Emotional community or bundle of emotions?
Emotional community or bundle of emotions? High-running feelings in Singles magazine, 1977-1982,
Zoe Strimpel (University of Sussex)
Demographic and social shifts, including soaring divorce rates following the 1969 Divorce Reform Act, meant a spike in the numbers of young and middle-aged singles in Britain after 1970. These singles not only used dating services, such as lonely hearts ads and agencies, in greater numbers than before; they also began to develop a new vocabulary for discussing their state. Singles Magazine, launched in 1977, offered itself as a platform for singles to air grievances, offer their experience and perspectives, and also to encounter each other in the personals at the back. This talk focusses on the extraordinarily expressive letters pages of Singles between 1977 and 1983, highlighting the complex interactions the solos had with the world around them, each other, and themselves. Despite sharing key common ground, the magazine's readers increasingly defined themselves and the world around them through negative self-definitions. The range of emotions they shared included anger, disappointment and frustration, and these were expressed both through and in opposition to new languages of activism, rights, equality, and of course, coupledom. The result was a distinct emotional community defined by antagonism, especially towards the opposite sex, and allows us to think about what it means to make an emotional community based on atomisation rather than cohesion, as well as shedding light on the experience of being partnerless at a key moment of sexual change.
Zoe Strimpel is a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Sussex, exploring the history of mediated dating platforms since the 1970s. She has been a journalist since 2004, writing a range of features for The Times, the FT, Time Out and more. Writing a weekly dating column in thelondonpaper and her subsequent two non-fiction, trade paperback books convinced her that dating is a uniquely fascinating and revealing social form.
She continues to write for newspapers and other media outlets and has been a commentator on a number of platforms, including Radio 4, Channel Five News and Channel Five Documentaries as well as in various magazine and newspaper articles.
Venue: Arts Two, Room 2.17. Get directions and a campus map here.
Doors open at 6pm and the talk will start at 6.30.
Zoe's talk will be followed by a start-of-term drinks reception in the Arts Two Foyer at 7.30. Please do join us for a drink to to celebrate the start of term and welcome our new students.