Nicole Johnson explains that while women are gaining equality in the 21st century, the dating marketplace still places an unfair burden upon men.
In the 21st century, women’s equality continues to thrive, permeating all aspects of society and industry. However, there is one area where women consistently have more power over men: the dating marketplace.
In the dating marketplace, women have a distinct advantage over men because of gender. The demands women face are not commensurate to the extensive requirements placed upon men. Consequently, dating is not an equal playing field.
If you’re a woman in the dating marketplace, all you have to do is show up. That’s it ladies, that’s all you have to do; your presence is the prerequisite. Women are naturally alluring. The female mystique is intriguing and intoxicating. Regardless of beauty, bank account, dress size or shape, men love gazing at women while basking in their femininity. In fact, regardless of sexual orientation, women love looking at other women. Moreover, you could survey every woman in America and they would tell you the same thing: not only do they dress to impress men they dress to impress other women.
If you’re a man in the dating marketplace, the pressures and expectations are double that of a woman’s to make a first and lasting impression. The dating and relationship requirements placed upon men are staggering. Try placing yourself in a man’s mind and body for a moment. Take into account the demands he feels inside and outside of the dating marketplace.
If you dissect the evidence, men have greater difficulty than women forging through our dating society and should be given some latitude. For those of you who think I am being too lenient on men, I will provide you with substantial proof to support my theory.
There are pervasive stereotypes of American men. Here’s the short list: men are expected to be brave, men are expected to be confident, men are expected to succeed, men are expected to be dependable, men are expected to be proactive, and men are expected to be providers. Additionally, men are not allowed to flounder, men are not allowed to be vulnerable, men are not allowed to be weak, and men are not allowed to be overtly emotional.
Men also have to contend with these cultural clichés: “Grow a pair,” “Take your balls out of your purse,” and the ubiquitous, “Man Up.” Interestingly enough, the female equivalents to this vernacular are nonexistent. Imagine a woman saying to another woman, “Take your breasts out of your briefcase” or “Woman Up.” I didn’t think so.
Let’s take these expectations of men and add the demands of dating and relationships to the mix. In the dating marketplace, men are expected to be: bold, smart, funny, accomplished, charming, chivalrous, complimentary, and romantic. In conjunction with these attributes, men are expected to look stylish, have dynamic personalities, have great jobs and fabulous friends, pay for the check, read women’s minds, AND rock a woman’s world in bed. In fact, let’s add proficiency with post-coital cuddling to a man’s “good on paper” list while we’re at it.
To further emphasize the issue, here are supplementary stereotypical expectations of men: A man is expected to pay for the first date. A man is expected to initiate a conversation about asking for a second date (or several dates thereafter). A man is expected to hold the door open for a woman. A man is expected to “take the lead” by tipping the valet or checking coats. A man is expected to ask a woman’s father for her hand in marriage. A man is expected to propose marriage to a woman. A man is expected to be a family’s provider.
Can you see why the dating marketplace is more challenging for men? Can you imagine having to live up to these chivalrous standards? Can you see why women should be giving men a little leeway? I am not giving the men a free pass here; however, it is vital to highlight the incessant pressures they encounter.
Men obviously have expectations of women, and I’m extremely empathetic to the dating hurdles women have to overcome. However, they are not nearly as mandatory (or comparable) to what is required of men for dating and relationship success. Hence, let’s not delude ourselves. We all know certain men will never be given a chance if they do not live up to or meet the aforementioned criteria.
This is the 21st century, and yes, there is a shift in gender roles. Amen! Although, in romantic relationships, certain gender roles and expectations still exist and may always exist. By acknowledging the dating and relationship inequities between the sexes, along with the additional pressures men must combat, falling in love will become an easier process. So please, give the good men a break.