Beauty, Brains, and Buckets: The Politics Behind Women "Shooting Their Shots"

I’m sure many women have heard the phrase, “Men are natural hunters so, let them chase you,” and if not exactly that, something along those lines.

Women are reminded of the distinct differences between women and men daily. Whether it be in the work world, in normal social activity, in politics, and in any other area of that requires interaction between men and women, the constant air of difference between the two groups is always present. However, almost two decades into the 21st century, there seems to be a shift in the interactions.

As the social dynamics of men and women such as with the increase of women in politics and even the narrowing of the wage gap, we openly welcome these changes, but one area seems to be changing slower than the rest and, unfortunately, many women are okay with that: the area of dating!  

As little girls, we are told that women were the chosen and men were the choosers in regards to the "search for love" that humans have been taking part in since the beginning of time. However, the idea that "men are the searchers" is being challenged more and more as women run to assert their womanhood in every facet of their lives. The challenge of the concept that men are hunters, and subsequently, women are prey, is reflective of the generational disconnect between Millennials and members of earlier generations. In Psychology Today, Dr. Goal Zaedi discusses the gap and the challenge saying, “You see, many of us were brought up by a generation of parents who came to be married in times of more traditional dating and courtship.” In the article, Zaedi refers to the previous generation’s tendency to fall into standard gender roles when courting, those same gender roles that women today are forcefully rejecting.

The dynamics of dating in the 1900s were as expected: men pursue, women succumb. But due to the rise in feminism of the 60s, the dynamics began to take a dramatic shift. According to researchers at Miami University, feminism had a “big impact on dating rituals. Women were now empowered more than ever to think of themselves not as just a wife but also a human being." 

In 2017, the dynamics are still shifting. In an attempt to find love at their own pace and considering their wants and needs, women are taking men up on the offer of having the "ball in her court." (Or, the idea that she holds the ultimate decision to determine the direction of the relationship.) Women are coming to realize that the “the-man-is-the-natural-hunter” concept is more of an outdated tradition rather than law, as they were raised to believe.

Though feminists welcome this change in the dating dynamics, critics make the claim that feminism is destroying masculine and feminine roles, and in essence, the rituals of dating altogether. Crystal Wright of The Washington Times states, "Unlike my mother's generation where gender roles were uniquely defined and respected in America, the 1960's feminist movement and the offspring of liberalism have led to the death of masculinity in America today." Wright goes on to discuss how women's assertion of equality in the area of dating has had negative effects on the social interactions between men and women claiming that women's striving for equality, in actuality, presents an overwhelming dominance about men in the area of dating. She continues, "Today's American culture no longer celebrates men and women's biological difference. Consequently, romance has been sucked out of dating." Wright's claims that women's feminism regarding seeking equality in relationships does, indeed, have some substance, but I would beg to differ on the accuracy of the claim.

According to the "Singles in America" study led by Dr. Justin R. Garcia, the Scientific Advisor for the well-known relationship site "Match" and Ruth Halls, a Gender Studies student at the Kinsey Institue, feminism has had a positive effect on dating since the 1960s. In the study, after surveying single men, results showed that 59% of single men thought feminism changed dating rules for the better. The study revealed that over 50% of single men believed feminism has made dating "safer, more enjoyable, and easier."

The study also incorporated the thoughts of women. 57% of women said feminism made them "feel more empowered in their dating life."

As research shows, feminism promotes a better interaction between men and women who seek relationships with those of the opposite sex by presenting more mediums for communication and understanding. Women's attempts to assert their preferences in the dating world (i.e. their sexual, personal, spiritual, and even physical preferences) are their attempts to assert their humanness in a relationship.  Historically, such humanness had been dismissed due to objectification, sexualization, and gender roles forced on women.

If she cannot choose anything else in her life, whether it be the number of sexual partners she wishes to have in the course of a short period, or what happens to her unborn child, the least that society can give her is the choice of who she decides to love.

With the shift in dating dynamics, now is a better time than any for women to recognize themselves as "choosers" instead of solely "the chosen."

So, go ahead. Shoot your shot, honey; it's 2017. You already have beauty and brains; now it’s time to get these buckets.

Sources used:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/millennial-media/201209/should-women-pursue-men

https://danielmiessler.com/blog/the-dating-power-flip-at-age-30/#gs.iJzf9y8

http://jrscience.wcp.muohio.edu/reflections/FinalArticles/DatingMatingandRelating.D.html