Managing Relatability: Feeling Rules and the Practice of Moderation
This chapter explores the feeling rules that regulate the parameters of relatability. In this public, young women must demonstrate an overall upbeat, funny and humorous disposition demonstrating their ability to manage life, but not one that appears ‘too perfect’. Relatability is achieved through an affective balancing act that shows the moderation of feeling, a moderation that ultimately promises the ability to manage the regulatory requirements of youthful femininity. As such, there is a focus on the everyday failures and disappointments of being a young woman, albeit in such a way as to minimise associated ugly feelings and their effects. Such failures are necessary as they show a pleasing attachment to the possibility of a perfect life that is required to be relatable, even though perfection may not be ever fully realised. Young women must demonstrate a good-humoured resilience and the capacity to triumph over such everyday failures. However, these narrow feeling rules ensure that relatability is most attainable in colour-blind, middle class cultures of femininity.
KeywordsFeeling rules Humour Neoliberalism Whiteness Middle class culture
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