Simmel talks about flirtation being the “the kind of sociability that epitomizes the duality between conformity and differentiation…” and that it “alternates between consent and denial”(294). He calls it a kind of play that ends once consent is given or denied. He calls it the lightest and most playful type of interaction and makes it seem like women are very much in charge of the game. Although the man’s attitude has a lot to do with where the game goes and all, depending on if he’s interested or not. My point here is, that Simmel makes flirting seem like a pleasant and innocent interaction of sorts. However, if we take into account Gilman’s ideas, flirtation may not be so innocent. According to Gilman, women were at a young age taught that they have to lure in the best possible husband and that there are a few techniques for that. There is obviously looking as fabulous as possible, but flirtation can indeed be a powerful weapon towards luring that special (rich) prince charming. When looked at it from Gilman’s perspective, flirtation is a rational tool used to acquire something in the end. That something is the rich man, who will become a woman’s husband and with him comes all his wealth and protection and security for the rest of your life. Even today, when flirtation is in session, it is almost never innocent or playful. There is always a goal at the end of this interaction (from women AND men).This idea contrasts sharply with Gimmel’s innocent perspective of flirtation. So, gentlemen, next time you engage in some “innocent flirtation”…BEWARE.
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