The new wave feminist movement has brought to light an abundance of ways that women do not experience equality compared to their male counterparts. These inequalities vary across culture and need to be addressed. Hopefully, a fourth feminist movement will not be necessary and we will achieve total equality this time around. I, like all feminists, look forward to the day when the United States can experience the degree of egalitarianism that countries like Denmark and Sweden do. In this article, however, I want to address an issue that most women do not face, but should, and that is the vulnerability of the courting process.
If you remember middle school, then you likely recall the anxious excitement of the Sadie Hawkins dance. The premise of the Sadie Hawkins dance was that females would ask males to the dance, rather than the “traditional” males asking females. You would think that the idea of switching traditional gender roles would not be a pseudo holiday after multiple feminist movements, yet it still is. And for millennials, a generation leading the way in a major egalitarian movement, this idea is downright confusing.
Throughout our lives, we have been shown through just about every form of media that men must be the ones to do the “courting,” but this learned cultural expectation is not egalitarian. In media, women are usually portrayed as reactive, either accepting or rejecting the propositions of men, while men are portrayed as proactive. The concept of courting originated during a time when men were knights and women, bashful virgins waiting to be “swept off their feet.” But today, women are fighting for socioeconomic equality and part of this is being proactive and taking charge. This should apply to all facets of life.
Men, like everyone else, do not enjoy rejection. Rejection can hurt self-esteem and prevent people from being vulnerable once it has happened. For men to be expected to put themselves in this vulnerable position, while women are not is unfair. Most women probably do not like the idea of doing the asking out, but in the long run, it will be found that the same amount of healthy, happy relationships come out of this "non-traditional" process. So if you like someone and are too afraid to take a chance and ask them out, keep in mind that they may be just as scared as you of being vulnerable. Just do it. Whether it's a yes or no, vulnerability makes you a better person.
The anxiety and vulnerability that comes with asking someone out does not know gender, and the medieval notion that men are automatically more confident and outgoing than women needs to be addressed along with the new wave feminist movement. Feminism is about equality, and if we want equality, we need to act like equals. That being said, catcalling and other methods of courting that are not respectful or respectable need to be stopped in general.