Why Dating Resists Gender Equality

How to ask a girl out

How to ask a girl out

Gender equality has grown by leaps and bounds. We now have women CEOs, heads of state, religious leaders, media pros, doctors, lawyers and accountants…

But dating — at least the early stages — has remained resistant.

In the early stages of relationship, most men take the lead and most women passively wait.

A man approaches a woman, asks her out, plans the date, picks her up, opens her door, maybe even orders her meal. They eat and he pays, takes her home, reaches for her hand, initiates a kiss, initiates sex, and calls her the next day.

A woman, on the other hand, typically waits passively to be asked out, transported and treated. Later, she “waits by the phone,” hoping to be asked out again.

And surveys show that most men and women prefer it that way:

Preference for men asking women out

Preference for men asking women out

But why?

Why would women prefer passivity?

A woman may prefer to be asked out because of what that means in our society: “I’m special” — you must work to get me.

And “I’m not desperate.”

And she needn’t risk rejection — although it can be frustrating to wait passively by.

Why would guys want to risk rejection and pay?

And why do most guys gladly take on the burden of being responsible for everything, including risking rejection and paying for dates?

Maybe because it all seems a small price to demonstrate leadership and thus, “manhood” (since society has assigned “leadership” to “masculinity”).

When it comes to dating, one person must lead and the other must follow. Women and men could both take turns leading. But because most of us have been socialized to associate men as “leaders” women can be just as uncomfortable taking that role as a man may be at following her lead.

But she probably isn’t uncomfortable being a leader in a business situation, right?

Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke

Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke

Maybe the role switch feels more powerful in a dyadic relationship, versus a group of people who work at a company, for instance.

When a female boss leads a group of men and women, the power differential isn’t all about HIM and HER. It’s not so “in-your-face.”

A lot of men who are comfortable with female leadership in their jobs are not so comfortable when their female partners seem “higher up” in the relationship. Ethan Hawke divorced Uma Thurman because he couldn’t handle standing in the shadow of her greater success. Goldie Hawn and Audrey Hepburn have talked about similar difficulties.

So maybe that helps explain it. Otherwise, I’m not sure why this particular area is so resistant when everything else has changed so much.

Plus, we have romanticized guys taking the lead and women being pursued so much that a lot of people may think romance couldn’t survive the shift.

But I think it could.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on December 1, 2014, in feminism, gender, men, psychology, relationships, women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 77 Comments.

  1. Yes, girls do expect that a guy initiates but, now a days even girls don’t hesitate to ask a man out and take the charge.

    • That’s true of some girls. But I surveyed my classes in the progressive San Francisco Bay Area, and most of them did hesitate to ask a man out and take charge. Also, take a look at that graph on “Preference.” And see the related posts at the bottom. A few were okay with the take charge attitude, but most weren’t. But the fact that a few were okay with it does show some social change.

  2. Wow I wouldn’t have thought the preference for guys asking out was so strong. I recently asked a guy out to dinner, when we got there, I was the one that did the talking, “hi, table for two” “Oh yes please we’ll sit outside” “two beers please…..” ect I said all this before he even had the chance without even giving it much thought, then a little bit later I wondered if I had come across as pushy. Oh well, the date went welll regardless!

    • Even though there’s that general preference, some guys want it the other way. Also, I surveyed a few of my classes on this topic and a number of guys were with their girlfriends because she had made the first move. So whether or not there was a preference for him to ask her out, these guys were okay enough with it to continue the relationship. See the related posts, below.

  3. As a woman who spent ~10 yrs not dating men, but only women — when I did decide to date men again, I found the whole “I am a flower who waits to be found” routine both baffling and annoying. Why not just tell a guy that I found him interesting, and would he like to continue this conversation over coffee sometime? It seemed most men found me baffling as well, at this point. Often “intimidating” (or so I was told). Even men who publicly claimed they were tired of always being “the pursuer” found it unsettling or uncomfortable becoming “the pursued.”

    Which is just to say: even if a woman wishes to break from this dating pattern, the welcome she receives may be less than inviting. Sometimes we hold onto habits we dislike, cuz at least they’re better than always eating alone.

  4. This is a very tough one…

    I think men would certainly love for more women to ask them out. But, at the same time some men would probably threatened by such a “bold” woman.

    Since women enjoy privilege when it comes to dating and sex, I do not think women are willing to give this up. After all, being passive still yields rewards for most women. They still get asked out! This current system works very very well for most women.

    In the grand scheme of things does it really matter? If most women find most men unattractive anyway, would not the end result be women asking out a minority of men?

    Overall, in theory men would welcome such a change. It would eliminate a lot of the pressures of men having to constantly prove they are good enough for women. In practice, I see little change in the actual OUTCOMES for most men. Women would still gravitate towards a minority of men..

    • I’ve noticed that most people think that everyone else sees things the way they do. Which seems to be what you are doing here.

