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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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Spease: The abandonment of gender roles killed healthy relationships

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.

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  • A

    Aiden J. CattaneoFeb 22, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    …Straight people need to step up their game.
    Talk to one another! Communicate what you want out of the interaction! Have a conversation! It’s literally that easy. Trust me.
    “Do I ask her to split dinner, or do I pay, or…?” ASK HER
    “Does this kiss mean we’re dating, or do we see other people, or…?” ASK
    “When can we say we’re in a relationship…?” TALK TO EACH OTHER

  • R

    Rosalina LunsfordFeb 21, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Well I have to contribute that the abandonment of gender roles have not killed traditional relationships, rather have encourage more abusive relationships. Giving men the role of “protector” is not necessarily true because “protector” to them equates to dominance. And giving women the role of “caretaker” caters to men’s needs and puts us women below men rather than beside them. What does this do? Women who participate in their gender roles are then silenced in the “traditional ” relationship. And this is how abusive relationships occur because when women are not allowed to speak for themselves actually speak , they step out of their “boundaries” , which give men the entitlement to beat and abuse her. You should know how much violence is attributed to “traditional relationships”. I am not saying all relationships are the same . Your article for me is somewhat true about “hook up” culture, but the killing of healthy relationships are not from the “abandonment of gender roles”. The most of the killing is done by hyper-masculine patriarchal society and the objectifying and objectifying of women and making them silent. I am sorry but your article caters to men, to the type of relationship men want. A healthy relationship can be formed in different ways and both partners can be the “caretaker and protector” of the relationship. Men shouldn’t fear women , if you like her ask her out, it will be fine. Women is you like him, ask him out. Sexism is the last thing on their minds.

  • S

    Steve SmithFeb 21, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Wow, I don’t know where to begin. I think you are making two distinct points; modern relationships have become eroded due to the loss of gender roles and social media has created an untenable platform on which a relationship can stand. If you had just stuck to the second point I believe you could be on to something. There have been many articles written on the current nature of dating in the social media world that would, I believe, align with your view. I personally have been out of the dating pool for some time now, but I refuse to believe that all potential partners are untrustworthy or are all searching for “greener grass.”

    But I think that what I have addressed as your first point is problematic to say the least. I agree that a relationship should be a complete partnership (between two consenting adults) but not split across gender lines. I consider my significant other to be a very independent and strong person; to the immense benefit to our relationship. I have a committed partner to stand right by my side, not behind, looking for my permission as the “majority testosterone holder” of the relationship.

    I find this interesting because I graduated from CSU in the spring of 2013. Either things have changed drastically in the almost 4 years since I was a student or, more accurately, dating in 2017 is filled with many grey areas. I think you are selling the genders short when painting with these broad strokes. It seems to me that you are the genders are equal… as long as they stay in their own lanes. You talk about tradition, but tradition for whom? Pink was predominately thought of as a male color, until Time magazine published an article about gender colors in 1927. Or we could go back even further to the time of tights, knickerbockers, and powdered wigs.