A New York Times article called The End of Courtship? suggested that changing gender roles hookup culture, and texting was completely destroying dating and courtship.
Now, I’m no fan of texting, but I firmly believe in smart, strong, successful women and hooking up. Which is why I was somewhat surprised that one of the better rebuttals to my favorite newspaper came from a feminist site that once wrote the nastiest things about me in 2007.
You’re treated how you allow yourself to be treated.
But hey, good writing is good writing. The author, Jill, asserts largely the same thing that I assert here: you’re treated how you allow yourself to be treated. If you’re the woman who agrees to communicate exclusively via text, hook up when ever he suggests, and not insist upon commitment, then you will have a very different worldview from a woman who insists that men call, plan and pay for dates, and commit before sex. But this doesn’t mean that courtship is in crisis. It’s just different.
“Communication is especially different, since now we have cellphones and social media – we do indeed use those things to communicate. And yes, changing gender roles mean that women don’t have to sit around waiting to be asked out, and that we get to pick what we order for ourselves off the menu. Certain aspects of dating are more casual, because people date for many more years before getting hitched. We tend to date many more people. We’re more mobile and often live away from our parents, which means we cultivate local “families” in our social circles. We don’t just want to see how well our partners get along with our biological families; we want to see how well they get along with our friends, and if we share the same values and social preferences.”
So, even though our processes may be more complicated and create more points of friction, these options help us ultimately end up in a better place than our predecessors:
“People who delay marriage until they’re in their 30s or later (and, one assumes, end up dating a wider variety of people) tend to have happier and more stable marriages once they do get married. Getting to try out lots of ways of dating – more formal dinners, first-date drinks, casual romances – can teach you quite a bit about your own preferences and desires. And a diversity of dating models means that you can pick and choose what works for you at any given time: If you’re focused on work and just want to have a little fun you can cultivate a consistent hook-up; if you want to party and meet a ton of new people you can do that; or if you’re relationship-focused you can do what the woman at the end of the piece does, and refuse to waste time with people who aren’t going to be similarly formal about dating.”
Yep. That’s pretty much what I’ve been saying here for years. Too bad Feministe still probably thinks I’m a misogynist, even though my life is dedicated to helping women create happy relationships. Guess that’s what you get when you tell women how to adjust to reality instead of blaming men for everything that’s wrong in the world. C’est la vie.
Read the full piece on Feministe.us and share your thoughts below.