Yesterday’s fairy tales, today’s reality

When it comes to dating, there are many common traditions and practices we see in the media that we tend to replicate in real life without question, like a boy buying a girl dinner and bringing her flowers on the first date. Many stereotypes are visible: the male being the one to ask the girl on a date, the girl  spending hours on picking outfits and doing makeup before a date, just to name a few. Many of these cliches are burned into our mind when we picture relationships in our heads, yet we never stop to ask where these stereotypes come from. Why is it that the man is usually the one to propose? How does society choose who pays for dinner on the first date?

According to Oxford Dictionary, a stereotype is “a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.” Yet what makes dating stereotypes interesting is that a lot of the time they turn out to be true. Think back to the last time you witnessed two people going to formal together: Who asked the other individual to formal? Who paid for the tickets? Your answer is most likely the boy, going along with the stereotype that the boy asks the girl, showing that these cliches are visible in real life. These cliches may have multiple origins, but one is clearly more distinctive than others: the entertainment industry. Many of our common dating cliches come from television, books, magazines, and movies. What is really interesting is how impactful the entertainment industry is on real life relationships. There have been countless studies over the years that have shown that those who are in their early teenage years are more easily influenced by television and social media than any other age group. Coincidentally, this is the same age where teens are just starting to begin having relationships. Naturally, it would make sense that they would turn to stereotypical dating cliches they see portrayed by actors on television.

However, we are starting to stray away from these common dating stereotypes.The media and entertainment industry has realized that women are just as empowered as men, which is why the media now has equal representation, not just showing the man doing everything. One prominent example is the 2013 Disney Movie Frozen. The movie goes against classic Disney formula, and features a female as the strong hero who doesn’t need a man to help guide her. As you can expect, these stereotypes are also starting to disappear in the real world as well.  It is not unheard of anymore for a girl to ask the boy to formal. It is starting to be a bit more common for the bill for dinner to be split on the first date.One reason why these stereotypes are slowly starting to fade away is due to the soaring number of diverse couples. Many dating stereotypes cannot really apply to homosexual couples, and our society has become more inclusive and accepting. As a result of that we see that the original dating stereotypes are slowly starting to change.