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Archives for December, 2011

Love & Affection

Skimpy Attire But Strong Messages: Single Women in Popular Media in Past Decades

In my last post, I began to discuss Katherine J. Lehman’s book, Those Girls: Single Women in Sixties and Seventies Popular Culture. Lehman draws on scholarship and popular writings, as do many media critics. She goes a big step further, though, and tracks down original scripts and proposals, and discovers how they were often trimmed and tamed by industry censorship and by societal concerns about how single women should...
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Love & Affection

Before “Mad Men”: Single Women Take 1960s and 1970s Television by Storm

I spent way too much time during my first weeks of college feeling intimidated and scared. I grew up in the small town of Dunmore, Pennsylvania (near Scranton) and went to the very public Dunmore High School. Then there I was, in 1971, at Vassar College. At my high school, when someone said a word with more than three syllables, it was intended as a joke. Those first few weeks of college,...
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Love & Affection

Why Aren’t Married People Any Happier Than Singles? A Nobel-Prize Winner’s Answer

“We draw pleasure and pain from what is happening at the moment, if we attend to it.” So says Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman in his recent book, Thinking, Fast and Slow.

Some of the research described in Thinking, Fast and Slow is based on a “Day Reconstruction Method,” in which people relive the experiences of the previous day, and answer questions about their activities during that day. They...
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Marriage

Is Marriage Less Appealing to Singles Who Have Already Tried It?

I was out of the country when the Pew Research Center released the latest report showing that the percentage of Americans who are married is now at a record low. I’ve just now had a chance to read the entire report.

The statistics on the decline of marriage are dramatic, and I’ll get to those later. What I found most interesting, though, did not appear until the very last paragraph...
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Marriage

Are the Lives of Married Soldiers Worth $250,000 More Than Those of Single Soldiers?

One of the welcome aspects of the holiday season is that the people who most deserve recognition and thanks sometimes actually get it. The people who serve in the military make sacrifices that other citizens do not. They earn respect for that, even from those who may not support any or all combat missions.

The part that strikes me as deeply unfair is when the lives of particular soldiers are valued much more than those...
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matrimania

A Year for Especially Meaningful Gifts

When I was a kid, I used to love getting Christmas presents. Birthday gifts, too. Now as an adult, I love giving them – when I can think of something that seems like just the right thing for the person I have in mind.

There is a particular present that I have often wanted to give but always hesitated to do so because I wasn’t sure what the recipient would think. That’s the gift of...
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Marriage

Is It Harder to be Single at Heart or Single and Wishing to be Coupled?

I like to write about people who are single at heart – people who love their single lives and who feel that single is who they really are. I recognize, though, that there are plenty of single people who really do want to be coupled. I write less about them because they already get lots of attention. In fact, the prevailing myth is that, deep down inside, all singles...
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Love & Affection

“Mean Girls” Are Meaner to Their Boyfriends Than to Their Friends

Who is mean to other people? What kinds of people get treated most cruelly? “Mean Girls” is not just a part of our popular culture -- it is a topic that professional psychologists actually study.

When researchers first started studying aggression, they mostly studied physical aggression. More recently, they have recognized how mean people can be to one another without ever lifting a finger. “Relational aggression” is the term psychologists use to refer...
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Love & Affection

Authentically Single: Guest Post by Danae Matthews

[Bella’s intro: Impression management is part of all of our lives. We change who we are with certain people, often in the hopes that they will like us more.  Sometimes we just edit our self-presentations; other times we lie. We can act like chameleons with anyone but the temptation may be especially great with potential romantic partners. In our research on lying, for example, my colleagues and I found that people...
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