Readings: Leslie Bell, “Selections from Hard to Get” 24–41.
(Start from page 62 of this PDF file)
It’s easy come away from reading this selection from Hard to Get with the impression that Leslie Bell is simply describing stereotyped identities for women in U.S. culture (e.g., “good girl” and “bad girl” strategies, or the three “strategies of desire”). When you look closer, however, you see that Bell is interested in how women in her target demographic are managing to meet diverse and seemingly conflicting goals as they live their lives. Using close-reading techniques and drawing evidence from key points in both texts, write an essay that answers the question in bold. How can striking a balance between living independently and acknowledging the value of interdependent relationships help young women find more “expansive” (29) options for creating meaningful lifestyles?
The following questions may help you imagine different approaches to the main prompt in bold. They are intended only to support you in developing your argument. Please don’t try to answer them all in your paper. If they aren’t helping you think, ignore them.
What goals discussed by Bell seem most important to you. Why?
What is autonomy (give some examples) in the context Bell presents? Why is autonomy important for Bell’s argument?
What is interdependence (give some examples) in the context Bell presents? How does interdependence become important for Bell’s thesis? How does interdependence differ from dependence?
Why does Bell discuss the mothers and grandmothers of the generation she is focusing on?
What are examples of “limited” and “expansive” options (29)?
Although a lot of the phenomena that Bell writes about seem to fall into two opposing categories, the strongest parts of her argument rely on seeing more than two options for creating a lifestyle.