      A number of men, maybe including you, have complained to me that women don’t ask man out, and assume that 1) most men would like to be asked out and that 2) Women don’t because they don’t want to, and can get away with not doing it.

      But that hasn’t been my experience — mine was the opposite of yours — I’ve wanted to ask men out when I was single but I felt like I couldn’t. And some women have said the same thing on my blog.

      So I decided to ask my students about their opinions, and check out any other research on the topic.

      The research shows that most people are different from both me and you. Including assumptions we make about people’s motives. See my “Related posts” at the end.

      And as I’ve said before, women have a variety of taste, even if most women don’t find most men sexually attractive. As a result, most men end up getting married.

      I’ve also noticed that a lot of guys who complain that women don’t like them hold hostility toward women. A hostile attitude scares women away. And not being hostile isn’t something you can fake over the long term. So maybe learning to like women would work a lot better for you. Most of my friends are married to pretty average looking guys, and many are married to below average looking guys. But they’re all really great guys.

      • First, I am aware of the tendency for people to possess confirmation bias in their thinking. Empirical metrics should eliminate this. However, as you well know, no matter how much data some people are provided, they will flatly refuse to change their perspective(s). Clearly, most women do NOT see the world as I do. I would not wish to delude myself.

        Let’s just use common sense here: If most women find most men UN-attractive, does it not stand to reason that most men are going to have difficulty in the dating world? This is all I am saying. But, I guess this makes me hostile to women? If the majority of people do not like chocolate chip mint ice cream, I do not think you’re going to see a lot of sales of chocolate chip mint ice cream. It’s the same concept. So, what’s wrong with it?

        Second, I have never complained about women not asking me out. They have done so. It was not an issue for me. Also, women do like me. I like women as well. That does not mean I have agree with them or certain behaviors and tendencies they exhibit.

        Third. Yes, women are not a monolithic group. However, as you also well know, when studying certain things, we must be able to characterize them. For example, the average height of an American male is 5’10”. Obviously, no all men are 5’10″…..For some reason, when it comes to matters of race, gender, sex,…..we seems to have great difficulty. Often such ways of characterizing people or populations are termed “generalizations.” Only in America….

        Fourth, just because most men eventually marry does not mean their wives found them sexually attractive. I don’t see how such could be logically or statistically possible given that most women find most men unattractive.

        Lastly, I cannot change your view of me as being hostile to women. So be it. As I stated above, no matter how much data you give some people, they will simply refuse to change their convictions. After a while, it simply becomes rather pointless.

        No, I don’t like the situation. But, I cannot change things and people who are not open to change. Pick your battles in life. This one is simply not worth my fighting.

      • Maybe you aren’t hostile toward women. Sometimes you seem kind of lovable/huggy. Sometimes you sound a little hostile. Or at least that’s my interpretation. It could be other women’s interpretation, too. Based on your picture, I see no reason why plenty of women wouldn’t find you attractive. Most women these days tend to marry for love, Which generally includes some level of attraction. And just because most women don’t find most men are attractive it doesn’t mean that Women have a variety of tastes so that pretty much all men will be found attractive by some women.

    • Also, the reason most men find most women sexually attractive — but most women don’t find most men sexually attractive — is likely due to the sexual repression that women experience in our patriarchy. When you become habituated to submerging your sexual desire, it becomes difficult to access, And takes a lot to get it going.

      So if you don’t like the situation, you should work against our slut-shaming patriarchy.

      And thanks for the idea for a new blog post.

  5. I don’t advocate women and men choosing traditional gender roles in dating- but I have found that I personally enjoy the courting rituals. Perhaps it is because I’ve been the girl who has done the asking out and taking the initiative and that often has proven to be awkward and a lot more effort than the other way. I also think that receptivity can be active and empowering, not necessarily passive.

    • I imagine that receptivity could be empowering. But I always found it annoying that I was expected to wait around, so I found limiting.

      • Yes… receptivity in these situations work best when both people are on the same page and there is reciprocity that allows for the receptivity. I definitely didn’t like it when I sat on my hands feeling like I couldn’t make the next move.

  6. As a woman, we feel that men will reject us more because of our looks. So instead of taking the initiative and asking a man for a date we wait. From my personal experience, the men that I took the initiative to ask them out never worked out in the end. The general reason why it did not work out is because they usually did not experience the same types of feelings for me as I did for them. If I wait for them to ask me out, then I knew they had feelings for me. I could say no just like a man would to me but for me, I like to get to know a guy before I ultimately say no to them so I will go on that first date with them. There are men that I would straight up say no to but that is generally because l have got to know them and I do not like them. Dating does make men more superior in gender equality but I think women will always be the more timid gender because it is in our nature.

    • I don’t think that Women are naturally timid. I don’t think there are many people who would call me timid. But when men are constantly pushed to take initiative and accept rejection, they tend to develop a thick skin.

