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22.2.05

More On Dating And Gender Roles

At some point I'll get back to writing about environmental issues -- really, I will!

Thinking a bit more about the issues raised in my previous post, it seems that the loss of strict gender roles has to lead to greater difficulty in dating. One of the basic functions of dating is to find someone who is compatible enough that you can spend the rest of your life with. Gender roles -- like any other social roles -- serve to standardize people, making them conform more closely to a limited set of archetypes. On the other hand, weakening gender roles allows a greater diversity of tastes, attitudes, and behaviors. Assuming the level of compatibility that people demand is constant, people in a society characterized by strong gender roles will have an easier time finding a mate, because the things they have been taught to expect in a partner match the things all people of their target sex have been taught to exhibit. This may be a functional adaptation in smaller-scale societies, where the pool of potential mates is smaller and thus the likelihood of finding someone highly compatible in a situation of free identity construction would be very poor. In a densely populated society with access to networking technology (i.e. urban areas with the internet), finding a mate without the aid of gender roles becomes much more realistic, though still more difficult.

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