It doesn’t take a statistician to notice that belief in astrology, or the study of celestial objects and their impact on human life, is rising in popularity.
Evidence suggests that when societies are undergoing existential threats or stress, like pandemics, natural disasters, or conflict, they are more likely to turn to scientifically unfounded belief systems. Given the state of the world, this probably isn’t surprising.
This concept is corroborated by Dr Victor Grech, whose studies uncovered a surge of interest towards astrology in the wake of the 2016 American election. Additionally, the rise of astrological predilection is, perhaps as expected, highest amongst women.
As I am just like the other girls, I have a casual interest in astrology. But I have a much greater interest in asking men about astrology. What is even better than that, for me anyway, is going on a date and correctly ‘guessing’ their star sign. Little do they know, it is already listed on their Hinge profile. I have an Aries Venus and a Taurus Mercury, if that explains anything.
Whatever you believe, I don’t ask men their zodiac sign as a means of examining basic compatibility. It isn’t that I am searching for a common interest, nor do I use it as a way to mildly aggravate, however tempting that may be. It is definitely a method of finding out more about my date, but the outcome is not solely based on their reported sign.
I find it to be a useful tool in gauging potential worst qualities.
If interrogations result in a disdainful response, let alone a lecture, I can reasonably rule them out as a love match, or even a casual lover. I’m not searching for someone who is also interested in astrology. However, I am looking for someone who is relaxed enough to indulge all sorts of questions, and open-minded enough not to be immediately judgemental.
It also cannot be left unsaid – the primary reason I ask men about their star sign is to decipher if they are a misogynist or not.
Astrology has been, and remains, an interest that is predominantly enjoyed by women. Often, it is a safe and empowering space for us. It allows individuals to dig deep into areas of their life they may need to work on, work out. Through this, many women use their signs to find their own power. Writing off an interest in astrology as an irrational belief in the paranormal, immediately excludes the aspect of self-development sought after amongst committed believers.
While I couldn’t describe myself like that, it fills a practical function. It is dangerous being a young woman going on dates, even with people I already know. Unfortunately, many women like myself also must rely on surreptitious methods of vetting potential romantic partners.
When I polled women aged between 16 and 25 via Instagram, almost all respondents expressed that they also had negative experiences with men, after discussing astrology.
This isn’t breaking news, with respondents to previous surveys echoing the stories supplied through my Instagram study. In a 2018 Vice article, a male respondent stated that “If you bring that shit up with me, I’ll think you’re a mindless bimbo.” Delightful.
Another 2018 study by I. Andersson, entitled Even the Stars Think That I Am Superior: Personality, Intelligence and Belief in Astrology proposes a link between belief and psyche. Findings divulged a negative correlation between belief in astrology and intelligence, and positively correlated narcissism with belief in astrology [in men]. For me, what is attractive isn’t about disbelief or belief, but rather about acceptance of one another’s beliefs, so long as they are not harmful.
My ideal date isn’t necessarily someone who has even a casual interest in astrology. In fact, I think it is someone relatively apathetic about it, but lets me enjoy my silly little stars while they enjoy their silly little sports. Or whatever it is that they like, that I myself take no interest in.
On the lighter side, in the youth hostel I stayed in while writing this, I quizzed some of my male roommates on their thoughts. Was it a red flag for them, if women ask about their star sign? My Canadian, American and Australian hostel mates all had the same response. Basically, “If you had asked me five years ago, I would have thought you were intellectually inferior, and even lectured you about it, but now I just answer and wait for the analysis”.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to ask the men in the room next door to us, who catcalled us on the way back from the showers, what they might have thought about it all. Something tells me I don’t need their star sign to work out if I want to date them or not.
Originally published in Woroni Vol. 72 Issue 4 ‘Alien’
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