    • Kristen,

      “Dating does make men more superior in gender equality but I think women will always be the more timid gender because it is in our nature.”

      Wow. How are men made superior? Women have privilege when it comes to dating. So, I don’t see how men enjoy any superiority.

      • To put in my $.02: passivity can feel — and be — disempowering, which places one in an inferior position.

      • The only women who could have any kind of privilege are the really good looking ones. The same goes for desirable men. A woman who’s average or below average most likely won’t have a lot of luck getting asked by the guy she wants if any guys at all. So if such a woman sees a man she likes, she then has to sit and wait and hope that he will pursue her and ask her out. A man on the other hand can ask any girl he likes. So men are much more likely to end up with the woman they want and women are more likely forced to settle with whoever asks them out. That doesn’t sound like a privilege to me.

        The current rules have pros and cons for both men and women but the only people that it really works for are the good looking and desirable people because they will most likely get the person they like. It would be a lot easier for everyone if the dating rules changed and we had equal amount of men and women pursuing each other and it was equally acceptable for both.

  7. After my divorce some 14 years ago, people told me: “Women will ask you out,” which was pure hogwash. But then, I live in a one-horse town where most women anywhere near my age are, take your pick: already “taken,” moved out of town to more interesting, warmer climes, or are crazy-seeming. I would love to be asked out by some woman who I found interesting and mildly attractive. My range of “mildly attractive” is pretty wide, by the way; I’m not one of the 8 zillion guys on dating sites who are homely as sin but expect to find a “babe.” I’m one of the homely-as-whatever, aging, guys who needs someone who has a sense of humor, which seems to be a problem sometimes.
    When I was younger, and women would “look back” more, I was way too shy most of the time to ask them out. So I’d be in the 15 or so percent of men who would like to be asked out.

  8. It’s very interesting to see how men often initiate everything during the early stage of the relationship. As women, I believe the reason why men initiate and take charge of the relationship is due to the gender stratification and the traditions that men should be dominant and take the responsibility. At a young age, men were taught to be more manly and dominant over women since they were stronger and had more jobs opportunities. Women were told that they should let men initiate and take charge of the relationship at a young age. Our society have always encourage that women and men should follow the traditional gender roles so men are used to initiating that when a women stop being passive and take their role they feel threatened that they have lose their manhood. This was back then but now and days we see some women making the first move and handling the relationship.

  9. I think this is a great topic to blog about because I have also had to learn this dance in my own dating. Sometimes you don’t want to just sit and passively wait for them to call, sometimes you want to pay for the bill, or drive yourself. Sometimes it’s hard to stick to the expectant “female” role in dating, when perhaps so much about your personality isn’t characteristically female.

    I think there are some things that in a straight relationship will always fall on the man to lead: such as asking a woman out or proposing for marriage. Basically, all the initial steps to make
    the relationship increasingly more serious and committed, fall on the man.

    I think in some ways the attitude is that a lot of what women want can be assumed: all women want romance, to be loved, to be cared for — we are painted as emotionally needy, waiting and expecting for the right guy to fill the role. Whereas men are not as deeply stereotyped in dating, and their expectations besides the most obvious of wanting sex — is generally unknown. A man has the room to want many things, whereas us girls often find ourselves dancing around from seeming like we “have feelings” or are “in love with him” during a relationship’s infancy. Women, moreso than men, have a predisposed hang-up about seeming too clingy or emotionally invested. Society teaches us that women are more vulnerable, emotional… Sometimes even on the verge of irrational.

    This insecurity that many women have going into dating, inherently gives the man more power. Dating is human beings at our most primal, and in some respects, gender roles fall under a natural order of simply labor division. I think it is extremely difficult to pump these precedents from heterosexual dating. It has been embedded in us for so long, we have essentially evolved under these social structures.

    • Well, we’ve certainly internalized these social structures.

      But you don’t find these dating patterns everywhere, so they are not innate. Like in some South Pacific islands females would pursue males if they wanted — and that was fine with everyone.

  10. I believe the reason that gender equality does not exist in dating is because of the the culture we come from. As children, we are presented with fairytales where women desperately wait to find their prince charming. For example, sleeping beauty sleeps in a castle all by her self util her prince charming comes to save her. I think that we grow up and continue to think that men will be the ones that approach us, so women do not take the initiative.
    However, there are many relationships where the women are the leaders of the relationship. I feel this is most common in marriage because even though men propose and initiate marriage, women are in charge of the wedding. Once the couple has kids, women are the ones who are supposed to care for them, therefore they are in charge of that aspect as well. Although many couples reflect this type of relationship, there are still men in couples that act as if they are superior. If these norms of dating were to change, considering it is one of the few aspects of society where women do not show leadership roles, we could be even closer to true equality.

