By Monique Zamir, BounceBack.com Editorial Staff
You’re out with the guys at a bar when a girl approaches you and starts flirting. She gets your number, but you can’t help feeling a bit off-put that she was the one that made the first move, and not you.
Let’s reverse this situation. You’re out with the girls and there’s a guy you see that you really dig, but you’re too nervous to approach him. You’re never sure about the conventions of approaching guys you’re attracted to, so you decide to just give him subtle cues until he actually approaches you.
Both of these situations are centered on general stereotypes regarding men or women and dating conventions. The one represented in these examples is pretty obvious; men always make the first move. We’re here to look at this and other stereotypes and see how true they really are. We’ve pulled together three stereotypes for men and three for women, each male stereotype reflects each female stereotype.
Men: Men make the first move and that’s the way they want it.
I’ve read enough female-oriented magazines to know that this isn’t true. But really, we live in an age where there are constantly changing power dynamics and social structures. We are eliminating hierarchies based on gender, race, religion, etc. Following rules like this isn’t moving anyone forward, especially not you. Men that are still turned off by women that approach them either need to reevaluate their selves or will be left in the dust.
Women: Women shouldn’t really make the first move.
It’s hard to tell whether apprehension towards approaching someone comes from sheer nervousness or from this convention. It’s probably a mixture of the two; regardless, there will almost always be some apprehension about making a move towards someone you’re into but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. The point is that in this day and age it really shouldn’t matter who makes the first move, but if the person you’re approaching actually cares about it then they’re probably not someone you want to be involved with in the first place.
Men: Men are strong, virile people; they’re emotionally closed off and they don’t cry.
This one is pretty easy; you can’t apply these traits to all men in the world, or even most of them. The fact is that some men are more emotionally closed off and others aren’t at all. It depends entirely on the individual.
Women: Women are emotionally open, passive, and weak.
Again, not true. It’s too easy to classify half the population as being too emotional, things like these are really only applicable on the individual level. And to throw some science into the mix, a 1998 study conducted by Vanderbilt University psychologist Ann Kring came to the conclusion that men and women experience the same level of emotions, it’s just that women are more likely to outwardly express those emotions than men are.
Men: It is courteous for men to be chivalrous towards women.
Well yes, this statement in itself is true. But it only accounts for one direction. It is standard these days for men and women to switch off paying the costs of a night on the town, but several decades ago it was chivalrous for men to always pick up the check. Small gestures like holding the door open and helping to carry heavy loads are still considerate things to do, but it’s important to take chivalry as an ever-changing ideal, something more fluid that goes between men and women.
Women: Women enjoy being catered to, they want to be treated and aided
The main problem with this stereotype is that it’s only focused on women. Most people, regardless of their sex, like to be catered to and taken care of every once in a while. There’s no reason why it should be centered on one group of people.
What do you think of these stereotypes? Are they myths or do you think there’s some truth to them? Got any other stereotypes you think should be debunked? Let us know!
Monique is a writer and recent college graduate transitioning to the working world. She currently resides in New York and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.