In this selective review, we examined research on heterosexual dating published in Sex Roles since its inception to determine if dating practices have become more egalitarian over the past 35 years. An analysis of current best-selling dating advice books suggests that gender roles continue to be institutionalized in cultural scripts. A sexual scripts framework was used to categorize research findings to determine if the empirical evidence confirmed the durability of gender roles over time or revealed that dating has become less gender-typed. Research in Sex Roles suggests that heterosexual dating among young adults in the U. S. remains highly gender-typed in terms of cultural scripts (e.g., beliefs, ideals, and expectations), as well as interpersonal scripts (e.g., actual interpersonal emotions, interpersonal behaviors, or behaviors aimed at achieving or signaling a partner). Some variability was observed in interpersonal scripts in terms of occasional initiation of dates by women, for instance, but was not sufficiently widely used to challenge the dominant script. Functional reasons for the persistence of gender stereotypes in dating are presented. In addition, a friendship script is proposed as an alternative, egalitarian model of dating that might fulfill the same functions.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 5, 2011
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