  11. First off I believe that women and men remain consistent with dating because how each gender needs to be emotionally satisfied. I know with most guys if I asked them out on a date they would call me clingy but if a guy asked me out I would be more than flattered. It is always nice to feel special and I am perfectly okay with this consistency. The main thing that frustrates me about dating in this society is that guys love the chase. Guys eventually get bored if women constantly give in or seem overly interested. I grew up learning that men ask women out on the dates so its honestly all I have known.

    • Yeah, when it is all you know it does tend to seem natural and normal. And because of the way we are socialized it can also seem emotionally satisfying to each gender, As you say.

    • “The main thing that frustrates me about dating in this society is that guys love the chase. Guys eventually get bored if women constantly give in or seem overly interested.”

      Yes, I have heard many women say how disappointing this has become. Once the guy gets sex, he disappears – never to be heard from again. I think that is so disrespectful. This leaves the women feeling badly about themselves with feeling of guilt, shame etc.

      Prior to marriage (age 33), I only had very limited dating experience (3 girlfriends). However, I never viewed “the chase” as being a part of the dating process.

      I still do not post divorce (4 years ago). To me either she was interested or not. If I thought she is interested, I would ask her out. She can either say “yes” or “no.”… I have never chased a woman. Courted? Yes, Chased? No.

      If you are truly interested in a relationship, then it is not about chasing, in my opinion. It is about doing things to: 1) get to know the person better which means building a friendship and 2) nurture a relationship which is an ongoing endeavor.

      However, I am now out of the “game.”

  12. I think you’re reading it not exactly right. I think guy’s would prefer girls initiate more and things differently than they are now. Guy’s don’t want women to be the initiators overall, because guy’s don’t feel like they are doing their part as men to initiate, especially when guys are aware of the effort women take to look good. I think guy’s actually welcome women initiating. It’s more of women being less discreet though and putting more effort. A man doesn’t mind approaching women as much if she shows interest or more obvious or if a woman takes effort in starting the conversation and directing as much as the guy.

    The problem with dating is, men are often guessing at women’s signals. Women feel they are being obvious but guy’s don’t usually see them or they are discreet to men. And men have to initiate conversation and kind of direct the conversation and keep it going at least in the beginning. I know for me, I was hesitant in approaching girls at a bar, because it wasn’t so much saying hi, it was feeling pressure to get a conversation going and keep it going when I don’t know her and the burden place on me as a man.

    Often times, even if a girl might be open to a guy’s attention, might not show much personality or the talk basic. So it feels like, as a man you have to then think of something funny or interesting to spark something, as she isn’t really doing it herself and it’s on me as a man to get something going. It’s not always easy if nothing is there to work with in the beginning. Girls don’t want to, because they want it easy. It’s easier to not have to think of funny stuff, or whatever to impress the opposite sex or gear a conversation and try to attract a man that way. The onus is on men through words to attract women or sweet talk her, and not for women to do so toward men.

    • Well you’re talking about something different from what I’m talking about. You are talking about women giving clear clues that they’re interested. So that men can take the initiative. I’m talking about women actually initiating.

      • Well women aren’t doing that either. Guy’s would appreciate that.

      • But I’m more concerned about empowering girls and women, and you’re more concerned about hoping guys to date. It’s not a bad goal. We’re just talking about two different things.

  13. Do women try to sit back on purpose though? Because it seems like women sometimes are not really interested in trying to converse with a guy or work in the conversation even if they might find the guy attractive. Women seem more undecided sometimes about what they want and then even when they are initially attracted. Being too assertive can turn her off or also not making a move when she gives signals to it and not jumping on it at the opportunity can cause a women to see a guy as a friend after or him to miss his opportunity. I’ve seen it for sure, it’s like a line a guy has to walk with passive and assertive. Can’t be too passive, but not too assertive either and look too aggressive either. It can be confusing for guys, but I don’t know if women are doing this on purpose because society tell them to, but because women aren’t so strongly attracted to men sexually that women can be more fickle in dating than men.

    • I don’t think that what you describe describes women generally. So I don’t know what’s going on in these situations.

      • Yes, meeting girls out with a friend or at the bar and as far as hook ups go or getting a number. There seems to be a thin line with things guys have to do to show interest but not too much interest. Don’t look desperate, but not disinterested either. It’s hard for guy’s to know a girl is interested in him sometimes even if she is, not because she’s trying to hide it, but girls not being sure what they want.

  14. I have been known to be bold with men. I can be quite intimidating as I’m not afraid to go after what. I’ve always been raised to go after what I want, and to be honest about it. As I’ve gotten older and more interested in developing a love life, I have found that I have to tone down my boldness. I no longer ask guys on the first date as I dislike the rejection I have received when asking rather than waiting to be asked out. It’s actually quite annoying that I can’t be myself completely at the beginning of a potential romance because it intimidates someone else. I’ve even experienced having someone be intimidated by the fact that I previously worked at Yahoo! and was making more money than them. There is this saying that “Men need to be wanted, and women long to be wanted.” I never want to come off as someone who needs someone, but with the expectations society has implemented it’s hard to find someone who except that I only need them to accept me.

