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Gender Roles


Kevin T
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I have a question which I'd like to hear both men and women's responses to.

 

I have been thinking about gender roles and what is expected by each gender for its given role. Traditionally, men have been given the role of being the officiator of a relationship, as well as being the initiator in verbal contact in intergender communications. Conversely, women have been given the role of the passive, docile, recipient of the said male's advances (either with positive feedback or negative feedback).

 

Now, (at least within the structure of Western culture) do you feel that these roles in intergender social interactions are still valid? Give examples if you can. Or do you feel that these older models for human behavior are obsolete and something that we do not - or should not - be following anymore? Why is this so?

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I think it is definitely changing. I mean I am viewing this from afar in the sense that I have been out of the dating game for 6 or 7 years but it seems to me that younger females today are far more comfortable initiating things than they were when I was 16 - 21. Ithink the internet and all the connections available via that medium have assisted in that.

 

definitely I think the gender "roles" have become increasingly blurred.

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I think they're out of date. Originally the roles were based on the men go off and hunt while the women have and raise children. Having children is physically demanding and would put a heavy burden on the women not allowing her to hunt for herself. Thousands of years of evolution and slow changing of diet and medicine and the progression of technology no longer make men necessary for a woman to survive. Men are needed to procreate and most women are attracted to them sexually, but the dynamic the what each brings to the relationship is no longer mismatched and women have much more status in society.

 

The docile and quiet female is outdated because she is not going to be bashed on the head for not being receptive to men. Women are just as vibrant and alive as men, they aren't passive or weaker. The world is finally coming to realize half of its population is under utilized and restricted just because their sexual organs are on the inside.

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In my opinion...as a woman, I think that it has a lot to do with the strides women are making in the workforce. I think that we are becoming more aggressive and not quite as passive as we once were because we were "suppose" to be that way... -

 

I talk with my mother a lot about what things were like for her as a wife and mother when she first got married- she said it's what you were supppose to do. I don't think that todays woman share the same belief. I know that I don't.

 

Woman only got the right to vote in what the 30's?

 

I think that woman are also realizing we have choices when it comes to dating..so we go after what we want.

 

But that doesn't mean you men can kick back..no sir...you have to find a new way to get our attention =)

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In the 70s I thought I saw the rise of civil rights and feminism topple those stereotypes and only just recently found that a backlash by men and more importantly, women, has attempted to turn back the clock to some fictitious golden age of propriety, where all the world's ills don't exist. To many younger folks, life must have been keen when men ran everything and women stayed quiet and never got uppity.

 

What I saw wasn't so perfect and wonderful. Maybe it was the 40s, 30s, or 20s, maybe when women couldn't vote, hold political office or run a company. I don't get it. The good old days seem good because they're safely frozen in amber.

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For your answer, you can look to your own life. You always talk about how women who approach you are the ones you aren't interested in while the ones you do want are out nowhere to be found.

 

The fact of the matter is that most attractive women have a good supply of suitors and have no reason to go seeking more. Also evolutionary psychology has made it so these girls will expect the guy to approach as the first screening of alpha males in order to select out the beta ones.

 

The only way you're going to get the love life you want is if you overcome your approach anxiety. It's the only way you're going to get the girls you want.

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I have a question which I'd like to hear both men and women's responses to.

 

I have been thinking about gender roles and what is expected by each gender for its given role. Traditionally, men have been given the role of being the officiator of a relationship, as well as being the initiator in verbal contact in intergender communications. Conversely, women have been given the role of the passive, docile, recipient of the said male's advances (either with positive feedback or negative feedback).

 

Now, (at least within the structure of Western culture) do you feel that these roles in intergender social interactions are still valid? Give examples if you can. Or do you feel that these older models for human behavior are obsolete and something that we do not - or should not - be following anymore? Why is this so?

 

I'm just answering for dating purposes because at work, there is no significant differentiation between male and female communication roles, etc (I've been a professional in the corporate world for 12 years)

 

I think the roles are valid but not as you described. I find it typically works best when the man initiates asking out the woman on a date and does most of the initiating and planning of the early dates, until the couple is a "couple" and it is understood that they will see each other regularly. I do not see the woman as passive or docile - she should be active and proactive in showing her interest (except not by initiating dates or initiating phone calls - at least she should do the minority of that in the beginning) - this can include offering input on issues (work, family, other) in the man's life, initiating discussions on just about anything, showing appreciation for the planning and for the dates, etc.

 

I have been in and out of the dating scene for 25 years (out for over a year as I have a boyfriend), dated (including first dates) hundreds of men, have had many close male friends and many close female friends and it is the way it has worked this whole time for me and all of my friends (now ages late 20s to 50s, most in their mid to late 30s)

 

I have asked men out and have had no real problem doing so other than it is ineffective if a woman wants a relationship. Most men no matter how shy (as long as they are not mentally ill/unstable) who are emotionally and otherwise available will at least ask a woman to have coffee if he is sincerely interested in dating her. I know of no happy, healthy long term relationships where the woman initiated most of the phone calls and dates in the beginning of the relationship.

 

As far as specific examples, hmm let's see - over 20 years ago a really shy guy met me at a dinner (not a date) - I mentioned I worked accross the street. He did not ask me out that night because he was too shy. Instead, he got the phone number of the place accross the street (had to figure out which one it was) and called me at work two days later to ask me out.

 

Last week, a man in my age group waited a half hour to continue a conversation with me while I talked to someone else at a gathering. He followed me out of the building, asked me for coffee and for my number (i declined - told him I had a boyfriend).

