Feminism and Dating

I’ve been invited to go on radio tonight, and I’m told the topic of discussion will be “tips on proposing”. “Naturally”, these tips will be for men on how to ask women out, because, well, women just don’t ask men out… it’s “unnatural”. As I was thinking about what I’m going to say on radio tonight, I got thinking that perhaps I should go in with ‘feminist tips on proposing.’ I typed that on google search and in a nutshell, most of what came up is that be it in dating or marriage, no matter how liberal a woman “claims” to be, they like to be asked… Apparently we don’t like to have a say at all, we just pretend we do, but deep down we are dying to be wooed, wined and dined.

An article that caught my eye however, is one that said “feminism confuses dating” apparently feminists have “taken all the fun” out of dating because now women too want not only to pay for outings, but ask men out too and in turn men don’t always know what is “expected” of them. In the “traditional” sense of dating, a man is supposed to ask a woman out, and she, flattered that a man has shown interest in her, should obligingly say yes. They will then go out, if this woman is “lucky” she could even pick where they would go, the man will open doors, pull out chairs, pay for everything and at the end of the outing he will expect the woman to fall at his feet (or jump into his bed) because he’s been such a gentleman. If she doesn’t comply with these “societal rules” then woman is either labelled a tease, gold-digger or the now famous (in Namibia) dirty Kandeshi.

Now suppose we were to go completely crazy and have a society where women can express interest in men, pay for their dates and turn down proposals without being called “dirty”, “cheap”, “easy” or emasculating. Such a society would mean the power relations are even, that both men and women have equal say in relationships  and that men do not have a hold of any sort over women. I see how that might get “confusing”.