  15. I believe dating and getting asked out by men became like a tradition in our lives. Most women in our society likes to be treated by their men and it almost makes us feel good. However, there are women who likes to take the leading role in the relationship and does not wait for a guy to ask her out; she asks the guy out and takes him on dates. I do not think there is a wrong or right way on going on a date, it all depends on personalities and likes. However, this is the scenario that we see from our society: a guy takes a girl out, pays for the dinner and brings her home. It does not matter how modern our society is, this “tradition” will continue and it will not change quickly. I believe there are many women who want to ask a guy out but they may be hesitant to do it because they may be looked down.

  16. The blogger who created this blog proves a very good point. Its true women do play the passive role when it comes to first dating someone. I know I waited for my significant other to approach me even though I waited patiently. It almost seems like it’s the correct thing to do, wait for the man to approach, make plans, and pay for the outing, and so on. But as women who fight for their rights and want equality it doesn’t seem dating is one we fight for. Maybe it’s because a women is more afraid of rejection than men. There really isn’t any rational reasoning to this. As I reflect on the topic there shouldn’t be any reason or issues with a woman being able to make the first move on a man but we don’t do that we wait for a man to take the lead. It’s not until after we are in relationships that we as women seem to take over and take the lead. Maybe it’s just one of those things that will never be understood.

  17. Hina,

    The same goes for desirable men. A woman who’s average or below average most likely won’t have a lot of luck getting asked by the guy she wants if any guys at all. So if such a woman sees a man she likes, she then has to sit and wait and hope that he will pursue her and ask her out. A man on the other hand can ask any girl he likes. So men are much more likely to end up with the woman they want”

    An average woman might not get asked out that often, but still more than an average man and probably even more than an attractive guy too. And an average woman doesn’t even have to ask someone out, if she just makes her interest more obvious to a guy. More guys will approach her. That’s not true for good looking guys. What makes a man desirable is more than his looks, it’s his personality and other things. Things a woman doesn’t know until a man is already talking to her and charms her, and shows her personality etc. Good looking guys have it easier than average men, but that’s in relation to getting dates when asking a woman out. But many good looking guys aren’t getting laid if they sit back and are anxious about approaching women. Basically a guy is going to have a good dry spell if he doesn’t go out there and take a chance of being rejected many times, looking like a fool, not having something to say, having ackward moments, etc even if he is good looking.

    Men are likely to get the woman they want after playing the numbers game first. If it’s me, I’d rather not deal with all that and just get the girl without all that. How many guys get the girls they want? Sometimes, but many times the one that is so desirable and can’t keep his eyes off, always seems to be the one not interested in him or friendzones him. Women have the privelege in that they don’t have to take the risks, and can feel desirable, courted, paid for and then reject the guy still after. A woman doesn’t have to or won’t, because her supply is so valued by other men, that she doesn’t have to pay for a date, or court to get sex from a man right? In the dating game it sure makes women seem more valuable. I mean how valuble is a man’s sex if it’s lopsided with what he’s doing to get her in bed when and proving he’s something when he shouldn’t have to and he might actually have much more going for him than the girl. But he’s the one that has to do everything to get her “golden pussy”, while his dick is obviously of little worth.

    • “And an average woman doesn’t even have to ask someone out, if she just makes her interest more obvious to a guy.”

      If a person has to work a little to make their interest obvious to the person they’re interested in then it’s not too different than asking someone out. A guy who’s brave enough to ask someone out and a girl who’s brave enough to put herself out there and show she’s interested are both putting themselves in a situation that makes them vulnerable to rejection. So they’re both in the same boat and neither is better off.

      “What makes a man desirable is more than his looks, it’s his personality and other things. Things a woman doesn’t know until a man is already talking to her and charms her, and shows her personality etc.”

      That means men actually do have a better chance at getting the women they’re interested in than women are at getting the men they’re interested in. So a man who’s not considered good looking can still redeem himself with his personality and get a date. Or a man could just be really hot and score a date that way. Either way there’s more than one trait that can help men get dates in the traditional dating scene. Women on the other hand are completely out of luck unless the man they’re interested in finds them attractive. She isn’t even given the opportunity to win him over with her personality and she has to accept that rejection without even being given the chance. All she can do is work on her appearance and hope one of the guy she’s interested in will find her attractive and ask her out. Until that happens, she faces rejection every single day of her life.

      “But many good looking guys aren’t getting laid if they sit back and are anxious about approaching women. Basically a guy is going to have a good dry spell if he doesn’t go out there and take a chance of being rejected many times, looking like a fool, not having something to say, having ackward moments, etc even if he is good looking.”

