Saturday, July 23, 2011

Who should pay for dates?

So, the top headline of the "feminist" online magazine Jezebel today is that Kelly Ripa apparently argued that women picking up the check on dates are "gross", and because women give birth men should pick up the check.

Here you can see the jezebel article and the video of the whole thing.

There has been a whole discussion underneath it arguing one way or the other.
Surprisingly, many women argue that "If you ask a women out on a date, you should pay. I would pay if I asked a guy out"

But let's think about this a bit more. Why do women expect men to pay for dates in some cultures?
Ask, answers that men should pay most of the dates till month 3, and then wean off to every third time during the following month.
The reason for this is because
"The first two months provide guys the opportunity to prove they’re solvent, capable and understand the social conventions of dating -- and all are three important qualities ladies will be looking for in a date."

Sounds fair enough... but why don't the guys try to find that quality in a women, to see if the WOMEN are solvent and capable etc??

Another example....
So a friend of mine in Korea who has also lived in the States for a long period of time, when she went out on dates she wouldn't even take her wallet/purse with her. She expected the guy to pick her up from home, take her out - wine, dine the whole shebang - and then bring her back safe and sound.
But I ask, she makes quite alot of money herself, then isn't it unfair? No, she argues, because she spends time and money to make herself pretty and gets ready for the date.
In that sense, guys are investing their money for a hot chick returns?

But I mean it is not really sensible nor is it sustainable. Unless the guy is rather rich, he cannot afford to pay for everything, or else he would be broke or in debt rather quickly, or you won't have any dates due to it. Ofcourse I've seen in some case in Korea that women would thus give their boyfriends large chunks of money in private so that he can indeed pay for her in public. Thus are the norms of chivarly.

How is it done here - in the Netherlands/Germany? In many cases even on first dates, regardless who asked who out, you split the check. Sometimes I know it is not fair given that I've only had the main course and you the three course meal, but hey that's how it goes. Sometimes one person may pay for the whole thing than you pay for the next round. Also, even have lived in several countries I always had the pleasure of dating guys who did not feel threatened at all when I paid for them. Actually, in many cases I had more doe then them so I paid alot for many of my past boyfriends. Even now, in my relationship I am officially win the bigger chunk of the bread and spoil my partner with extravagant parties and gifts.

But let's try to understand some other points here. You pay because I give birth?
This is silly in many ways.
1. I do not give birth to the spawn of all the men I've dated and paid for my dinner. If you follow your logic, it would lead to "Since I paid you should give birth (to my child)"
2. As someone in the discussion at Jezebel pointed out, its not like we can pay for the guys dinners and they give birth.
3. Why is reproduction and financial contribution to a relationship even related??
Also for those who said men should pay for the dates since they asked them out- it seems that the they also assume that guys also should ask them out on the first dates as well. I really genuinely want to ask them, how many times have they asked guys out and what is that in proportion to how many times you've been on dates in total?
I believe that both parties should pay, and actually the party who is earning more or had more to eat should pay more because that would actually make sense.

The most important issue is that this type of thinking, that guys should pay for girls etc. re-enforces the view that men should be earning more. For example, in the recent case suit again Wallmart for its sexist corporate policies, it has been shown that Wallmart pays its male employees more because "they have families to support."

Thus, in no countries, yes even the gender egalitarian Scandinavian countries, is gender pay gap overcome. On average in Europe women earn about 1/5th less than their male counterparts.

Here are a list of European countries with their respective pay gap. For more information about gender pay gap and EU's response
I am not going to expand on why there is a gender pay gap. If you want, come to one of my gender wage gap classes. ;)

But one thing that is clear is that although many of these women mentioned above would be furious about men being paid more than women, but their minds are still stuck in Victorian times when they talk about paying for dates, and when the issue turns into relationship related.
I think alot of this comes from the fact that rationally we believe in equal rights for both genders but emotionally, it is hard to fully embrace the progressive views on relationships. This is because we've been socialised in a conservative way, not only by our parents but society and not to mention mass media and the film industry (which is very conservative). Chick flicks, romantic comedies, even childrens animation with any romantic connotation are all based on the idea of old fashion chivalry where men take charge, protect women physically and financially.
Thus it may be easier to promote gender equality amongst your colleagues and friends, when it comes to the intimate relationships with your partner you may loose that sense of progressiveness and fall into the trap of "romance" defined by others.

I'm not saying all women are like this, but many are and by no means am I completely exempted from this as well. It is a continuous fight, and if we want to win in the bigger front, we need to also be aware and alert in the homefront.

1 comment:

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