Majoring in Romance: So Why Is It Called A Bachelor’s Degree?
I just finished reading a book titled “Educated in Romance: Women, Achievement, and College Culture,” by Dorothy Holland and Margaret Eisenhart, which entertains the question of whether college women are distracted with romance to such an extreme that it adversely affects their educational attainment. The research for this book was done on 23 women in the late 70s and it focused on two very different colleges with two different female demographics. Nonetheless, when I read it my mind started racing. Could this still be the case today?
Now, I have an advantage on many of you because I have seen the movie “Splendor in the Grass” which gives an adequate depiction of this phenomenon in the character portrayed by Natalie Wood (albeit from the reality of high school). I have also read a follow up article (by Shannon Gilmartin) that challenges/advances some of the research through a more contemporary analysis predicated on interviews of 14 women on a college campus in the year 2005. But, that aside, what is your take on this intriguing question? Do you think that our society has somehow instilled the notion that finding a husband while your attending college is as much a priority, if not more, than achieving the college degree? Do you think the priority/pressure to meet a life mate differs depending on the academic potential of the female student, or is that also inconsequential once the love interest is discovered (upon discovery obtaining the degree becomes less significant)?
Even considering the presence of women studies on college campuses all over the country, I would imagine that most of you would agree that a dysfunctional preoccupation with romance is still the case for some women. Assuming it is sometimes the case; do you have anecdotal evidence of this, or reasons why women’s career aspirations are sometimes restructured once their heartstrings are tugged? What might be some of the reasons it appears as if this wasn’t and still is not the case for as many men? Lastly, how different do you think the consequences would be for women in the survey if they found romance with another woman, as opposed to a heterosexual romance? Do you think it would be quite different if men were looked at outside of the domain of heterosexuality (if gay men’s relationships were considered)?