      A woman isn’t going to be getting laid unless she dedicates time and money to her appearance. She’s going to be lonely and will have a good dry spell if she doesn’t keep up her long hair, applies some makeup, shaves underarms and legs almost daily, plucks her eyebrow, most likely waxes or bleaches her upper lip.. and more, this is just some basic stuff. Even after all that she still has to wait for men to approach her, feeling rejected every minute that goes by without him not noticing her.
      What you’re not seeing here is that just as men are making an effort to get attention from the women they’re interested in and want to hook up with, women also have to put in a lot of effort to get attention from the men they’re interested in and want to hook up with. The rejection a man faces when a woman he’s interested in turns him down for a date is no different from the feeling of rejection a woman faces when the man she’s interested in, the man she worked hard to look good for, shows her no attention.

      There can be pros and cons to both side but I hope you understand that traditional gendered roles to dating in no way benefit women more than men. The only thing that will make dating easier would be to do away with gendered expectations when it comes to dating. For people to be comfortable with that we would first need to stop slut shaming, stop over sexualizing women’s bodies, repressing women’s sexuality, appreciate women more for attributes other than their physical appearance just as men are, do away with the idea of what’s considered to be a “man,” don’t shame men for being shy, having anxieties, insecurities and feeling vulnerable and stop romanticizing the idea of men taking lead. It’s going to take a long time for these double standards to go away though

      • Hina,

        ” Women on the other hand are completely out of luck unless the man they’re interested in finds them attractive. She isn’t even given the opportunity to win him over with her personality and she has to accept that rejection without even being given the chance.”

        This is all hypothetical on your part. Let’s talk reality. Who does the vast majority of asking or “putting themselves out there?” Men! As a result, who gets rejected most frequently? Men!!!! So, in reality it is us men who most often are never given the chance.

        Men find most women “attractive enough.” Women do not find most men “attractive enough.” Just reality. So, using your logic above, most women are NOT completely out of luck. The majority will fare well. Such is not so for most men as most men are rejected:( In my heart, I know most men would love to be pursued, chased, or asked out by women. Why do I know so? Because, at the end of the day, most men will see sex at the end of the rainbow. Remember, men DO pay for sex!

        A woman’s impact on the male psyche is huge. So much of male self worth is tied to women, sex, and female validation. Just women period. Nearly everything most men do is in some way, directly or indirectly, tied to women. The mere fact that a man has a “hottie” is a huge psychic boost for most men (not me!), even if she is with him for $$$ and/or he is guy #37 for her. It is a sad commentary on the American male, indeed.

        When I was dating, I NEVER sought out the most conventionally attractive or “hot” women. Why? Two reasons: 1) Usually these women have lots of sexual history. Not interested. 2) I find the most intelligent women to be “average” in looks or below average. I prize and value intelligence, personality, adventurousness, kindness etc. in a woman. Looks do not even make my Top 5 preferred qualities.

        So, I think people need to drop this chasing after the “hot” men and “hot” women. Are you really getting quality? I don’t think so. Have you ever noticed that these “hot” and conventionally attractive people rarely marry one another? Date, yes. Marry, No. Hmmm, I wonder why?

        So, where do we go from here? Until we can change this culture of men asking/pursuing/chasing/begging….. and women sitting back enjoying female privilege with dating and sex, nothing is going to change. Right now there is no real incentive for women to change. And men know if they are “to get the girl” or “get laid”….they must be assertive and be the pursuer. Else, we are viewed as “losers” Hence, men paying thousands of $$$$ to PUA knuckleheads. It is a situation I personally detest.

        Men and women alike, especially women really need to broaden their view of attraction. Each would be better served in the long run. But, as the famous economist John Maynard Keynes wrote, “We are all dead in the long run.”

  18. Women have been considered objects for such a long time, that even if that isn’t your opinion , it still worms it’s way into your life. Women wait for the man to make the move because they are a prize to be won. For men, it’s achieving that goal. They’ll put their dignity on the line if it means there’s a chance they’ll succeed and have that victory.

  19. I would love to see more women take the lead and initiative in dating. The patriarchal system has kept women in submissive roles for too long. In business, when women are in charge, research has shown that they have different leadership styles than men, ie. seeking consensus, mutual respect, etc. which translates into better (and more profitable) business practices.

    In personal relationships, if women were to take the lead more often, it may end up translating into more solid, deeper relationships than the ‘one night stands’ that guys are so often seeking. And I’m sure there are a lot of guys out there (maybe not the ‘alpha’ types) that would feel very comfortable in a relationship with a strong, independent woman that has the confidence and initiative to lead…

  20. “for a date is no different from the feeling of rejection a woman faces when the man she’s interested in, the man she worked hard to look good for, shows her no attention.”

