Obviously very little that I tweeted above is surprising once some history of marriage is known; the concept of women as property and the denial of marriage to Black people for a long time, and interracial couples for even longer reveals how capitalism and the State impacts romantic relationships. The current fight for marriage equality reveals this as well.
Even in dating, where there is no legal binding nor as much State interference as there is in marriage (since that State interference is about conferring heteronormativity and power via White supremacy and cisheteropatriarchy; hence why cishet Black couples who are married are still regularly degraded, even while they have privilege), the language and politics itself can get rather creepy, in my opinion. As someone with enough corporate America wounds and baggage to fill the back of a Mack truck, I know the eerie overlap between workplace language and dating language gives me the creeps. And then when those $200 date conversations start on Twitter, I run away faster than Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the 100m. (And I am not saying I am absolved; I too have used this language before because we are socialized to do so and not question it.)
The notion of the “market” definitely has intersectional implications as beauty politics—whether colourism, fatphobia, misogynoir etc.—is shaping it or dating websites are releasing “studies” on it. So instead of people reading dating site studies that attempt to “prove” that Black women, for example, are unwanted, they might want interrogate how White supremacy, capitalism, Eurocentric beauty standards, colourism, misogynoir and anti-Blackness impacts conceptions of worth, especially in the cishet Black male gaze for Black women. And even how “worth” is articulated in a lot of dating writing and rhetoric remains capitalistic.
I especially think that Black people have to interrogate how we discuss some of this considering the history (and present) of dehumanization of our bodies and sexuality.
And the date example is just an example. Obviously every person doesn’t want to date (hi…) or has the mobility/health to do that example that I mentioned. It only came about as people were talking about helicopter rides and expensive steaks and other BS that is just ridiculous to be required for a date to be considered worthwhile. Honestly, it’s still capitalism. The shame associated with poverty is so high that poor men will lie about gold diggers and prenups and poor women will require things that neither they nor the men they have access to can afford. Capitalism is inescapable in a lot heterosexual dating (and I’ve seen it in LGBTQIA conversations on dating as well) rhetoric until people are willing to interrogate why it is there in the first place.
To be clear, I am speaking of dating, not sex work. These are not the same things nor have the same language or expectations. I just wonder what dating conversations (that I usually avoid anyway) would be like without them sounding like 2 hour corporate meetings that I was trapped in for many years in the past, that’s all.