Is Chivalry Backing the Gender Wage Gap? Who Must Pay for Dates?

When it comes to dating, particularly dinner dates, and coffee dates, who should pay for it at the end of them. Men usually foot the bill, at least that’s what has been happening for generations and while this may sound great for women, research reveals that this needs to end if women need to be treated as equals. Traditionally, women have always been seen as a group of people that need to be provided for because they can’t do so themselves and hence this has carried forward in every area of life, both at home and in the workplace. The latest research by Money and SurveyMonkey found that 78 percent of participants thought that men should pay for the first date while and men were more likely to think this than women about 85 percent as compared to 72 percent women. 

Is benevolent sexism hiding behind the garb of chivalry?

Even after the first date, men feel obligated to pay for various dates and outings, and actually this is making things worse for women. How? Social scientists reveal that chivalrous behavior like treating women to dinner is something known as benevolent sexism. ‘Benevolent sexism is the notion that women should be adored and cherished, along with the paternalistic notion that they need men’s protection. It reinforces stereotypes that women are both fabulous and fragile, and that they need men’s help.’ Although this has a reach far beyond who is going to pay for dinner it has a massive impact on women, particularly how others treat them on dates and at work too. There is a strong correlation between women who expect men to be chivalrous to them and women having lower career expectations. ‘Among college-aged women, those that endorse chivalrous behavior showed less interest in achieving financial independence. Apparently, their career ambition is replaced with the desire to find a good protector and provider,’ reports Forbes Magazine. Women who expect chivalry are also fearful of their own success because they believe that they will not be unattractive to men, thinking that husbands are threatened by their successful wives.

Does the status quo in the dating world affect women professionally?

Studies have shown that not only does benevolent sexism affect women’s performance at work, it also reduces women’s drive to fight for equality. So, is there a connection between dating and work? When it comes to the career aspirations of women, they fared worse when they were reminded of benevolent sexism, and women had a tendency to think the world is actually fair and inequality is due to women making certain choices than due to patriarchy. Furthermore, when it comes to feedback at work, women tend to receive less feedback and less constructive criticism which could be a determining factor in their career success, this is because managers often don’t want to hurt the “feelings” of women or don’t want to make them cry. Hence, because women are being protected at work, they are also being gently shoved at the back of the life of career success, thus holding them back almost permanently. Women cannot expect to be treated as equals to men if there are so many traditions that suggest quite the opposite, hence, it is high time women and men take a closer look at traditional holidays like Valentine’s Day with a whole new perspective.

Image credit: The Independent

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