    I thought women dress up for each other and often the effort and fashion is more related to other women, and not to attract men. I hear that from other women, but then you say this. So what is it, women putting this effort for themselves and other women or men? Seems like I’m getting contradictions here.

    • I’m not sure who you are responding to, That quote is from someone besides me.

      But I surveyed my women students and about one third dressed for men, About one third dressed for other women, and about one third dressed to look good because society expects that — they were thought more highly of by society. These are women who said that they did dress sexy sometimes — I question them on why they did it.

      • so only a third dress for men. The poster, hina, said women face rejection when the man she’s interested in and she worked hard to look good for shows her no attention. When it’s just a third of women doing that for men, compared to the other third for other women and themselves as well as society.

      • Good question.

        As I was thinking about it I realized that I have always classified myself as being motivated by society. Because on a daily basis, which is the scenario I was thinking about, that’s my motivation.

        On the other hand, if I am interested in a particular man, of course I would dress in a way that I thought would appeal to him.

        Maybe that seems so obvious to women that those answering my survey we’re thinking the same thing? If you’re interested in a particular man, of course you’re going to dress to make him find you attractive. But on a day-to-day basis when you are just going out in the world you may have completely different reasons. And the day-to-day thing is much more common than knowing you’re going to see a particular guy.

        Maybe I will redo the survey and separate these things out sometime. See what happens.

  21. I think more and more these days the woman is taking the first steps and asking the man out. I have done so. I figure, why wait? And some men are simply too shy to ask the woman out. I’m all for taking turns taking the lead 🙂

  22. Having dated man, I completely agree with the beginning thesis that in the early stages of any relationship the woman is always passive, letting the man take charge. Although I must admit that if we pass the first date I will offer to pay, in a way alternating who pays for the date so that no one has to pay more than the other person. I unlike other women have no problem making it a point to show that I can pay for theirs and my things. I would like to hope as well that guys can still be gentlemen and sweep us off our feet in other forms, other than initiating conversation, asking for a date, paying, and initiating the romance of it all. I’d like to think that that power of showing interest should be mutual and be expressed by both partners and not just that man. I fee like that would also contribute to helping men escape from the “man box”.

  23. I believe that men just as always want to be the “dominate” one and prove to their woman that they can be a man. But it still does get me frustrated when they wont let you do anything like i always say it takes TWO to be in a relationship not just one ‘ one cant suffer and the other just chill. But then again i guess guys are just taught that way. I doubt honestly that it will everg change. But i do see some females being able to take charge.

  24. While some women complain about unfairness, some take it granted for a man taking a leadership on a date. Even when I was having a dinner with one of my friend of a guy, a waiter handed a check to him because she thought that he is my boyfriend and it is normal for a guy to pay. I always feel uncomfortable when we are at the casher. Since my boyfriend and I are international students with a student visa, we are not allowed to work outside of campus. I’m fine if he can pay from his paycheck, but now I feel like his parents pay us a meal. Only one solution I found is to give him cash later. Since I’m hoping my boyfriend to pay, I feel kind of guilty when I read this article.

  25. I think also that sometimes, in the case of some men, when a woman pursues him, he feels pressure and backs off, because some men assume a woman is looking for long term or marriage, and the guy isn’t there yet. I think some women can be apprehensive to pursue a guy because of this idea. Of course, this isn’t always the case.

  26. I know you’re busy, but I think you should watch this video. I caught it last night, just happened to be on CNN and watched it. I’m sure you’ve heard of Lisa Ling, she’s a journalist, and she’s done other shows and I’ve seen her before. She has a show called this is life with Lisa Ling where she covers different stories in each episode. In this one, it covered men in the pick up artist game.

    But it wasn’t what you think. This was different. She obviously was not liking it when she read some of the things this pick up artist wrote for his pick up artist boot camp so to speak. But she promised she’d try to keep an open mind first. She met a man signed up for this camp which is out in nevada. I have to admit, many times I see some guys who go to such lengths or maybe think they are creeps, which might be true some of the time or they are bad men and such. But this story after covering it showed not men who wanted to use women or sleazes, but men who have been beaten down and rejected and failing in the pressure of dating and matching up to expectations or the way I saw it. yes low self esteem, but I liked how it went to the story of the guys in it.

