For the past three weeks, students in my UNV390 class have been working on their Popular Culture Critique assignment, in which they analyze two pop culture artifacts (songs, movies, TV shows, books) for anti-single or pro-single messages. But, they turned them in this past week, and now it’s back to discussion.
They read Chapters 5 and 6 of Happy Singlehood and wrote out responses on our class’ Discussion Board and we got some nice responses.
A number of students commented on the idea of self-marriage as relates to postmaterialism, discussed at length at the beginning of Chapter 5. A couple of students thought about it as a possibility, and others described it as “just plain weird.” I have mixed feelings about it myself. I feel that it just perpetuates a tradition and gives more weight to matrimaniacs. That’s just me, though; I told them, “If you want to do it, go for it!”
A number of students brought up “Work and the Unmarried.” A lot of my students are type-A, work-oriented folks (like me), so they have big plans with respect to their career. A number of students in the class brought up the intersectional dynamic at play, as nowadays, women have greater options to make a living. They can have careers and own businesses instead of depending on a man. Some took note that many singles derive a lot of their happiness from their careers. I definitely fit this mold (although I do like to have fun). I actually sacrificed a relationship (one that I wasn’t that into) to move across the country to start an academic career, and “I regret nothing” is what I told my students. And I don’t. When I was in high school and college, a number of my friends wanted to make money. I wanted to do something involving being creative, and I am. Most of them followed the escalator-style path (marriage, kids, yada yada…). And it’s true; when you have a family to support, you might be more motivated by money. Supporting yourself isn’t easy either, but you can do it and have a line of work that’s more motivated by the spirit of giving than the spirit of the wallet.
Mary, one of my students, has a very strong capacity for critical thinking. She did posit the idea that singles put extra pressure on themselves in the workplace, and others may reciprocate that. I did question that, as is my job as instructor. She also said feeling limited depends on the partner you choose, and that the right partner can actually help foster a sense of independence in a person. I conceded that point, but then I questioned as to why so many people get into toxic relationships.
I do miss the face-to-face dynamic we had pre-Rona, but it was nice to be able to have written records of student contributions instead of going through recordings. That being said, I look forward to the day we can have face-to-face classes again.
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My name is Craig. I'm an educator, writer, and unapologetic singleton. When not reading, writing, or teaching, I enjoy hiking, running, watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with friends, and playing with my cat/son, Chester.