I’m exposed to the wisdom of dating culture for adult women.
I’m also raising a son.
In dating culture, women are told to be less:
“Be in your feminine.”
“Silence speaks volumes.”
“Always let a man initiate.”
“It’s in men’s DNA to hunt.”
“It’s in men’s DNA to provide.”
“Gentlemen will always pay.”
“Gentlemen will always ask a woman out.”
“You need to make it clear to a man how you need him.”
All of these words are subjugating women to hold to a standard of “tradition” where men protected and provided. Dating culture subtly and consistently subjects women to advice that this is our best hope at partnership.
My actual experience is that I was raised to believe I could do or be anything I wanted. So women of my generation work outside the home. But the men of my generation were not necessarily prepared to be emotional providers rather than physical ones. They were not prepared to have to leave work and also be equally responsible for the household tasks.
Our boys need to step up rather than women stepping down.
We need to teach our boys emotional skills and tools so that they can hold their future partner’s emotions.
We need to teach our boys that their jobs and male mission are not more important than female ones. So that means equally sharing household tasks such as taking out the trash or getting groceries.
We need to teach our boys that a woman’s value is not her body but her brains. This is not a matter of intimidation; it’s a matter of everyone rising to be their best, and males are not the de facto head of household.
And for ourselves, we need to hold a standard of conduct that we are to be respected. We need to not be less in order to get a date by leaning back or employing techniques to be more feminine.
That’s not to say we should become hard and unyielding, but we should have firm boundaries around appropriate conversation and drop fears about appearing “masculine” because we help pay or suggest we go out for drinks.
We need to take an active role in reaching out to men on dating sites or making a suggestion about where we would like to eat. We need to need a man for whatever we actually need him for, not for invented reasons.
These two things go together: we must have both genders participate in this broken dating culture. It’s not enough to teach women to be less anymore; we need to teach women how to be more and men how to be more.
Raise your son to be the kind of man you would want to date. And raise your standards to be the kind of woman you would like to emulate for other women.
Nobody needs to be less; we can all be more.