 

I had a wonderful first date three years ago - he did not ask me out for a second date at the end but he did email me. I initiated the next phone call, got the conversation around to activities, initiated the idea of going out again and "sealed the deal" with time and place. He accepted and was basically distant on date two (where he had been very enthusiastic on date one).

 

I had a wonderful first date over 10 years ago - meaning (and in the case above) they talked about our potential future together, how great it was to have met me, conversation flowed. After that date he said he would call me before the weekend to make plans to see a particular movie. He didn't call so I called him and reminded him about the tentative plans. He agreed but not with much enthusiasm. He was distant on date two and never called again.

 

A few years ago, a man I had just started dating would call me on Thursday nights to see me the next day. I declined twice because I had plans and then casually mentioned I usually made my plans in advance (and he wasn't "that type"). From then on he made plans in advance because he knew that was the only way to insure I was available.

 

A friend of mine had a major crush on a teacher at her school - he is in his late 20s. He initiated all sorts of flirting and hand touching for 2-3 weeks. She gave him a letter expressing her feelings and he said he felt the same way. She planned a casual dinner for his upcoming birthday. Shortly thereafter he told her all his "secrets" about how he and his friends were players - as if he were talking to a buddy. She was angry thinking he had lead her on - I said - well he obviously was attracted to you but since he never asked you out on a proper date, who knows what the extent of his interest was.

 

I do not think these examples prove anything whatsoever - they are just examples - it only proves that it has worked this way for me and hundreds of people I know - it doesn't prove that a man who a woman asks out is not that into her or he would have asked her out himself - although I believe it strongly tends to show that. I am not trying to be "right" here just give you examples of male-female interactions in romantic relationships. I will say I strongly believe that male-female roles in romantic relationships should not be compared at all to male-female roles in the workplace. Apples and oranges - women have every right to demand and get equality in the workplace and follow traditional female roles in a romantic relationship. Nothing hypocritical about that because they are two radically different - can't be compared - spheres in life.

 

In every serious long term relationship I have had since 1982 (and that would be about 7, more than half of whom had serious intentions and plans of marrying me, the rest were too young to consider marriage), including many shorter relationships, the man has done most of the pursuing in the beginning, asked me to be exclusive fairly early on, etc.

 

Other examples - when I am in a relationship (and most of my serious boyfriends including the one now have been in the same profession as me, similar level in the rankings) the men enjoy taking care of me in their male roles like carrying heavy packages for me, making sure I have gotten home safely at night after work (even if we're not together), holding doors, helping me on with my coat, etc. I enjoy taking care in a more female way - cooking, helping them shop for clothes, etc.

 

Do I think it's obsolete? No, not in the least and those who say it is typically are women who are pursuing a man who is not that into them and use it as an excuse to do the pursuing. Haven't seen that be successful just yet (i.e happy long term relationship)

 

Should they change - sure, why not. Do I want to help effectuate the change? No, I do not want to risk turning men off or pursuing men who are not that into me anyway - I'll let someone else take that risk!

 

Good questions!

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Interesting points, all. I'm just wondering, myself, if the roles really have changed, or if we just think they have. I dunno...

 

 

For your answer, you can look to your own life. You always talk about how women who approach you are the ones you aren't interested in while the ones you do want are out nowhere to be found.

 

The fact of the matter is that most attractive women have a good supply of suitors and have no reason to go seeking more. Also evolutionary psychology has made it so these girls will expect the guy to approach as the first screening of alpha males in order to select out the beta ones.

 

The only way you're going to get the love life you want is if you overcome your approach anxiety. It's the only way you're going to get the girls you want.

 

I can see what you're saying and I mostly agree with you. It's true the ones that pursue me, I don't want, and the ones I'd pursue... well, what even happens from there? *shrugs*

 

But I have to disagree with you that most attractive women have all the potential suitors. I don't see that. Granted, I don't follow them around 24/7 either, but I think that is a bit of a generalization. However, you're definitely right that I am getting nowhere by expecting women to do all the work. (But hey, it would be nice. And, in this so-called day of equality and female's liberation, etc., you'd think that more women WOULD be the ones doing the approaching.) But they're not. I'm not saying it never happens, but it rarely does, and when it has... it never worked out well anyway.

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It's not that I don't it's that I have never found it to be effective since I only date for potentially serious long term relationships. many years ago it worked just fine if I just wanted to play kissy face for an evening. I have asked out several men and to me, equality for women in the workplace has nothing to do with female and male roles in a romantic relationship. At work I pursue what I want - I initiate contact with potential clients for example, etc. - in romantic relationships, in the very beginning I am friendly, warm, approachable and show interest - but allow the man to ask me out on a proper date. I say "allow" because I would be happy to do it if it seemed effective. No one I know is in a happy healthy long term relationship where the women did most of the asking, calling, planning in the first month or two of the relationship. What typically happens in that situation is either a casual fling, one or two dates and then a slow fade away by the man, or no response at all.

 

I also find that the men i like appreciate that I can wear my professional hat at work - where I can be where needed aggressive, etc and remove that in social or dating situations where I am more "myself" i.e. softer, more feminine, etc. Feminine qualities are not really valued in my field (with a few exceptions) either by men or women. They are valued in my relationships and I think that's great.

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Definitely. Despite what people may say, feminine characteristics are still very heavily valued and expected in relationships. I don't think gender roles, at least in dating settings, have diminished as much as the liberated feminists would have us to believe.

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Definitely. Despite what people may say, feminine characteristics are still very heavily valued and expected in relationships. I don't think gender roles, at least in dating settings, have diminished as much as the liberated feminists would have us to believe.

 

I am not a feminist but I don't think the feminist point of view is that gender roles have changed that much just that people should recognize that while they exist they need to be changed.

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