I found the article had some solid and not so solid points. I thought there was some decent advice towards women about not letting men “freeload” off of them by constantly eating their food and lounging in their apartments as groups, rather than dating individually. (I personally don’t have experience with this…do you? And actually, I think hanging out is fine in moderation, so long as the entertaining and food provision is somewhat mutual.) I also liked his advice to women about not sitting around and waiting for marriage and happiness to be thrust upon them, but to instead seek out life in service and learning. This last point seemed particularly worthy to me, though I know this is much easier said than done. Particularly when we are taught by the Church that our identities as women are so closely tied with marriage and motherhood.
One point that I found absolutely baffling was this reason as to why he thought dating was on the decline: “The leveling effect of the women’s movement has contributed to discourage dating. As women’s options have increased and some women have become more aggressive, some men have become reluctant to take traditional male initiatives, such as asking for dates, lest they be thought to qualify for the dreaded label ‘male chauvinist.”
Whoa there! What? I went to a women’s college and was steeped in feminist ideology and surrounded daily by feminists. And I assure you that I and my feminist friends never thought that a man asking a woman out was a chauvinist act. Never. In my opinion, chauvinism occurs when a man talks about and treats women disrespectfully. The act of respectfully and nicely asking someone out was never thought by us to be chauvinistic. Do men really fear that they will be seen as chauvinists by asking a woman out? And to blame this misconception on the women’s movement seems like a stretch. Also, is he implying that it’s not a good thing that the women’s movement has increased women’s options, or just that it’s not a good thing that women have become more aggressive?
This was a very puzzling paragraph for me. Also puzzling was his apparent belief that a man should a) be the one to ask the other out and b) pay for the date. Ideas which were reinforced strongly by the article on dating that followed Oaks’ talk. (Aside: Very bizarre points in that article about women not asking men out, but sending verbal and non-verbal signals to entice men into asking them out. Hmmm….am I in a Mormon minority in thinking that it’s just fine – even advisable – to trade off asking the opposite sex out and paying?)
Anyway, I’d love to hear your reactions to these opinions about and advice on dating.