Are classic roles on the first date outdated?
On the first date, the man chooses the location, picks up the woman and pays for her right away. Or? A study shows whether dating behavior has changed.
The dear traditions, sometimes it’s such a thing with them: Some are usually quite nice (think of Christmas), others can easily be abolished (“no sex before marriage”). But where on this spectrum do you actually find “first date rules” according to which the man is the driving force behind the first date with his beloved?
“Classic” first dates put the man in the driver’s seat
On the first date, the man chooses the location – for example, a fairly expensive restaurant. Of course, the lady doesn’t have to go to this place by bus or train, that’s not right! Of course, the man will pick her up, preferably in a respectable vehicle. On the way to the restaurant, he holds open every door that gets in their way, and after the two have eaten their 4-course meal and drunk the red wine, he pays for all the fun without batting an eyelid. It was something like this decades ago – and in some cases even today.
This annoys some, after all the part with paying the bill comes from a time when the woman had no income of her own – because she did not work could. Others think: “Of course I can pay for my own food, of course I work and I’m financially and emotionally independent – but if the man thinks it has to be like this, I won’t say no!”
Study shows: Classic first dates are reflected in classic gender roles
Jessica J. Cameron and Emma Curry took a closer look at first date expectations in a study. According to their research, there are certain “scripts” to first dating that they define as “socially constructed expectations or norms for behavior in certain contexts.” The scripts contain “traditional gender stereotypes”, for example active and dominant behavior is attributed to men and reactive behavior to women. In plain language: the men invite, the women wait for the invitation.
According to the explanations of the two researchers, this passive female role – which we already know from old fairy tales – also runs through the rest of the relationship. Keyword marriage proposal: In 83 percent of the cases, it is still made by the man – only 5 percent of the women take an active role here. The scripts, the researchers explain, provide the basis for adhering to traditional gender roles in the later relationship.
Gender stereotypes hold up well
What if a woman doesn’t feel like being the passive supporting character? Or does a man even dare to give the reins to a woman? According to the study’s findings, that doesn’t sit well: “Although men claim they view women who ask them out positively, research shows that men are less likely to accept and pursue relationships with such women.”
In their research, Cameron and Curry found that dating scripts have changed little over the past 25 years, particularly in terms of traditional gender roles. They collected hypothetical dating scripts in 2015 and compared the results to data from a 2000 study. One finding: Gender stereotypes held up valiantly over those 15 years. But there is hope: the younger subjects in particular were less likely to agree to a gender-specific script on the first date. The man who rules and decides everything? Hopefully it will be a thing of the past soon – at least for the people who don’t want it that way.
Sources used: psychologytoday.com, de.statista.com