Friday February 19, 2010
Relationship advice: the good, the bad, and the ugly
By Kelsey Gray
Roses are red violets are blue. Oh please, Cosmo, tell me what to do. Because he loves me, he love me not, help me know what to do so I don’t get caught!
Thousands of women look to love advice sections in magazines like Cosmopolitan to tell them how to attract that perfect man. They explain how to be the “perfect girlfriend” or how to “read his mind,” but are their advice columns worth your while?
Becki Bowman, assistant professor of communication, says no.
“Those advice articles don’t take into account gender spectrums,” Bowman said. “You should know if your significant other is more feminine or masculine, and approach them through those terms.”
The gender spectrum that Bowman refers too is explained in a textbook by Julia T. Woods. In Gendered Lives Woods explains that masculinity and femininity can range from person to person. Not all men are masculine, and not all women are feminine.
When you recognize these traits in your partner, you will be able to please them based on how they fall on the spectrum.
“A more feminine man would probably prefer to hear how much you care for them whereas a more masculine man would probably prefer to be shown with affection or gifts,” Bowman said.
Another downfall to these columns and self -help books is that some of the authors don’t have any background or education in communication or gender studies.
For example, John Gray, author of the best selling book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus has a Ph.D. in psychology and human sexuality. His books, though, are about the gender and relationship communication differences between men and women.
This is true also for many of the Ph.D.s referenced in magazines like Cosmo. They do not have backgrounds in relationship or gender studies; usually their degrees are psychology degrees with no noted emphasis.
While sales of Cosmo continue, women on McPherson’s campus seem to have the right perspective on the advice they read.
Of the women surveyed 62 percent said yes, they read Cosmo or something similar. But, only 28 percent believe the advice works. Only 12 percent of the women actually implement the advice into their relationship.
Next time while reading a love advice article do as Kelli Pfau Johnson, personal counselor, says. “Sure, go ahead and read them for fun. Just don’t try to use the advice in your real relationships.”