Spease: The abandonment of gender roles killed healthy relationships

Holly Spease

One of the most common conversations I have had with fellow millennials is how hard it has become to develop meaningful relationships in college. Men and women blame the opposite sex for being superficial, promiscuous and afraid of commitment. Although these issues may be true, the people complaining about “hook-up culture” are the same people perpetuating the issue. Social media such as Tinder, Bumble, and Hater have not become popular by themselves. These shallow platforms are designed to make meeting the opposite sex easy and are used by the same people who complain about them. The creation of “hook-up” culture has destroyed modern day relationships and can be traced back to the death of gender roles.

Over time gender roles have been discouraged, thus destroying the foundation for a traditional relationship. Society continually tells women that they should become more independent and that relying on a man is demeaning. Yet, men and women should not be equal coexisting individuals; they should be dependent upon one another. Each sex has different strengths that contribute to a relationship. Although some people think that biology doesn’t determine personality, men naturally contain more testosterone and women contain more estrogen. Testosterone leads to more muscle mass and higher levels of aggression, and in a relationship, these biological features translate into the role of protector and provider. In contrast, women contain more estrogen which directly affects serotonin levels and therefore their mood; thus, women are usually more emotionally cognizant which would translate to the caretaker of a relationship. This creates a balanced bond, where the woman wants to love and take care of her partner and in return, her man protects and provides for her. When men and women are discouraged from fulfilling these roles, problems begin. I should add that this does not mean that the genders are unequal, or that men are superior to women. Both roles are equally important in a healthy relationship.


Today’s females are told to be fiercely independent, which changes the dynamic of relationships. Men are not sure if they are supposed to ask a girl to dinner, pay for their food, or hold open their door for fear of being sexist. Men and women do not know how to act anymore, and this can be traced to this sexual ‘revolution.’ This has led to the acceptance of premarital sex, porn, and society overall spreading the idea of embracing one’s sexuality. Thus, people have become comfortable with casual sex and talking to multiple partners at once, along with the decline in men and women searching for a lifelong partner.

The result is dating chaos. Since there are no traditional roles in society, no one knows how to act. Is this person just trying to casually hook up or is there potential for dating? Are we just really close or do they want to become friends with benefits? Did that kiss mean anything or are they secretly texting four other people? Everyone has a different goal for dating and traditional relationships are no longer valued. Two people may like each other, but it is uncool to admit to having feelings for someone. Taking risks and asking people on dates is rare because people don’t know what the opposite sex is looking for. People use social media and texting to hide behind a screen and secretly find out the intentions of someone they are attracted to. Asking someone to dinner is an anomaly; people are forced to text and have “a thing” for months before they can even consider going on a date. Additionally, because people no longer prioritize finding their life partner, they are only concerned with finding someone they are attracted to. So, social media like Tinder and Bumble allow men and women to quickly filter through people they do not find attractive, without any consideration of personality. They can quickly meet people from the opposite sex but leave them just as fast. A man may really enjoy his time with women, but because the “grass is always greener” and he can quickly find a new girl, and the relationship will never have a chance to grow. As a result, millennials are having sex even before the first date.

The common complaint that there are no good people left in the world and chivalry is dead is all true. This problem arose because men and women abandoned traditional relationships for a movement that brought sexual liberation and all the consequences that accompany these “freedoms”. People have come to value looks and sex above all else, thus resulting in high divorce rates and the abandonment of marriage altogether. Instead of looking for the girl with a “fire Insta” or swiping right for the hottest guys, millennials should aspire to find people who reflect their core values. Someone who is reaching towards the same goals in life and has similar morals. Men should not fear being labeled as a sexist if they hold the door for women, and females should not feel like they are betraying gender equality if they make their man dinner. Relationships should be about give and take and the search for a partner who you can cherish emotionally and eventually physically. Until society stops obsessing over sex and their hatred for gender roles, healthy relationships will cease to exist.