Are Men Perceived as Having Less “Value” in Dating and Relationships? (Survey Results)

These survey studies are an attempt to better understand how men are seen and treated in our society. While not equivalent to peer-reviewed academic studies, they do provide some hard data that I hope will inspire thought, discussion, and further interest in these topics.

(Length: 1,400 words.)

1. Overview

Heterosexual dating typically involves men initiating contact (approaching and asking for a number in real life, or sending the first message on a dating site) and taking on a greater share of planning, proposing, and even paying for dates. Given this dating dynamic, I am interested in whether people perceive dating as being primarily about men proving themselves to women, like how job interviews are typically seen as more about the applicant proving themselves to the employer than vice versa. I am also interested in whether people perceive men as having less “value” in relationships than women.

In the survey study reported below, respondents were nine times more likely to say that dating was about men proving themselves than to say it was about women proving themselves (one third of respondents did not indicate any difference). When asked about relationship value, half did not indicate a difference between men and women; however, those who did were more likely to rate men lower in value, to the effect that the average man’s value was rated as 6.3 out of 10, compared to 7.3 for the average woman.

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Be Careful Equating Unwanted Sexual Advances with Harassment

October 2017 saw a series of allegations of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault in Hollywood spark a conversation about sexual misconduct in society. I don’t object to that conversation happening, but I do object to one concerning trend: people and outlets conflating unwanted sexual advances with sexual harassment.

(Length: 800 words.)

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Sexual Double Standards for Men? Player, Virgin, Creep, Objectifier (also: Male Nudity and Male Homosexuality)

We treat male and female sexuality differently. The most well-known example of that is the slut double standard for women (casual sex is seen as degrading and disgraceful for them to an extent that it isn’t for men), but we also have some important sexual double standards for men. The first and second (player and virgin) involve having or not having sex, while the third and fourth (creep and objectifier) are about expressing sexual desire. The fifth (“male nudity is funny, not sexy”) is a difference in how we tend to see men’s and women’s bodies. The sixth is “male homosexuality is uniquely offensive”.

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Paternity Fraud as a Violation of Men’s Reproductive Rights?

Men’s and women’s reproductive systems are different, and so a full discussion of reproductive rights needs to take into account each gender’s unique concerns. Being the ones to carry the child gives women unique concerns involving the physical/medical consequences of pregnancy, but not being the ones to carry the child gives men unique concerns as well, namely paternal uncertainty—men are at a natural disadvantage when it comes to knowing if the child is theirs. This page looks into how big of a problem this is, and what we can do to address this unique reproductive concern for men.

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“Yes, Dear”: Henpecked Husbands and One-Sided Relationship Dynamics

“Yes, dear” is the characteristic phrase of a one-sided relationship dynamic where the woman functions as the “boss” of the relationship and the man is said to be “henpecked” or “whipped”. This is a common portrayal of marriage on TV or in jokes, but it also underlies a lot of real relationship advice for men. It’s a problem because taking it to heart can leave men unable to stand up for themselves in relationships.

Stories and jokes aren’t obligated to portray healthy relationships, but in light of these portrayals and especially the serious advice, men (particularly young men) need to learn that this is not ideal, and certainly not inevitable, in a relationship. It’s likely that we’re not as concerned about teaching men to stand up for themselves in relationships due to the history of men being head of household, but that’s largely a thing of the past.

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The Legal Paternal Surrender FAQ

The courts have properly determined that a man should neither be able to force a woman to have an abortion nor to prevent her from having one, should she so choose. Justice therefore dictates that if a woman makes a unilateral decision to bring pregnancy to term, and the biological father does not, and cannot, share in this decision, he should not be liable for 21 years of support.

That’s according to Karen DeCrow, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) from 1974 to 1979. “Or, put another way, autonomous women making independent decisions about their lives should not expect men to finance their choice.”

This page is an exploration (in FAQ form) of the idea of legal paternal surrender, which would allow men to opt-out of the responsibilities of parenthood within a certain time-frame, in order to bring them closer to women in terms of reproductive rights and options.

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