good looks, poise, and charm, used the same techniques to get a date as they did to make a sale.Men are relatively terrible at social media because it rewards attributes that have been socialized in women: to be cute, to be friendly, to be enthusiastic, to be diplomatic, to show interest in things and people they have no interest in, to be always available.
“[The Real Housewife] is a heroine for an age that believes in getting rich by turning your feelings into assets.” If dating and marriage are work for women, in today’s economy they have found many ways to monetize them.
, Moira Weigel traces the beginnings of American dating to the turn of the 20th century, when a new class of young, single women entered the workforce.
These women were the servants, factory workers, and saleswomen in the United States’s industrializing cities.
They thus provided a service that men, in turn, paid for.
Women’s love lives became work in a way that was, from the beginning, ambiguous.