Opinion: Girls can pay for guys too

College students should respect women's ability to pay for men in social situations

Dating as a full-time college student can be difficult on many people and sometimes, on the wallet as well.

When students find the time in their schedules to go out on formal dates, they are bound by social stigma against women paying for meals, movies and so on.

But this stigma has to end. It is a toxic idea that enforces gender roles in the dating scene. 

Gender roles encourage men to toughen up and women to be compliant. But in this new world of the #MeToo movement, the dating scene should discourage these traditional ideals to adapt to the modern dating world. 

At a time when hookup culture and online dating has increased in popularity across college campuses, it might seem like the dating experience has become more progressive.

But this isn't generally the case.

The majority of both men and women feel men should pay for entertainment costs on dates, research shows. According to a study by the American Sociological Association, 84 percent of men and 58 percent of women report that men cover most of the expenses on dates.

The majority of the men in the ASA study, 76 percent, reported feeling guilty about women paying on dates, and 39 percent of women who offered to pay for dates expressed hope that the men would reject their offers.

It's an expectation that's ingrained in both genders, but actions may speak louder than words. The effort could mean volumes to dissolve such stigmas against women paying for men. 

Our generation should not hold onto this old-fashioned tradition, especially with the emergence of modern feminism or the prominence of news stories about gender equality.

It's a two way street so either women should be more open to paying for dates or people should split the bill.

"I would expect that increased attention to gender equality in the news would bring more scrutiny to many issues about dating, including the gender norms around who 'should be' responsible for paying for a date or meal. Both men and women should be involved in challenging these norms," Carol Martin, a professor at the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, said in an emailed statement. 

She added that gender stereotypes form at a young age and that the Sanford School has developed programs to promote respect, positive interactions and recognizing similarities to build stronger and more equitable relationships between adults and children.

Going on dates can be a stressful time for students who already don’t feel like they have enough money in their pockets, and there shouldn't be an expectation for one party to constantly pay. 

The process can be made easier by being open-minded to who will pick up the tab at the end of the night. And if it’s that big of an issue, split the costs. 

It’s not that deep, I promise.

Reach the columnist at sirich@asu.edu or follow @sydneyirich on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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