Rethinking Masculinity: Asking someone out is gender-neutral
Students should dismantle barriers to asking another person on a date. | Maddi Seyfarth/THE CHIMES
Dating is a tough subject in Christian culture today. The lazy stereotype of early marriage always arises, but somehow perpetually manages to influence how young Christians date each other. Pressures from both outside and inside Christian culture affect the logistical process of love from asking a significant other out all the way to marriage. This first step, although simple in nature, is complex because of its gender-based influences. The stigma that men need to make the first move should no longer be a priority in regard to dating. Although it is not harmful in any way for a guy to ask girl out, the stigma that this is the only way for a date to happen can no longer be the primary way of initiating interest.
A patriarchal stigma
The stigma that men need to be the champion of relationships all the way down to dating is a gender norm within society. It lives and breathes through its perpetuation in shows and movies.
Shows such as The Millionaire Matchmaker constantly push men who may not feel comfortable in pursuing women to make themselves marketable in the dating scene. Although unrealistic for most because of its monetary nature, the concept of the show perpetuates the idea of men needing to man up and take the first step in initiating any kind of interest.
In theory, the gendered process of dating is sexist against both women and men.
Women are stigmatized as weak, leaving the “terribly hard” and “infinitely confusing” process of saying “Hey, do you want to get coffee sometime?” and actually planning this as too difficult. Does it make sense? No, not at all. Magazines like Cosmopolitan highlight this fabrication by pre-imposing the idea that women are already weak and need help with dating.
Anxiety and awkwardness
In regard to men, the idea that men should ask women out assumes they have enough confidence and self-esteem. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 18.1 percent of the adult population of America suffer from anxiety. The awkward conversation of asking a person out and going through with a date, a situation of intimacy, could trigger anxiety within someone. Not all men were created the same. Not every man can surmount personal mental difficulties in asking someone out. This weight should not have to solely rest on men.
For many students inexperienced in dating and relationships, asking another person out on a date can be simultaneously exciting and intimidating. Abandoning the seemingly obsolete dating norms of a bygone era, it seems as if numerous members of the current generation have already embraced the idea of both men and women initiating a date with another person.
Mutual respect should be the foundation of any burgeoning relationship, and both individuals should establish or continue to cultivate a good line of communication between each other before entering into a relationship. Before anyone asks anyone out, it is also important to learn to have fun and acknowledge the fact that dating does not need to be as serious as many Biolans attribute it to be. In a school where some students are motivated to enter into a relationship as soon as possible, it is easy to forget to have fun and use dating as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and other people.
It is alright for both men and women to be the first person to ask another person out on a date. Regardless of the gender of the person initiating a date, it is important to focus on making sure one is mentally and spiritually prepared to invest their time and resources into a potential relationship. All great relationships are constructed on a foundation of clear and coherent communication, trust, mutual respect, reciprocity, loyalty and friendship.
If we want students to engage in healthy relationships, all students need to challenge the patriarchy and acknowledge the often intimidating aspects of dating — especially the task of asking a special someone out on a date for the first time.