But then today, this seems to have flipped because you found that there are more diverse relationships now, except when it comes to economic mobility. MOIRA WEIGEL: I think it’s a tricky issue for anyone who’s both a feminist and committed to equality, because what happened is that women started to be able to be doctors as well as nurses.
Download this podcast NICOLE TORRES: Welcome to the HBR Idea Cast from Harvard Business Review. Today, I’m talking to Moira Weigel, a Ph D candidate in comparative literature at Yale who just published a fascinating book called Labor of Love. NICOLE TORRES: So one of the first things I noticed when I got your book was the jacket, which says that after years of first-person research on dating, you are now off the market. So something was very lucky, because a lot of odds were stacked against our reconnecting, I think. So in your research, you found that meeting people at school and at work and, you know, dating colleagues and dating classmates, that’s all pretty common, right? MOIRA WEIGEL: It’s certainly true that from the very beginning of when people start to date or to go out, lots of people meet through work.You know, it’s not that one person had an idea and invented it, but groups of people did start doing it all around the same time, which was in the 1890s.Before that, although it varied from time to time and place to place, for the most part young people meet in family-supervised situations or in community-supervised situations.It’s very much these first women, often driven by poverty and necessity, who are going out and going mingling and mixing freely, often thought to be prostitutes, looked down upon by authorities and social workers.It gets mainstreamed around the time of World War I.And so that changes the culture of courtship enormously.
NICOLE TORRES: Right, and then those young people start to enter the workforce.I mean a public woman, in 19th century slang, is famously a prostitute.There was no other context for a woman to be out and free to meet who she wanted to.MOIRA WEIGEL: Well, the subtitle of my book is The Invention of Dating.And I do think it’s a practice with a pretty clear starting point. We took a very early morning freshman German class together.