Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gender Equality (Or Lack Thereof) in the Dating World

We spent most of last night in a heated debate about gender equality in the dating world.

In our opinion, it doesn’t exist. And here’s why:

From about the age of 0, girls start hearing the same message. They watch Disney movies, and later sit coms and chick flicks, they read “young adult” books, and later romance novels, and they all say the same thing: a woman’s goal in life should be to find the most handsome, charming, and desirable man she can, and the best way to snag him is to “fall in love” with him.

But it doesn’t work like that. If a guy thinks you’re in love with him before you’ve even gone on a first date, it’s going to scare him off.

Furthermore, these messages encourage women to base a lot of their own self-worth on their marital status and/or partner. Single? There must be something wrong with you! Do other girls think your boyfriend is kind of awkward and not that cute? They must think the same thing about you too!

Your love life (or lack thereof) becomes your primary focus. That’s not to say you can’t hold down a job or keep up some semblance of a personal life. But, when push comes to shove, this idea of “love” is the ultimate pursuit. Worth leaving your job for, worth transferring to a different city, worth putting everything on the line.

The truth is, life probably is easier and more enjoyable when you have a partner to share it with. But “love” does not a successful relationship make. Things like trust, mutual interests, and shared values will take you a lot further than lust that feels like something more.

And so our society sets women up to want a partner more than anything else, but doesn’t give them the tools to find one.

Guys, for whatever reason, seem to instinctively understand how to play games. They don’t return calls, they keep you guessing, and they seem less interested in couplehood to begin with.

Girls, on the other hand, watch a women on TV turn down Stanford to follow her crush to NYU and end up getting the guy after she confesses all this to him.

In the real world, this would be a major turnoff. But no one ever explains this to us.

So women are set up to want a partner more than (almost) anything else. But they’re also conditioned to behave in ways that would send most potential matches running in the opposite direction.

This doesn’t mean that women are doomed, but it does mean we have to work harder to overcome the urge to call him when he’s not responding.

And above all, it means women need to be more savvy about the dos and don’ts of dating. And it means we sometimes need to show each other the way—for example, by not encouraging our friends to drunk-text guys they want to date.

It’s not enough to tell yourself that things never work the way they do on TV and in the movies. You have to understand why they don’t work that way, and what does work in “real” life.


  1. this post reminds me of the recent horrendous movie, post-grad. where a recent CA grad moves back home after losing her perfect job and apartment after a series of unfortunate events... ends up falling in love with her HS best friend who happens to be moving away to NYC to attend law school. Our heroine finally lands the job of her dreams and things finally seem to be looking up for her... and then she quits her job, follows her heart to NYC to be with her best friend/new love. Apparently this is considered a happy ending but I was left in the movie theater saying to myself, well now what is she going to do? She is now in NYC in one of the worst recessions on history without a job? and apparently that is fine because she has her perfect new man in her life. RIDICULOUS!!!

  2. NYU isn't bad...

    That chick from Up In The Air went to Omaha for a guy....albeit from Ithaca so that rough of a transition.

  3. NOT that rough, I meant...

  4. The truth is, if you call a guy and he doesn't call you back, the best thing to do is leave a message, saying, "Hi, this is ..... If you ever get to your phone, please call back as soon as you can, if necessary. I hope to hear from you. Bye." Or, you could hang up. Women need to be assertive here. When they are assertive, they're not being aggressive, desperate, or pushy. Instead, they're being practical, logical, and confident and most men don't like it. The problem is, that most men always want to be in control of the dating world, which often leads to unhappiness, rape, and/or violence later on, which obviously is not safe. It's bad enough that there are a few men in our society that appreciate gender equality in the dating world and those men are often hard to find. It's no wonder rape and domestic violence is becoming a lot worse, all due to male dominance in our society.

  5. "Guys, for whatever reason, seem to instinctively understand how to play games."

    That's about as gender biased as you get. Truth be told, it's the guys that are out there really aggressively pursuing women that know how to play the 'games'... this also completely discounts the 'games' that women play.

    There are lots of great guys out there that don't play games, they're probably just not going to be the ones striking up a conversation with a drunken you at the club on friday night.