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Who pays for dates? following versus challenging gender norms
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We examined the extent to which people embrace or reject these competing notions. Despite this move toward equality, there appears to still be considerable adherence to traditional gender norms. As England noted, gender equality in terms of how romantic relationships are organized has been particularly stagnant.
Dating, however, is not a thing of the past. We examined the extent to which people reject or endorse one aspect of the traditional dating norms: men paying for dating expenses. When the check arrives at the table, the ensuing interaction provides important information about the extent to which people adhere to traditional norms and how the decision to pay nothing, part, or all of the expenses is viewed by the dating partner.
Whereas most research on dating norms has been limited to college samples, here we use a large and diverse national sample of adults to investigate reported paying behavior and attitudes about gender equality regarding paying. We focus on this one highly gender-stereotyped aspect of dating for several reasons. The percentage of men and women in the paid labor force in the United States is roughly equal although men still earn more than women on average U.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, a. But the relative earning power of men and women has been shifting. Bureau of Labor Statistics, b. Third, focusing on this one aspect of social interaction is intriguing because it provides a rare case where the maintenance of status inequality and gender difference may be perceived as favoring women, thus making females the sex more likely to resist changing this age-old gendered pattern.
Goode helped explain why ideologies favoring true equality have trouble taking hold, making the point that when roles are in flux, people embrace changes that reduce their burdens but resist changes that reduce their privileges. Goode saw the social changes of earlier times as more threatening to men e.
Below, we examine traditional and emerging beliefs about gender that shape beliefs about who should pay for dates. Chivalry is the idea that men, to show they cherish and protect women, engage in acts specifically for women that they may not do for other men. These include acts like picking the woman up, opening the door, and paying for the date.
This provides one incentive for men to be the ones to resist change and to continue to pay for dates. Men offering to pay and women accepting this offer serves as one way that they can safely act to be positively evaluated. Men who fail to pay risk being viewed as lacking economic resources or as being uninterested, unchivalrous, or—worse yet—cheap. In an interview study of women, Lamont found that many women said they valued chivalry as that a man was respectful and caring, and part of chivalry included paying for the first several dates.
Some men may pay because they feel socially obligated to do so, and may feel guilty if they fail to live up to these gendered expectations. But perhaps a broad empirical investigation of men and women across the age spectrum of daters will show that not everyone is playing it safe by relying on older scripts.
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It is dating that an examination of who pays for dates will reveal that the old gender norms are losing their currency. That is, she called for researchers to be on the lookout for situations where traditional gender roles are becoming ificantly less relevant than it has been in our past. One important motive to share dating chests fairly is that open men and women want their personal actions to be consistent with their professed beliefs.
We believe that quantitative methods can also be used to advance the study of some microscale social interactions with the notable benefit of their ability to identify behaviors, attitudes, and feelings from ificantly larger and more diverse samples of subjects. As West and Zimmerman cautioned, people who stray from tradition do so with an awareness of the inherent risks, so we expect in a time of flux that many people have devised creative strategies to reconcile the desire to adhere to some notions of chivalry and allegiance to sex differences along with their modern gender egalitarian ideals.
Given the deep entrenchment of the norm that men should pay for dates, we hypothesized that most people would follow the traditional convention and men would pay more of the expenses. Due to the social incentives to move toward more egalitarian behaviors, we also hypothesized that a substantial minority of women and men—daters of all ages, but especially younger ones—are not just paying lip service to gender equality but living up to its ideals by sharing expenses to adult extent.
Despite this move toward equality, however, we hypothesized that there is still an emotional toll that men experience when they violate traditional gender ideologies. The internal experience of shame, guilt, or regret is elicited when people feel they have violated social Online or done harm to others, and the function of this emotional response is to motivate people to modify their behavior and make amends for violating social norms e.
Fredrickson and Roberts proposed that when people believe they do not live up to gendered social norms and expectations e. Consistent with this logic, we hypothesized that when men do not pay for dates, they typically experience some guilt or shame as a result of not adhering to interpersonal and cultural expectations. Finally, consistent with traditional gender norms surrounding dating, we hypothesized that paying for dates and expectations of physical intimacy are linked.
In testing these hypotheses, we also examined woman important demographic characteristics age, education, and personal income were associated with these behaviors and attitudes. In particular, we hypothesized that younger age groups and more educated participants would be more likely to endorse less traditional attitudes regarding paying for dates.
