Has astrology led to some kind of acceptable bigotry?

“I will only date someone who is Aries. I always ask what someone’s star sign is before I start talking” (iStock)

According to the internet, if you want your partner to be an unpredictable and chaotic supervillain, you need to date a Gemini. Donald Trump, Kanye West, and Draco Malfoy (yes, really) are some of pop culture’s most notorious Geminis, and current internet logic dictates that their individual personalities aren’t the reason they’re done. as they did. Rather, it is their birth charts.

Venture online or on a dating app today, and you’ll find many who make sweeping judgments about groups of people based on the “typical” traits of their star signs. “Gemini are bad,” reads a recently viral tweet. “Virgos are extremely judgmental, which makes them terrible friends and people – they can’t even hide it,” reads another. What justifies prejudging an entire group of people based on some loose interpretation of astrology?

The popularity of astrology on the internet might be a good place to start. Over the past decade, the old cheesy magazine horoscopes have been replaced by digital astrologers – some of which are legit, many of which are not. Vernacular astrology is everywhere. Mercury being “retrograde” is used as an explanation whenever everything seems to be going completely wrong for someone at some point – Liz Truss took office just two days after Mercury’s last retrograde in September, for example. Additionally, the Co-Star horoscope app has been downloaded over three million times since its launch in late 2017. The Bumble dating app now has an advanced filter so you can decide which star signs you want be matched, while on Hinge you can make your star sign visible on your profile. Even a new astrology-based matchmaking app, Stars Align, claims to help people find romantic relationships through horoscope-based compatibility predictions.

As a (proud) member of Gen-Z, I have to admit that the subject of star signs comes up in most of the conversations I have, from small chats with strangers to in-depth chats with friends. Whether it’s trying to decipher what a person’s star sign says about them or vaguely calculating compatibility between a friend and a new beau, astrology shapes the way we choose to view ourselves. each other. In dating, many use the Zodiac as a quick check-in system.

“I will only date someone who is Aries,” says activist John Junior, 34. “I always ask what someone’s star sign is before I start talking. Aries has amazing qualities, like being very open. I’m strict about [who I date] because I know I’m highly compatible with an Aries.

A quick disclaimer: astrology is not a science and there is no proven evidence that zodiac sign correlates with personality. Astrologers themselves are also skeptical about using signs as a basis for decision-making. “[Star signs are] a good conversation starter, an icebreaker, a rough guide,” says Kerry Ward, an astrologer with over 20 years of experience and author of The Tarot of Good Karma. “But a person is the sum of so much more than just their star sign. Family, culture, values, education, life experience, friendships, career and health also come into this melting pot of personality. I don’t think anyone should base their interactions with others, or their opinions about them, on their sign alone.

People will usually scoff and assume I’m two-faced or a snake

Instead of analyzing someone’s star sign, a comprehensive birth chart can provide a bigger picture, according to astrologer Inbaal Honigman. Someone’s birth chart will show the location of the sun, moon, and planets at the exact time of their birth. “It’s really useful in personality analysis,” she says. “It could indicate why someone might be more attached to a romantic situation compared to a platonic one.”

Naomi*, 22, has a degree in art history and generally avoids the air signs – Gemini, Libra and Aquarius – when dating or meeting new friends. His rationale? She tried dating air signs but found she wasn’t compatible with them. “As a Taurus, I’m not supposed to get along with Aquarians and Geminis,” she says. “And that turned out to be true for me. I find Aquarians to be quite cold, detached, and difficult to connect with. It’s the same with Gemini: you don’t know which side you’re going to end up on. I find them hard to deal with. I don’t have any Aquarians or Geminis as close friends. I am friends with Gemini, but very, very rarely.

Ward believes the growing popularity of star signs is linked to a new eagerness to screen people quickly. “Zodiac signs, like everything else in this world, also have their stereotypes and biases,” she says. “That’s just what humans do – [find a] shortcut to a snapshot of a group. I think people are always looking for criteria and guarantees to help them zoom in on compatible partners. I think my sign, Gemini, has a bad reputation. Signs that are associated with excessive flirting — dare I say cheat material — struggle (Gemini, Sagittarius) as do those who are aloof or cold (Aquarius, Capricorn), or a bit OTT and loud (Aries). , or dark and dangerous (Scorpio).

While there’s nothing wrong with having personal dating preferences — it seems to be working for John and Naomi so far — those criteria are often informed by having kissed a few Geminis, rising frogs of Scorpio. Honigman understands that past dating experiences will likely influence someone’s view of star signs; she too decided that Pisces and Sagittarius were the most compatible signs for her after some serious trial and error (her husband is a Pisces). “I think it’s unwise to judge someone solely on their four signs. [star, earth, sun and moon],” she says. “However, if you have experience with how you’re triggered by a specific star sign, it’s a good idea to watch the first red flag and not wait for the next big thing. “

Ditch Gemini: Donald Trump at a rally in September (Getty Images)

Ditch Gemini: Donald Trump at a rally in September (Getty Images)

So we know people love to berate Geminis on the internet. But how does it feel to be the target of star sign vitriol? Maria Dmitriev is a 21-year-old master’s student who feels like she’s constantly being hyper-analyzed by strangers or friends when she reveals her sign. “I’ve never had a positive response telling people I’m Gemini,” she says. “They’ll usually scoff and assume I’m two-faced or a snake. People tend to psychologize my behavior… like telling me I’m a “typical Gemini” when I do something they think is questionable. What Was Reading Your Horoscope In The Newspaper Turned Into All That Personality [categorisation]. Am I the only one who thinks that’s a little weird?”

At a recent dinner party, Maria backed off when someone decided to start an inevitable conversation about the star sign. “I don’t know much about astrology, but enough to know that it’s more complex than a star sign explaining your whole personality,” she says. “All I know is that I’m a Gemini and people hate me.”

Tried and tested compatibility might help some people find romantic relationships or lifelong friendships more easily, but weaponizing someone’s star sign against them is clearly not the philosophy of the astrological community. “Using someone’s star sign to put someone down is dishonest,” Honigman says. “That’s absolutely not the reason we have this knowledge in the first place.”

Personally, I’ve had a series of mind-blowing dating experiences with Pisces men, finding them distant and non-committal. Does that mean I’ll walk out of a bar if a milestone date confirms he was born between February 19 and March 20? Probably not. Part of me might be a bit wary, but I’m also brave (read: reckless) and seemingly courageous. I am an Aries, after all.

*Names have been changed

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