Women wear the pants on campus

College students are faced with a peculiar circumstance as women flood campuses across the country, affecting dating, stereotypes and maturity.

By Emily Eiermann
eiermanne@theridernews.com

As the number of women in college continues to rise and the men get left in the dust, a number of questions begin to arise. Is this the beginning of a shift to a more matriarchal society? Is this a large reward for the years of fighting for feminism? And, perhaps most important in a struggling college student’s life, are guys still obligated to pay for dates?

According to information from the Population Reference Bureau, the number of women enrolled in college has been steadily increasing since 1970, reaching 54 percent of the college population in 2005 and finally evening out to about 57 percent over the past five years.

That is not to say fewer men are continuing their education, as those numbers have continued to increase as well. However, the gender ratio has shifted, and seems to show no sign of reverting. Rider has seen the effects last fall, when the university had to flip male rooms to accommodate the extra females.

While the number could signify a multitude of different sociological changes, the divide in the gender roles of men and women in the dating world is beginning to become blurred.

Not everyone agrees with this theory, including Adam Natoli, a junior psychology major.

“I feel that it’s a consensus that guys always have to be the dominant ones in a relationship,” he said.

But to those who see a change on the horizon, maturity, or a lack thereof, is an issue that seems to be on the rise.

“Mature boys are hard to find whether there are thousands or just a few,” said Jess Goldberg, a senior education major. “It’s socially acceptable for boys to be immature, possibly as [acceptable as] being mature.”

This is not an unusual complaint from women. This immaturity could be due in part to the rise of women in college campuses. According to a New York Times article, women often work harder and receive better grades than their male counterparts, which could be an effort to prove themselves, while men take a more relaxed route.

There is also another theory, which is described in an article in The Wall Street Journal as “pre-adulthood,” an added step between adolescence and maturity. On one hand, girls become women as their bodies age and mature. Boys, however, seem to need to prove themselves capable and competent, only becoming men once they show they can be protectors and providers for the women in their lives. As these roles are stripped from them by a struggling economy and a new wave of super-women, they may find themselves without a test to pass, allowing them to sink back into adolescence past its prime.

While frustrating for driven women, there is no doubt that this imbalance gives hope to men everywhere, earning them more attention without any extra effort or effects on their wallets.

“You’d think that this ratio would favor men who are in short supply,” said James Dickinson, a sociology professor, who then added, “Dates for geeks, even?”

Even the most traditional male roles, such as being the breadwinner in the relationship, are now hazy in light of the predominantly female workforce.

“In many ways, the new economy favors women—teaching, social work, the helping professions and other occupations that require credentials—at the expense of traditional male jobs, especially well-paying blue collar manufacturing jobs,” Dickinson said.

Men still make more money than women on average, with women making 77 cents to every dollar earned by men, according to Time magazine. However, in the current economy, women are having an easier time finding and keeping jobs. This means that in the dating world, a girl can no longer expect her partner to pick up the check, a luxury that has become more of a stereotype than an actual truth in the modern age. Times are changing, making relationships more about equality than specific roles to fulfill.

Billy Goodheart, a junior English major, has proof.

“My girlfriend and I are on equal terms,” Goodheart said on the Rider News facebook page. “Neither of us assumes the ‘dominant’ role. We split checks, hold open doors for each other, and intimate times are usually fairly even. She’s my best friend just as much as my girlfriend.”

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