    Lisa Ling who initially was skeptical and maybe cynical, as she was there with these men she grew compassion and I think some empathy and even didn’t hate the pick up artist guy training them after she learned what the real goal and training was about. The facade to the online ad was about hooking up with women, because it was to help draw attention, but the artist’s training was really for men to build their self esteem. It made me think of the blog you had with the lesbian women who wrote a book about her experience dressed as a man and seeing men in their battles. I have to admit it caught me in the feels a little bit ha, which I didn’t expect. The thing is, I don’t see why their can’t be a duality with empathy for women and men in dating too. I feel for women that they have to deal with cat calling, body pressures, slut shaming and creeps. But not all men are creeps and some good decent guys “failing in life” or feeling like failures, because of many reasons, and because they can’t talk to women or think they can’t and because of how things are set up with women and men. I have to say I did feel bad for the crooked eye guy in the beginning after talking about being bullied growing up and stuff. I have more to say, but I want to wait until after you chime in about the video if and when you see it. her’es the link, sorry dailymotion has some commercials. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3i3i5a_this-is-life-with-lisa-ling-02-07_tv

  27. I do have to say the pua does look like a tool ha, his hair annoys me, but I still liked this episode. I think you should watch it if you can though

  28. I didn’t think I wrote that much, but I thought the video was interesting if you want to watch it. I’ll make a quicker summary if you repost it.

    • I’ll get back to you on it later. I did watch the video. I had seen the tail end of it on TV and was curious to have seen the whole thing so I appreciate your sending me the link. But I haven’t had time to get through your whole comment yet.

  29. But this story after covering it showed not men who wanted to use women or sleazes, but men who have been beaten down and rejected and failing in the pressure of dating and matching up to expectations or the way I saw it. yes low self esteem, but I liked how it went to the story of the guys in it.

    Lisa Ling who initially was skeptical and maybe cynical, as she was there with these men she grew compassion and I think some empathy and even didn’t hate the pick up artist guy training them after she learned what the real goal and training was about. The facade to the online ad was about hooking up with women, because it was to help draw attention, but the artist’s training was really for men to build their self esteem. It made me think of the blog you had with the lesbian women who wrote a book about her experience dressed as a man and seeing men in their battles. I have to admit it caught me in the feels a little bit ha, which I didn’t expect.

    The thing is, I don’t see why their can’t be a duality with empathy for women and men in dating too. I feel for women that they have to deal with cat calling, body pressures, slut shaming and creeps. But not all men are creeps and some good decent guys “failing in life” or feeling like failures, because of many reasons, and because they can’t talk to women or think they can’t and because of how things are set up with women and men. I have to say I did feel bad for the crooked eye guy in the beginning after talking about being bullied growing up and stuff. I have more to say, but I want to wait until after you chime in about the video if and when you see it. her’es the link, sorry dailymotion has some commercials. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3i3i5a_this-is-life-with-lisa-ling-02-07_tv

    • Yeah, I was surprised to see that the guys were more motivated by relationships than with just using and using women. I do remember hearing one guy say that you did helping to meet women, but it didn’t help him develop relationships. But that guy had a different teacher. This guy was working much more on self-confidence. The other guy was talking more about techniques. I should write on this sometime. Thanks for sending the link to the video.

      • Yeah it was interesting in the sense that I expected to see these men as creeps and bad guys. They might have come across as creeps before to some women, not because they are men of bad intentions, but because of their social akwardness and being weird maybe that could’ve have put some women on defense. But what about you, I did actually feel bad for the first guy with the glasses in the beginning of the video, that was talking about his past with being bullied and how it’s damaged his self esteem and you could see it in him how he talked and felt, like he was just disheartened. And it was surprising too, like the black guy, he seemed like a decent looking guy and not what I expected.

        Sometimes you picture how some guys look who are bad with women and such, which the glasses guy and others kind of gave the visual. But the black guy, looked like a normal, decent guy and others I’ve seen with face, body, dress and way he talked who do fine with women, so it surprised me he was struggling just as much as the other men despite his appearance, look and build, when you usually see guys who look like him, be the complete opposite with women, as he had a look like the guys I see that have no fear in talking up women in clubs and such and getting numbers. It just goes to show, how the cover of the book can be misleading sometimes.

      • Yeah, there were a number of surprises. I was amazed by how much the guy with the glasses changed — how much more confident he seemed. I was really happy to see that. A lot of them definitely went against stereotype.

  30. Men do not prefer to be pursuer it is a myth perpetuated by women. Men would love to share the burdern of primary pursuer who takes all the ris. It is however women who prefer for traditionalism to remain in dating because of female privilege. Equality should split all roles 50%, not just the roles women want to shed. Equality for men: shared responsibilities and expectations. Equality for women: cherry pick her favourite bits of equality and traditionalism. Why are women afraid of equality?

    • You can ignore social science research if you like.

      But I wish it were otherwise, too.

      I feel it is important that women and men should be able to equally ask each other out. And more than half of my women students have done so, with varying results. Did you read the other posts? They are all listed under “related posts” at the end of this one.

      But the fact that on average, both men and women prefer that men ask women out shows that it’s not just about cherry picking. Both men and women have internalized a culture that limits women.

      Here’s more on women internalizing a culture that limits them, and how it works:

      Why Do Women Fight Their Own Interests?
      https://broadblogs.com/2016/01/01/why-do-women-fight-their-interests/

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