Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Dating Conundrum: Conformity is the new status quo

I logged on this morning to report a new milestone in women's rights. Last night, the UN reported that 48 countries have signed on to its Say No To Violence campaign, which will expand more protections to abused women worldwide. Then I came upon the second article in a matter of months - months - discussing the dating conundrum strong women still face.

Apparently, men are still turned off by independent women. The article introduces female entrepreneurs who confess to conforming to expectations to land a date. I was livid enough to notice my heartbeat had accelerated to such an odd rhythm so early in the morning.

What is upsetting is that the writer starts the article by stating how gender disparity has narrowed in many professions. She then transitions into the challenges female entrepreneurs and other women with high positions face in dating.

Am I the only one who sees the contradiction? How can we possibly have made any strides when women are still conforming to men's expectations? I understand that relationships require compromise, but toning down one's nature to appeal to a commitment? I don't know about this, gentlemen.

I have a teenage daughter at home. When she starts dating, I will advise her that any life partner needs to complement her, and that courtesy should be repaid in kind. But she should never, ever have to settle to please anyone. And I hope these women who were bold enough to make these confessions learn just that on their dating journey.

When we cave in to gender stereotypes that imprison women to a cycle of conformity and timidity, we inhibit change. Rather than become the solution to empowering women, we become the obstacles. Change is possible only when we're brave enough to challenge the status quo, not give in to it.

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