Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Committee Chair

Jeni Loftus

Committee Member

Clayton Fordhal

Committee Member

Carol Rambo


Research on casual dating relationships remain centered on white individuals, particularly white women. Social dating research has largely ignored the lived experiences of women of color, particularly black women, and continues its commitment to studying participation and experiences in casual dating relationships through a white lens. Situationships can be described as noncommittal dating relationships which teeter between committed relationships and casual dating. Semi- structures interviews were conducted to collect data on black women’s experiences in situationships in order to provide greater understanding of how both race and gender shape black women’s dating experiences. This study found that situationships operate within a liminal space, a place of in-betweenness, in which Black women attempt to gain the “girlfriend” identity by progressing into committed relationships. Situationships appear to be deviations of traditional committed relationships while simultaneously providing a false sense of progression into committed relationships for Black women. I also found that through exhibiting behaviors of emphasized femininity and hegemonic masculinity, situationships appear to be oppressive to Black women’s sexual agency and beneficial to men, ultimately seeming to affect how they view themselves and the culture of dating within the black community.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.