I happened upon an article by Alex Johannigman titled Dating, Dancing, and Why We Need Gender Roles More Than We Think
My eyes are literally sore from all the rolling.
Ok, let’s start off with Johannigman’s assertion that we have lost something valuable in the evolution of dating.
We are long past the days of “traditional courtship” where a man would ask a woman out on a date several days to a week in advance, show up to the woman’s home in an ironed shirt and slacks, and take her out to a nice romantic restaurant where he would open the door for her on the way in and out and always pay for the meal. These days, it seems like text messaging and instant messaging are the typical ways to ask someone out on a date, if you are even so bold as to call it a formal date instead of “hanging out.” And it can be the man or the woman to initiate. Sometimes the man will offer to pay, but the woman may find that insulting, as if he thinks that she can’t take care of herself. Some would say that this is a sign of progress towards gender equality, while others may argue that we’ve lost something important in the process.
Yes, we are long past the days when you could buy a woman’s affection without looking like a sexist jerk. Honestly, I’m just going to keep doing blockquotes and let him dig his own grave.
this trend is frustrating for both women, who feel like they aren’t treated with the type of respect that they deserve, and for men, who feel like they can’t act chivalrously for fear of seeming like they view women as inferior or needing additional protection and care. Suddenly “gender roles,” a term which, during my time in college, had always been preceded with words like “outdated” or “repressive” or both, seemed to be something our society was desperately in need of. I realized that it was time to admit that being equal in value or worth is not the same as being identical, interchangeable beings. As Suzanne Venker wrote in a piece earlier this year about how making men and women out to be identical has made us all less happy, “It’s time to say what no one else will: Feminism didn’t result in equality between the sexes – it resulted in mass confusion. Today, men and women have no idea who’s supposed to do what.”
The problem here is that Johannigman is assigning “gender roles” that are deeply infected with gender essentialism and sexism. You’re not opening the door for me because you’re polite- you’re opening it because you’re a man and I’m a woman. The idea behind this gesture is that I am too dainty and fragile to open it for myself. Whether or not you believe that, by assigning yourself as the ‘door-opener’ you are perpetuating a sexist ideology.
Also, I am BEYOND fed up with this argument that feminism has made women generally more unhappy. Ok 1. There is absolutely no way you can actually measure that, so stop. 2. If you are a woman and you feel that you are worse off because of feminism… You’re honestly kind of an idiot… Like if you enjoy voting, 14th amendment coverage, and legislative protections for women, FEMINISM HAS MADE YOUR LIFE BETTER. That’s not even touching on the fact that feminism has revolutionized the way women are treated in their everyday life. I mean if you would like to go back to being second class citizens, move to the Middle East because your argument is flawed and ridiculous.
I love that Joha, as I am now going to refer to him, is relieved when he finds a girl who wants him to take charge and be the “pursuer.” I’m going to level with you, Joha. I enjoy being pursued too. But what I have realized is that as nice as it is to feel like a prize that a suitor has to win, I am not a “prize.” I am a human, just like the dude trying to get in my pants. By allowing myself to consistently be pursued I am perpetuating the ideology that asserts women are these perfect, unattainable, mysterious sirens. It’s the ideology that makes women nervous about eating a burger in public, it’s what makes it ok for guys to burp in public, but not women. It’s a double standard- and whether or not it’s “benefiting” me, it’s just as insidious as any other.
Menfolk- you should appreciate the decline of this double standard! How long have you borne the burden of always making the first move and been viewed as the savages that need saving by the purity and grace of women. Just like I do not need a man to be complete or my best self, men do not need women to be comp… Blah, blah, blah.
I no longer had to worry about how she would react if I offered to pay for dinner, to open the door for her, or to make all of the plans for when and where we should spend time together. It was also a huge confidence boost for me knowing that I’m doing what I’m supposed to do… It was still incredibly refreshing to be in a relationship where I didn’t have to wonder whether I should treat the girl I was dating like a woman, a man, or something in between.
