Dating Throughout Time

Our video will highlight the fundamental similarities between dating in earlier times and dating now. We will argue that while we now have numerous digital platforms to use to create and maintain relationships, the motives and results of dating remain the same. With the arrival of a technological innovation comes widespread fear throughout society, a fear of the uncanny.  And while in many cases this fear is replaced with a dangerous complacency, in the arena of dating the fear seems to persist atop societal expectations that have hardened throughout time.  Many do not think twice or even care about issues like constant surveillance yet when it comes to dating they see certain technologically-enabled “short cuts” as cheap or insincere.  But it remains that, despite the increasing complexity (or increasing visibility or the complexity) of the dating world, the end product has not changed much from the days of chivalry.

We will be using the song video format.  This format will allow us to juxtapose dating then and dating now, united under a common theme represented in Taylor Swift’s “Style.”  The song is about timeless love, essentially, which fits nicely in line with our emphasis on the unchanging value of romance to humans despite alternate routes to dating, etc., that are available nowadays.  The lyrics speak directly to a lover, pining, “You got that James Dean day dream look in your eye,” which calls back to the days of old, a simpler time, but Swift goes on to decide: “And when we go crashing down, we come back every time, ‘cause we never go out of style.”  Indeed, love is as incessant as popular music, even if the lightly-distorted guitars of the rock and roll of Dean’s day have been replaced by synth bass and electronic kicks and snares.

The video will expand upon the discourse surrounding several themes in the course: networked publics, online identity, and the fear of the uncanny.  As is natural with the theme of love and falling in love, as well as under the influence of our song choice, our video will skew toward youth.  As Danah Boyd notes in “Why Youth Heart Social Network Sites:The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage SocialLife,” the mediation of a public is heavily influential in the growth of sons and lovers. “With an elevated and idealized view of privacy, we often forget the reasons that enslaved peoples desperately wished for access to public life” (137).  The issues of the effects of a privatized romantic environment are hotly debated, surely, though we will be opposing Boyd in taking the stance that these effects are not necessarily detrimental to the goals of the participators.

Here is a commercial for Tinder Plus.  It shows many elements of still-idealized romance available under the guise of technology:


One comment on “Dating Throughout Time

  1. The point you’re making about the “uncanniness” of digital courtship is a good one, and clearly something that the Tinder ad you included here is working to overcome/dispute. I also think you could have a lot of fun with the visual connections you’re going to draw on to make this point (e.g. is spotting someone across a crowded room really that different than swiping left or right?). Beyond making a point about the similarities between analog and digital dating rituals, it seems like when you’re drawing on Boyd you’re going a step beyond this comparison to overtly argue that the notion of “private romance” (if that was ever even a reality) also has limitations. So in addition to considering the “timeless” nature of this (in line with the song’s lyrics), I also think the song’s length and pacing gives you the space to also visualize what might be gained from this more visible or public or networked approach to romance.


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