NY Magazine’s The Cut has a new article out on a topic which is rapidly making the rounds: Meet the SWUGs of Yale: Women ‘Washed Up’ at 21
The striking feature image shows a coed with the tell-tale dead in the eyes look. According to the article, SWUG (Senior Washed Up Girl) is a new term which originated in Cornell and appeared at Yale in 2010. Yale student Greg Kelley defines the term as:
…a girl who has been through the meat grinder. A seasoned veteran who knows the ropes.
However, even with a dead in the eyes look, at 21 a reasonably fit young woman is still going to pull a great deal of sexual attention. Only on a rare and closed social scene is a 21 year old woman too old and jaded to attract the attention of men, as the article points out:
Of course, the SWUGs aren’t actually washed up. Three months from now, they will be the bright-eyed newcomers in New York or Los Angeles, the 22-year-olds dancing on banquettes in nightclubs, who still drink too much and still flirt with boys. They’ll go from envying freshmen girls to being the envy of older women.
The real challenge for these women is the way their male peers are starting to see them, and thinking of them dancing on banquettes in nightclubs doesn’t help. This is just another crack in a slowly crumbling narrative. This is especially risky for UMC women because their marriage prospects are limited. While I would bet that the vast majority of Yale and Cornell men graduating today will ultimately go on to marry, if an additional 5-10% of UMC men decide not to marry this would be a catastrophe for UMC women.
UMC women are a bit of a paradox because they are the ones who lead the delay in marriage, yet they need marriage more than women of other classes. Having children out of wedlock is still highly frowned upon in UMC culture, and marriage is still an important status marker in itself. By delaying marriage and riding the carousel they are giving the men of the UMC an ultimatum; accept a debased form of marriage or none at all. We can only wait to see how this bet turns out for the current graduating class, but already there are signs this might not end as they are expecting.