Yes, if Joha had had a girlfriend that didn’t want him to open the door for her, he would not know whether to treat her like “a man, woman, or something in between.” Since I’ve probably already offended Joha, let’s not go half-way.
How dare you? This is not only incredibly offensive to every woman who has enough self-respect to be an equal partner in a relationship, but also just fucking idiotic. If she doesn’t have a penis, don’t treat her like a man- even if she does have a penis, treat her like a fucking human being. Is that really not obvious?
Next, Joha is going to make me want to claw my eyes out with a comparison of dating and dancing:
I’ve been spending a lot of time dancing over the past couple weeks (well, and over the past 6 years if I’m totally honest), and have noticed that there are a lot of similarities between social dancing and dating.
1. In both, you need a leader and a follower. If both people are trying to lead, they’ll crash into each other. And if both people are trying to follow, nothing will ever happen.
OH MY GOD WHAT?
2. One person needs to be the initiator, and the other needs to be the receiver. No one will dance if everyone is wandering around the dance hall asking people to dance with them, and no one is accepting the invitations being extended.
Ok bad writing and thinking here… What he’s really saying is the boys ask the girls and DEAR GOD NOT VIS VERSA
3. Dancing works best when the guy is really good at leading and the gal is really good at following. Likewise, men need to know how to treat women with dignity, and women need to know how to graciously accept acts of kindness. Think back to the sinking of the Titanic. An estimated 1500 people died, but only about 109 of them were women because the men on the ship offered the life rafts to the women and children. This seems like a pretty good deal for everyone, as the men get to satisfy our natural desire to provide and protect, while women are able to continue to nurture any children that they have, and get to, you know, stay alive.
Oh. My. God. Thank you menfolk for saving my fellow frail sisters from the clutches of the Atlantic… Let us recall that a the time that the Titanic crashed WOMEN COULD NOT VOTE.They were second-class citizens and you want me to thank men for sacrificing themselves in a dire emergency for their loved ones… Right. Ok, Joha.
Then we have “women need to know how to graciously accept acts of kindness.” You are the asshole on the street that tells me I’m a bitch for ignoring your unsolicited ‘compliments’. You are the jerk on the subway who tells me to smile even though you are a complete stranger and maybe that’s just my resting face. Dating works best when the guy is the leader and the gal is the follower? Seriously, bite me. Like I’m not even going to dignify that.
Either some men on board would offer life boats to women, and the women would then refuse them because they abhor being treated differently than men, and then everyone sinks together while confusion breaks out about who should get which rafts.
DEAR GOD. Your assumption that all feminists are ungrateful bitches is so offensive and disgusting, Joha. Like I’m sick.
I love it when a lady tells me to stop leading so many spins because it is making her dizzy, or when she offers to teach me a new move that she learned in a class one time that I’ve never seen before. Even after those suggestions, I’m still responsible for leading, but hopefully now the dancing will be even more enjoyable for both of us.
When Joha is confronted with the dating equivalent of a safe word, he thanks the little lady for her suggestion, but he’s still in charge. I’m dizzy from the tornado of bullshit.
So if you want to see gender roles being used to create something logical, beautiful, and a little bit magical, go spend some time dancing and experience for yourself the joy of moving in union with another person who was created by God specifically to complement you.
Joha doesn’t seem to understand how sociology affects gender roles. Young children grow up in gendered ways in large part because nurture (as opposed to nature) is an incredibly strong force from cradle to grave. Think about the toy aisles in Toys R Us for girls and boys. They act differently because we tell them they’re supposed to.
Now I know I’ve been quite sassy to poor Joha here, but it’s not personal. Oh wait, yeah it totally is. I found his article to be a degrading, offensive misrepresentation of modern dating and equality. Joha clearly has zero understanding of feminism and unilaterally dismisses feminists and women who don’t appreciate gender essentialism as ungrateful bitches.
I’m honestly speechless.
Here’s the link to the worst thing I’ve read this week: