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Thirst Trap

Do you hate astrology or are you just sexist?

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Thirst Trap

Editor’s Note: Thirst Trap is a weekly column on dating and relationships in college.

We’ve all met one. Her most-used app is Co–Star, and she’s always excusing her actions with a quick, “I’m a Leo.” She dabbles in tarot, hoards healing crystals, and never passes on an opportunity to get her palms read. She is an Astrology Girl and we all f---ing hate her. 

But why? 

I have a theory. 

This is something I think about a lot. Astrology is a big part of dating. Some dating apps literally ask for your sign, and it's one of the flirty questions people often use to break the ice with a new flame. 

Astrology is harmless. Most people who enjoy analyzing birth charts and making memes related to the zodiac are just having fun. No one is losing opportunities when it leaks that they are, in fact, a Gemini. Some people complain about the fact that your date of birth has no significance in your behavioral attributes, but by and large, the people complaining are men. 

The “astrology” part of Astrology Girls does not appear to be the issue — and you know what that leaves. 

Sexism kills astrology. 

First and foremost, astrology is largely marketed to women. Think of where you see horoscopes — in magazines like Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Teen Vogue. Women account for the vast majority of the readership of these magazines. In fact, for every one man who flips through the latest edition of Cosmo, six women will also pick up the magazine.

Now, think of how we view things that are liked by or marketed toward girls. Makeup is vain, deceitful, and lame; candles are frivolous and lame; boy bands are lame; astrology is lame.

Anything and everything a girl takes interest in is lame. The stereotypical boy will invest his time and money into fantasy football and can tell you what car just passed outside merely by the sound of its unique ‘vroom, vroom.’ Male interests are cool, but please don’t get your hopes up, ladies — girls interested in sports or cars are posers who just want to impress guys. 

Men are also quick to label astrology as pseudoscience. And yeah, they are probably right, but think about a predominantly male interest that uses predictions to guide major decisions, similar to horoscopes: economics. Men accounted for 65% of all economics majors in 2015. While this comparison is not perfect, it is not entirely poorly drawn. The market so often does not follow the mathematical models that serve as the foundation for the principles of economics. Look to the 2008 recession as evidence of the instability of the predictions of this financial astrology. 

And yet, we hail economics as the most scientific of the social sciences, as STEM-adjacent (as though STEM is the only baseline of legitimacy). Economics is offered as an entire major. Maybe this is “logical,” or maybe it's just a small manifestation of institutionalized sexism. 

There’s also the problem of how historically, women are viewed as batshit crazy. Think Salem Witch trials; think being exiled to dirt holes during menstruation; think, we don’t trust women’s brains so we literally chose to elect a reality TV star to run our country. Astrology is crazy. The belief in astrology is crazy. Women’s belief in astrology is crazy. Thus, women are crazy. 

I brought up these points with a male friend, and while he agreed with me to an extent, he pointed a finger of blame to another expression of sexism: toxic masculinity. He asked me what traits are commonly assigned to the respective signs. 

I replied that Aries is ambitious, dynamic, and passionate. Cancer is protective, intuitive, and sentimental. We went on listing traits until he revealed that none of the signs aligned with Western society’s view of the ideal male. Aries is ambitious, but men are supposed to be more stoic than passionate. Cancer is protective, but men are not supposed to sentimental. 

There is a clear dissonance between the expectations of toxic masculinity and the zodiac. It could certainly be difficult to identify with something that so directly opposes the traditional standard of masculinity. The hatred toward astrology is not simply a demonstration of society’s hatred toward women, but also a reflection of society’s narrow perception of what it means to be a man. 

I know, this sounds crazy, especially coming from a woman, but I think we can use astrology to help eliminate sexism from our dating pools. 

I like to ask a guy his sign, test the waters, and see how he reacts. Honestly, I do not have time to deal with someone who has dramatic reactions to the mention of a harmless, “girlish” thing that interests me. Not because I highly value horoscopes or crystal balls or the occult, but because respect for my interests, even when you don’t see the value in them, is important to me. 

I have faked interest in cars and football and the brand Vineyard Vines too many times not to be granted the same decency for astrology and pumpkin spice lattes. 

So, for the love of all the stars in the sky, be an Astrology Girl. Ask for his time of birth. Excuse your behavior with your sign. Read your horoscope and read it out loud.

Reach columnist Hannah Krieg at wellness@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @Hannah_krieg

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(4) comments

rhyannon

Hey Hannah, thanks for a great article. I've been thinking a lot lately about how society arbitrarily genders random things like tastes, as if a PSL or any other unique combination of sweetness and spice could be girly, and then shames those harmless interests so men refuse to try them and some women reject them out of internalized misogyny. Women and the things they find fun or comforting certainly aren't crazy. What's crazy is the gender assignment every little thing on the planet is given and people's fear based reactions to those things. I hadn't thought specifically about astrology through this lens before. This is a really interesting insight.

dawggydawg

This article deserves to be in the Olympics for how far it jumps to conclusions. Thinking astrology is silly or pseudoscience is not sexist in the same way not caring about fantasy football is not sexist. Women are entitled to feel comfortable discussing astrology, but men on those dates are also entitled to not seeking a second date because someone asked what time I was born on the first date. I would not blame a girl for leaving a date because her date rambled about fantasy football while she was clearly not interested.

iBitAnApple

I appreciate the amount of thought you put into this article. I don't disagree with the majority of this article. The only sentiment I have an issue with is the claim of "sexism" for those who don't appreciate astrology. If you do not appreciate fantasy football or economics, that doesn't make you sexist towards the majority of men (Being gay, I'm one of those men who doesn't typically appreciate partners for their interest in those things either.) It's instead a personal preference of interests. Not sexism. I don't expect anyone to fake interest in my hobbies, nor am I sexist for judging someone else's. If it were on the grounds of gender, I would agree, but the issue with astrology isn't gender. In my experience, it's people judging people's characteristics before getting to know them. People trying to butt heads with me because I'm a taurus, when in reality I am nothing like a taurus. Going on dates with men and them leaving halfway through because our star signs aren't compatible. That's the issue with astrology. Again thank for your thoughts about the issue, I wanted to share my thoughts too.

JulieTiger

I take issue with your idea that astrology is harmless, and I'm a woman.

There are plenty of excellent reasons to hold beliefs; tradition, religiosity, cultural practice, sacred teachings.. etc.. but westernized (media-fueled) propaganda like astrology/crystal healing does have the potential for harm when it replaces (for example) expert medical advice.

Millions of people throw their hard-earned money away on similar "silly" things like gambling, homeopathic cure-all's, psychics, and yes.. astrology dating sites.

The harm isn't caused by the playfulness you describe; it's found instead in the predatory nature of many of these products and services involving pseudo-scientific answers. We (women) can and do track that harm, and it's real.

Astrology in a bubble seems innocent enough, but entrenched in capitalism, it's plenty problematic.

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