I’ve been questioning “rules” that I abide to without question. I remember my mother telling me after my first kiss at 15 years old, “do not have sex with that boy because he will lose interest in you,” this mantra plagued my dating life into my college years.
Feministing.com displayed photographs and captions from the 1938 Dating Guide for Single Women and titled the segment “Vintage Sexism.” Some of the “vintage” rules were reminiscent of what family and friends highlighted for me throughout my teenage years.
“A man expects you to keep your dignity all evening. Drinking makes some girls clever, but most get silly.” The dedication to portraying an image of put-togetherness, constant poise, and “lady-like” behavior seems to still be the hook that nabs the heterosexual male.
While evaluating these “vintage” sexist rules, I came across the website TopDatingTips.com, specifically focusing on the article or “guide” entitled “Dating Rules for Women: The Do’s and Don’ts of Dating for the Modern female.” Comparing the “vintage” rules to the “modern” rules reveals, that the terms are synonymous.
“Always look great, whatever your income. Gorgeous hair and some lipstick with rags will still turn his head. You have the advantage. You are the woman. Look your best as you could meet a potential Mr. Right anywhere at any time.
Never reveal information you don’t have to. An enigmatic woman drives men wild.
Keep dates brief, but your men interested. Less is always more.
Try and stay in shape and involve some fitness regime at a gym. However much you hate it, your Mr. Right loves your body as much as your mind.
Never ever sleep with a guy until he has fallen for you. Sex early in your dating game plan will ruin everything.”
The rules seem just as restrictive, if not more explicitly stated in some cases. Consider the authors of the rulebooks. What do the similarities say about the notion of progress? And progress for whom? Has the film of self-consciousness in the heterosexual dating guide stayed attached to the female body?
What does it say about American society if the rules have stayed the same, but individuals feel the game has changed?
Take a look for yourselves:
Feministing’s “Vintage Sexism”
TopDatingTips “Rules for the Modern Woman”