The differences between the genders have been haunting our species since we first evolved on this spinning, floating, organic spaceship we call home. Over history, gender roles have been extremely specific and straying from these would result in ridicule on the lower end, and much more serious consequences when it came to things like homosexuality. Women have traditionally been oppressed by the patriarchy throughout known history, though this wasn't always the case.
Back in ancient Egypt, a lesser-known fact is that it was originally a matriarchal society, which means that women were in power, the mother was the primary parent in the family, lineage was traced from mother to daughter instead of father to son, goddesses were worshiped over gods, while more right-brained activities were valued in society – music, art, creativity and the like.
Of course, all this changed around 3000 BC when Osiris (a male god) first popped up, and the final takeover of Egyptian – and likely most of the planet’s – culture was complete around 1570 BC. There are, however, still a few regions of the world where matriarchal societies still exist – China, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iceland, Alabama (!), Albania and India. Good for them.
Over the past couple thousand years or so since modern religion was created, the patriarchic rules, customs and expectations have become the norm in our society – the most obvious being the open oppression of women and the overarching societal belief that the fairer sex are lower, weaker, less intelligent and less capable than men. Which we all know couldn't be further from the truth.
Which brings us to the topic at hand. There has been a long held belief that due to famous stories of chivalry, a good gentleman must take a woman on a date and cover all expenses. Now, in 2014, this is quite the controversial topic. We have more equality between the sexes than ever (though we still have a long way to go, let’s be real here), and to continue to treat women like the princesses of old is dated, misogynistic and, in all honesty, downright offensive. From the outset, the issue here is not the fact that men would choose to pay for a first date, but with the expectation.
5 Women Are No Longer Viewed As Property
Back in the day, women were nothing more than a man’s property that must obey and speak when spoken to – failing to comply would result in physical violence, for the most part. Men – Anglo-saxon men in particular – have historically had a disgusting habit of turning every other non-white, non-male human into their property, and women were likely the first to be treated as such. Essentially, women were a trophy, a baby factory, a housekeeper, a chef and that’s about it. Even today, the echoes of history still resonate in our media, cultural expectations and seemingly innate behavior towards women – it seems it’s not so easy to shake.
So bearing all this in mind, when a man is courting a woman, it would stand to reason that he would of course be expected to pay. After all, she is nothing but his property, right?
Wrong. This insane mentality died out long ago. Women now have successful careers all the while managing children, homes and husbands. That’s pretty damn impressive. And the truly evolved family could even consist of – gasp – stay at home dads, which today isn't really that uncommon, though even 50 years ago it was unthinkable. It’s offensive to assume that a woman in 2014 couldn't cover her own costs, let alone expects that someone else pay.
4 Historically, Men Paid By Default
Alongside the whole property nonsense, men paid for a woman because they didn't actually have any money of their own. They weren't allowed to work, or vote, sell drugs or do anything outside of the prescribed duties (babies, cleaning, cooking), so how on earth would a woman have the financial capability to pay for herself?
Even if she came from a wealthy family, she would always have a father, uncle, grandfather or even a brother cover her expenses. So insisting that men act like gentlemen and pay for women is nothing more than blokes treating their property with respect.
Therefore, it was never a choice for men. If they wanted to be seen out and about with a pretty trophy wife on their arm, they would have to shell out the clams to make it happen. Perhaps this is the strongest reasoning from a distant past that still exists today – women clearly would have been aware that they had no means to cover their own expenses, but that idea was perhaps forgotten over the years and all that was remembered was ‘Oh he’s paying for sure’. That mentality is slowly disappearing but the fact that this article is relevant suggests that we haven’t quite reached that level of enlightenment.
3 The Princess Myth (Medieval Fantasies Are Dead)
This is also known as ‘the Charlotte complex’ (‘Sex & The City’ fans will understand that one). Ever since the King Arthur stories were blasted into the consciousnesses of our children (and probably even earlier), little girls all over the planet grew up wanting to be a princess – a pampered, prissy, pedestal-riding lady of royalty who just had to smile and be pretty and the world was laid at her feet. Damn, you can’t even really blame them.
Unfortunately, this won’t happen for 99.99999% of women (which isn't a bad thing, seeing that most royal families are completely inbred), and it probably does more harm than good to young girls. The myth and fantasy of being this woman of royalty embeds the idea that men should bow down by merely being in her presence, and that everything she wants will come to her just by having two X chromosomes. As crazy as it sounds, the world doesn't work this way and it’ll only lead to disappointment and frustration on the woman’s part, which is the truly unfair part.
2 ‘If You Invite Me Out, You Should Pay’
Ah, good old entitlement. Girls who grew up wanting to be princesses and Apple customers all share this terrible trait. When one asks another potential romantic interest out to share an experience that costs money, should the person making the request be expected to foot the bill? Well, when one of your friends hits you up to grab a bite, do you expect them to pay? Hmm? It’s clear that the ‘rules’ for friendship and potential relationships are different, however they’re not that far removed from each other.
There’s a level of accountability at stake here. And by a woman assuming that a man must pay due to the fact that he did the requesting, that removes all responsibility and even participation in the experience from her, essentially denying her of the right to be active in the situation and be any more than just the trophy of days long past.
This is all assuming that the man is the one doing the asking here. More and more, women are asking men out on dates, which is honestly extremely refreshing, and it heavily removes the intense pressure that has been sitting on men’s shoulders since the beginning of this patriarchal nonsense. You’re going to eat anyway, right? So share the experience with a new person, cover your own meal and everyone is happy.
1 The Offer Is For Time; Nothing More
A date is nothing more than the offer to share some time with someone new. Neither party should be expected to contribute more than their time – this is the risk of dating, so why should the man have to be the only one to gamble both his time and his money? In a world that is striving for equality in all aspects of this flawed society, keeping this experience as equal as possible seems to be the fairest way to approach it.
Nobody wants their time wasted. When one party asks another party out on a date, the offer is for their time and nothing else. Two people are trying to get to know each other to see if there’s something there that’s worth taking further. It’s how this thing works. At a point where you both haven’t built anything together, there should be no further investment than time – which is invaluable in itself. In this day and age, technology most definitely helps cull the tire-kickers from the serious buyers, but the in-person chemistry is so key that there’s no other way than to take the plunge, invest some time and give it a crack, without the financial aspect playing a part.
Now, coming back to what we said earlier. The issue here isn't with men paying for women – it’s with the expectation itself. If a man asks a woman out on a date and he genuinely wants to pay for her, then fine, go for it, bro. That’s his prerogative. But in no case should a woman be asked out – or even ask a dude out – and sit back with her purse zipped shut when the bill arrives. This sort of behavior takes us back to the bad old days when women were property, couldn't work and were treated as less than human. That’s not what we want, now is it?