Dating, courting, and other pre-marriage arrangements are practices that are influenced by the time period, social conditions and constructs, biology, cultural norms, and institutional structures that surround people. Dating has changed a lot in the past century. In the 1920’s to 1940’s, dating involved a more informal dating. For the first time there were no chaperones on dates between males and females. The dates required no formal commitment to each other and there was more freedom. Previously the community and church established the dating rules, but now peers institute the rules. Instead of the man coming to the women’s house, They went “out” where it required money. It is said that there was a control issue surrounding the change in dating. Previously dating was somewhat in the women’s control because the man was coming into her house. However, now couples were going out and the man paid for the date, giving up a little of the woman’s control. The most popular pastimes on dates were dancing and movies. Before the 1920’s going dancing was a group activity but now it became couple oriented. Cars also had a huge impact on dating practices. Having a car
now enabled couples to have more privacy and intimacy. The practice of “petting” spread over all the dating couples now more than ever and there were even “petting” parties. This new kind of dating allowed each person to get to know each other better before they settled in an exclusive relationship. The focus was now on success and popularity with out involving emotions. Before, this type of dating, formal courting was for the purpose of finding the “ideal” mate. During the 1930’s, “steady” relationships had developed as a stage between casualness of dating and marriage. When a “steady” stage had formed, they dated only each other, which could last for months or maybe just a week. This bond was marked with meaningful rituals, for instance the sharing class rings or letter jackets. romantic love was the only basis for marriage, and you definitely knew when you found “the right one”. Some of the same practices of the twenties and thirties were carried to the years between 1945 and 1960. However, there was a drop in age of
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the couples marrying and there was an increase of marriage in the 40’s and early 60’s. In the year 1950, the average age for a male marring was 22 and the female 20. This is because dating activities now began at a much lower age, in junior high dating was common. The youth that didn’t go to college married soon after graduation, and after 1-2 years of courtship. If women did go to college, they were seen as having only one goal, to
“land” a man or getting their “MRS” degree. Parents didn’t agree with
This new behavior towards dating evolving in the youth because of the Increase in pre-marital sexual behavior. The “good” girl however engaged in all form of petting except intercourse, to keep “pure” for their husbands. If women did engage in pre-marital intercourse, she usually intended to marry. Love still was the basis for marriage, which was the most important source of happiness and fulfillment. The single men and women were pitied, because they were thought of lacking happiness in their life. From the 1960’s to the present there have been some drastic changes in the dating. Feminism had a big impact on dating rituals. Women were now empowered more than ever to think of themselves not as just a wife but also a human being. Between the years 1960-1972 the amount of women in colleges greatly increased. The youth culture also began to develop a more liberal attitude towards pre-marital sex. Birth control was now very common for couples to have. The pill went on the market in 1960, and within three years more than 2 million American women were using it.
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It is important to look at dating, courting, and other pre-marriage arrangements from a sociologist’s functionalist perspective because it plays such a large role in every day behavior for its meaning in society. Dating is a practice that is highlighted again and again in the popular media. The ways in which people date, is effected by the cultural norms of the time and place. To understand dating, courting, and other pre-marriage arrangements we must look at a particular time and place to understand the ways in which a society works and therefore how the people in that society go about activities like dating.
In modern America, dating has emerged as an activity that is not often regulated by adults as it once had been. There are many explanations for this change including the change in lifestyle that industry and technological advances have brought about. Sociologists point out that the idea of romantic love did not even exist prior to the industrial revolution. Marriage was an institution that allowed a man and woman to
enhance their chances of survival and quality of life with one another. Romantic love as we now know it did not exist as a concept. After the industrial revolution when people did not depend on each other as much to survive, the idea of romantic love first appeared. After this time some feminists and sociologists point out that marriage and motherhood was used to subjugate women to men and to keep them out of the work force. Dating at a young age is characterized as fun and is done for companionship rather than as a serious activity for the purpose of finding a lifelong mate. Group dating is a way in which students have been able to move away from traditional, two-person dating which implies intimacy to them. Doing things in groups saves students from the deep emotional intimacy that may take place during two-person dating.
There are many biological and chemical factors that help determine our
dating habits. Biological makeup as well as chemical action plays a major role in whom one is attracted to and whom one attracts. Chemical factors effect the way the brain interacts with the body and the way others will interact with you. For example, a persons sex drive is important in determining who they will be attracted to. Sexual interests help to determine when one will be receptive to possible partners and which partners will be attractive. Hormones, pheromones, and aphrodisiacs are chemical substances that effect sexual interests and characteristics. Biology plays into the dating scene in that physical, emotional, and personality characteristics are very important both in attracting a
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mate and being attractive to that person. Genetic makeup and environment determines who a person will be. Darwin’s evolutionary concepts can help reveal why certain characteristics are important for humans to find in mates, however social constructs are just as, if not more relevant. Humans also tend to be attracted to young, healthy partners, increasing the chance of survival of the couple and consequently, healthy and
abundant reproduction. Personality was the most important factor in attractiveness, followed in order by physical characteristics, emotional attributes, other, intelligence, and strong values.
Freud believed that falling in love was, at its nature, a substitute for personal accomplishment. The psychologist Theodore Reik purposed that there are two stages to a person falling in love. The first stage is where from a need to escape from internal discontent grows the longing and tendency to fall in love with another person. The second stage requires personal courage and security about the self, in order to actually love another person in a committed behavior. Erik Fromm makes a distinguished difference between immature and mature love. In the immature love, the lover exploits the beloved in order to satisfy the lover’s needs. In contrast, mature love the lover expresses a genuine concern for the beloved’s welfare. He also states that sexual
Attraction is based on the need for psychological union with the opposite sexual
pole, and romantic love depends on the need for psychological union with the opposite sex character type.
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The Purpose of marriage has now shifted from economic necessity to companionship, resulting in dramatic changes in obligations and expectations. There has been a shift in how we measure a person’s “success’s” to include physical vitality and life enjoyment along with material achievements. Divorce and “serial monogamy” have become increasingly acceptable making people anxious about maintaining relationships. People are relying on personal relationships to provide a sense of worth they lack in the public sphere due to increased technology, mobility, and bureaucracy.