In an article about dating for women, a woman (Lori Harvey) is being kissed by a man. Across the bottom, a woman in a v-neck dress (Dorothy Dandridge), a woman with her hands on her head (fictionalized Cleopatra) and a woman with her arms open (Eartha Kitt) stand.
Photo Illustration by Roberto Soto; Images via Google Images

Opinion: The “Lori Harvey Effect” on The Love Lives of Women

Who didn’t teach women how to date?
October 21, 2023
8 mins read

The love lives of women have always been a taboo subject that mankind has been too scared to touch, (no pun intended). Women have been shied away from dating, and men have been encouraged to.

Why is that?

Lori Harvey, the daughter of Steve Harvey, is what both men and women consider the modern-day Marylin Monroe. She is romantically linked to many powerful men in Hollywood including hip hop mogul, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs. Lori Harvey has faced an abundance of criticism due to her “dating style.” The last person she dated was actor, heartthrob and GQ man, Michael B. Jordan. They started dating in 2020 and they were the hottest couple to hit Instagram feeds. He was “the one” to the rest of America, but to Lori, bigger things were to come.

In 2022, the couple called it quits, and Lori Harvey had to take on more shame of another failed relationship. As it states in the Huffpost article, Michael B. Jordan Opens Up About How He Dealt With Lori Harvey Breakup, Jordan had the support of celebrities and fans as he made guest appearances on many platforms expressing his feelings on how things ended. 

Yet, Havey was not granted this same support. Given our American history, this is unsurprising. 

For some reason, when young women are introduced to coming-of-age literature, “The Scarlet Letter” is a piece of literature every woman is aware of. 

For those who haven’t read yet, “The Scarlet Letter” is a book set in the Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony during the 1600’s. Nathaniel Hawthorne tells the story of Hester Prynne, who has sex with a man outside of wedlock. She is seen as the “town’s whore” and accused of witchcraft. As punishment, she must wear a scarlet letter “’A”’ (for “adultery”). A woman has sex with a man and accidentally gets pregnant. She is accused of witchcraft. 

Girls are forced to read this in high school, as if it’s not damaging to a young woman’s image of her sexual experience and what it looks like to fully express herself in that capacity.

How dare she! 

In Harvey’s case, she is also shamed. Her love life, under a microscope. A handsome man that checks all the boxes as the perfect husband, yet she doesn’t want to be married at this time of her life. Possibly, she just wants to date and never be married. 

Why is that a problem? 

Harvey is a perfect representation of a woman who was taught how to date, and society hates it. In an E! News interview, Harvey goes in-depth about her red flags. She talks about how she never ignores signs of potential deal breakers. She has her boundaries and when explained, she expects her partner to respect them. When these things aren’t respected, she leaves. She then moves on to date other people. 

Lori gets ridiculed for her dating style, but how do we define dating or its style? The term “dating,” comes from the original term “courting.” According to Oxford Dictionary, the definition of courting is to “be involved with romantically, typically with the intention of marrying.”

Courting has been a prevalent practice throughout history. Marrying a daughter off to a successful man brought honor to families and freedom, survival, and stability for women during earlier periods of time. Women were waiting for Prince Charming, but Prince Charming was allowed to “get around” until he found his Princess. These dating ideals have always hidden a patriarchal tone between the lines.

 “This is her third boyfriend within two years; she’s loose.”

 “When will she find her husband and settle down?”

 “You’re not getting any younger, Sweetheart.”

For men, the phrasing is completely different.

 “Date around, son; there’s no need to settle down. You’re young,”

“She just a girl. Why are you worried? There’s always someone else.”

“She’s not special. There are women waiting in line for you. The world is your oyster.”

When does dating a large influx of people become a hazard? 

My freshman year of college, my roommate informed me that men can text “Good morning, Beautiful” to over thirty women and not bat an eye. That was my first interpretation that dating a lot of people is celebrated for men. After her explanation I thought I could possibly do the same.The response from my male counterparts was astonishing. They were angry. They wanted to know, who this woman thought she was and why she would have the audacity to not give her all to them.

Elite Daily’s article, “What It Means When He’s Super Possessive, As Told by A Nice Guy and A F*ckboy.” by Adam Shadows, gives a woman dating advice on her boyfriend from the male perspective. “To further defend my point,” said Shadows, I want to mention how you said he was possessive ‘like a boyfriend.’”

Being possessive is a trait resulting from a man’s insecurity. He feels like you can do better than him, so when you talk to another dude, he feels threatened.” Depending on the circumstances, possessiveness is both celebrated and looked down upon. It may turn Janee on that a guy looks at her and her man is getting defensive.

Yet, what does that look like when she wants to wear her “freakum dress” on a night out with friends? 

“The Lori Harvey Effect” is something every woman from every background carries and wears differently. Some women carry their letter proudly, and others are afraid to carry it. To shame the afraid and unafraid won’t change the effects that “dating as a woman,” has on women. Marrying the man of your dreams or dating the guy you met on tinder does not make women any less bad ass. Marylin Monroe, Dorothy Dandridge, Eartha Kitt, Lena Horne, Cleopatra, The Queen of Sheba, etc. are women who come before Lori and unapologetically wore their letters. 

What’s stopping you from wearing yours?

Paiton Young, University of Georgia

Writer Profile

Paiton Young

University of Georgia

"I’m a creative writer hailing from Louisiana. After graduating from the illustrious HBCU, Dillard University, with a B.A. in English, I continued my education at the University of Georgia with an M.A. in Screenwriting. My goal is to impact underrepresented people with my writing."

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