Why should the man be ordered to pay for the date he may or may not see again? From women’s suffrage to education reform, women have worked too hard to take handouts from men. If women truly want to see equality of the sexes, then going Dutch is the first step in developing an equal partnership between them and their male counterparts. The fundamentals of relationships today hurt both men and women by not living up to modern, feminist ideals. 

Feminism has already denounced the societal tradition that women must rely on men in order to be successful. Why hasn’t it broken the tradition that a man has to initiate a relationship to be in a successful one? Women have every right to pursue whoever they want. They ought to feel insulted when people in 2020 still believe they should not make the first move in relationships. Acting on attraction should not be a gendered event. 

Men currently suffer from contradictory societal pressures. For example, while they feel obligated to be vulnerable when asking women out, they are socially shunned for showing their sensitive side because it is perceived as weakness. Men should be socially accepted for being vulnerable — asking women out is one of the few chances they get to say how they feel. There would be more equality in the world if men could be more vulnerable and women could be more assertive. In other words, sensitivity and making the first move should not be dictated by gender stereotypes.

Date driving etiquette also exemplifies the societal role of men as the directors of their relationships. In today’s society, it seems less chivalrous for a man to pick up a woman on her doorstep for a date than it seems dangerous. Brittany Correri — who met her date from online dating app Hinge—was beaten by him. He pulled a gun on her after driving her around in his white BMW. Correri probably wishes her date forgot her address. While she dodged a bullet with him, everyone would be safer by driving themselves to a public place. 

Whether they are protectors or perpetrators, always giving men control over the wheel unjustly advances their power relations. There’s no social expectation for the woman to pick up the man. Socially, women are still seen as too weak to be a danger, and apparently too incapable to chauffer. I doubt men always want to drive or plan the date. A lot of women want to pick and lead the way to their destination. Equality is about creating a balance. Not an expectation of men driving and women taking the passenger seat in all stages of their relationship.

The mega stage of marriage continues the pattern of the man being socially pressured into defining the couple’s relationship. Girls grow up learning proposals are one of the most precious moments in their life. Don’t they deserve to have a say in where and when this moment happens? According to a jewelry and engagement study, a third of women are taken by surprise during their proposal. In these instances, a man on his knee is not a sign of submission, it’s an ambush. He forces her hand into a position she could not prepare for.

Men yet again, are socially assigned to be involuntarily vulnerable when proposing, which makes the gesture in my opinion less sincere. Just because a man wants to get married does not mean he wants to bear the burden of asking a life-changing question. Proposals should not be thought of as more precious to women than men. Heaven forbid a man feels as deeply. A man who is more original than society’s proposed process will make his love known unconditionally. He’ll discuss a future to envision together.

Traditional proposals are not feminist. Women can propose just as well. Equality is not one person deciding a future for the other. Two people can plan a future together eye-to-eye in a romantic setting they both love. In this way, no public shaming can come from either party not being ready for a commitment made in an instant. 

Societal rules about relationships hinder women’s rights by having men lead them in every step of the way of their romantic relationships. It’s a disservice to feminism that, in 2020, a man is still required to hold a woman’s hand when she can support herself. People must learn the chivalrous guide to forever is outdated. Whatever customs men and women so choose should be mutually decided by them alone. There should be less pressure on men to take involuntary initiative in their romantic relationships. In a happy partnership, couple’s treat each other with care and cash. 

Amanda Abramovitz is an opinion advice column intern for the 2020 fall quarter. She can be reached at alabramo@uci.edu.