Friday, November 4, 2016

Dating and Masculinity

The other day my friend and I were talking about who pays on dates. This is of course one of the few first questions a boy asks when you start talking about your feminism. I told him that I tell the guy I'm supposed to go on a date with up front that I intend on paying for myself. This makes sense to me because I have two jobs, I'm more than capable of paying for my own meal. I don't want to feel like I owe my date something because he paid for my meal. But when I was telling my friend that, he said that when girls insist on paying, he feels like he's doing something wrong.

I've been thinking this over for a few days. It caught me off guard, because I felt for sure my reasons made the most logical sense--girls shouldn't be in a position where they might owe their date something, and we have money. Dates aren't based on who pays, right? But after talking to him, I realized that it really does matter to people who pays. And to guys, it's almost a threat to their masculinity in the dating setting because they are blocked from paying for the date. To me, it's a covert way we reinforce that men are the providers, women receive, and give back in other ways. It implies that the men have the money. It implies that their ability to provide is what makes them a man. To disrupt this premise sends red flags for guys. Is this girl really into me if she won't pay? Is it really a date? Did I do something wrong?

I think that this limited view of masculinity needs to shift from being based upon who can pay. This limits guys who can't pay for dates and harms their self-esteem. It also prevents women from being able to assert their own ability to make money and spoil their date, because in turn it would insult their masculinity. This rigid view of gender roles leaves us dating like we're still in the '50s.

1 comment:

Michelle Francis said...

If a guy ask me to go on a date, I am not coming out of my pocket for nothing. He asked so he should pay. If I was the one asking him on a date, then I would pay for the date. I am old school when it comes to this topic because I believe a man should pay if he is asking for the date. I am all for independence but not when it comes to allowing a man to pay for a date that he asked for.