The survey was posted on multiple websites for 10 days inand only participants who completed the survey via the msnbc. An invitation to participate in a survey on attitudes toward money, sex, and love appeared continually on the front of the financial news section and periodically on the website home most participants came during times when the invitation also appeared on the popular home. To prevent the same individual from responding to the survey more than once, a software program denied multiple responses from any given computer.
For other studies that rely on Internet methods, see Skitka and Sargis and Reimers Given the broad-based appeal of the website, it provided a demographically diverse sample and an opportunity to compare men and women who differed substantially on money issues in close relationships.
Over 70, participants completed the survey. Here we focus on the 17, unmarried and non-cohabitating heterosexual respondents 8, men and 8, women between the ages of 18 and 65 who completed the items about dating and demographics. Because different questions had to be constructed for women and men based on heterosexual dating norms, we directed gay men, lesbian women, and married and cohabitating participants to a different set of questions. For regression analyses, these responses were coded 0 to 5. We took the midpoint of the to create an interval scale for use in correlations e.
The seven questions asked of men are shown in Table 1 and the eight questions asked of women are shown in Table 2. The questions assessed behaviors, attitudes, and expectations relating to paying on dates, including who offers to pay and who usually pays, beliefs about who should pay, how women want men to respond when women offer to pay, how men feel both when the other person pays or never offers to pay, and whether or not men expect sex if they pay for dinner, and whether women feel less pressured regarding sexual activity when they pay for themselves.
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To facilitate the presentation of thefor some analyses we calculated the percentage of individuals who disagreed with the statements scores of versus the percentage who agreed scores of ; for regression analyses we used the full 4-point Likert-type scales. The items were not averaged because the items were deed to assess different attitudes, emotions, and behaviors relating to paying for dates, but did not necessarily represent an overarching construct e.
Table 1. Table 2. If one person always paid, participants could indicate whether they were fine with this arrangement or would prefer to share expenses. Figure 1. Participants were also given the opportunity to write a short paragraph-long narrative regarding their thoughts and feelings about paying for dates after completing the quantitative items. Tell us how that changes things.
Due to the fact that only a subset of motivated participants provided narratives, rather than systematically coding them using inductive techniques, we used the narratives only to help us better understand and illustrate the patterns in the survey. We first present the overall percentage of men and women who agreed and disagreed with each statement related to paying for dates Tables 1 and 2.
The patterns identified in the percentages are then evaluated using linear regression analyses to examine the relative usefulness of personal characteristics e.
Key assumptions of linear regression models were not violated. All skewness and kurtosis values ranged between 0 and 1. Multicollinearity was low for both male and female analyses, with tolerance and variance inflation factor VIF scores ranging from 0.
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Table 3. Even with this more stringent criterion, however, beta values as small as. These findings indicate that although traditional gender roles are still widely practiced in dating, a minority of men and women have equality in sharing expenses. In contrast to our hypotheses regarding age and education, these patterns were consistent across different age, education, and income groups although men with higher incomes tended to report paying more of the dating expenses see Tables 1 and 3.
Among people in relationships for 6 months or longer, there is support for our second hypothesis insofar as about one fourth of men and women say they shared expenses right from the start see Figure 1. The majority agree that expenses did become shared sometime within the first 6 months although a third of the women state that sharing did not start until at least 4 months of dating.
Do men expect to pay all expenses, or do they expect women to contribute? Approximately, one third of men reported that they were bothered when a woman tries to pay the bill on a date, and there was a weak negative association between education level and this attitude. Some of these traditionalists explained their attitudes by linking them to chivalry and the culturally transmitted norms they believed they had learned. My father always told me you treat the woman like a princess and you take care of her.
I prefer to pay for everything because it makes me feel good about myself because I make decent money and it makes me appreciate how hard I have worked to earn the money I make, and I hope that the woman appreciates that too. Some men were undoing gender in the sense that they expect some degree of financial contribution—or at least the offer—from their dates. On one hand, some men wanted women to contribute to expenses so they did not feel like they were dating a princessfreeloaderor gold digger.
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Men with these views wanted to pay for dates at first and demonstrate they are chivalrous, but then expected women to begin sharing the expenses once a dating relationship has been established. Then, if everything works out, I expect my partner to take some responsibility.
It would depend on the situation too. If I make much more than she does e.