We live in 2022, and people are a bit more aware of how the things they say can come off as sexist. Even so, all it takes is for a guy to go, “What you really mean is…” when she’s talking about the subject she’s currently majoring in. Casual sexism on dates still happens far too frequently, and most men (and some women) may be unaware of it.
Benevolent sexism is the act of upholding the traditional gender roles and patriarchy, through subtle sexism that can often come across as friendly or caring (but might stem from a harmful sexist belief). For example, a man being surprised that a woman is in a field dominated by men. “You’re an automobile engineer? You look so much like a journalist! Nice!”
Casual sexism takes many shapes, and its benevolent nature can sometimes be hard to spot in dates, especially since men are conditioned to “protect” the “delicate flowers” that women are. Let’s take a look at the most common casual sexism examples on dates.
Examples Of Casual Sexism On Dates
Chances are, you’ve come across a guy who doesn’t believe in feminism because he thinks it isn’t needed and claims he’s an “equalist.” You’ve probably had a guy in your life who only stopped the incessant DMs when he found out you’re “taken.”
Or the guy who can’t stop complaining about being “stuck in the friendzone” and claiming how unfair it is since he’s always been nice to you. Sorry, we didn’t know you deserved an award for basic human decency!
And if you’re a woman who has been on dating apps, you know that an expression of disinterest from your end is often taken as a suggestion. According to a survey, around 57% of women reported receiving sexually explicit messages or photos they did not consent to after declaring that they were not interested in the person.
According to studies, the way a man smiles and his choice of words can be enough to understand the type of sexism he displays, if any. Let’s take a look at a few common manifestations of casual sexism on dates that you may even have come across in the past.
Related Reading: Things Guys Do On Dating Apps That Instantly Creep Women Out
Let’s start with the biggest one first. If you don’t know what it is, mansplaining is when a man “explains” something to a woman in a condescending and patronizing way, assuming she doesn’t know much about the subject, even if she clearly does.
It may stem from a place of oblivious condescension, where he truly believes that just by being a man, he probably knows more about the subject than the woman. It may stem from the conditioning that men go through, where they’re often expected to know everything, and not knowing something indicates dumbness (which is also why some men never ask for directions).
It’s when men “flirt” with women in gyms and explain the “proper form” of an exercise to them, even if they didn’t ask. It’s when men think they know more than a Ph.D. and will argue about a detail because they think they’re correct. On dates, it’s when a man explains how the offside rule works to a woman, who has already told her she’s a sports fan and didn’t ask about the offside rule.
2. Ordering for the woman
“I’ll take a medium-rare steak with a beer. A salad and a glass of white wine for the lady, please.” Sure, this exaggerated casual sexism example might not happen all the time, but when it does, it reeks of disrespect, often without the man even being aware of it.
You’re both looking at the menu, joking about how you’re indecisive while trying to talk about what might be good and what won’t be. When you’ve decided and the waiter comes around to take your order, he orders his, but doesn’t stop for you to start. Instead, he just tells the waiter what he thought you wanted because you spoke of it.
If the woman had changed her mind, or even if she wanted to ask the waiter a few questions, she can’t do so now because he assumed it’s okay to just speak for her. After all, how can a poor damsel in distress engage in a full-fledged conversation with another man?
Related Reading: Why Do Men Mansplain? Reasons And Ways To Address It
3. The age-old question: Who pays?
If both parties consent, there’s nothing wrong with the man paying for the date. There’s nothing wrong with the woman paying for it either. When thinking about who should pay on a first date, the problem arises when the woman insists on splitting or paying, but the man just won’t let her because “it’s his job” to.
The rigidity can stem from the idea that women are to be cared for and looked after financially, or perhaps it’s just a case of extremely strong conditioning in him that makes him oblivious to the fact that he’s being sexist if he doesn’t split or let her pay when she’s clearly not okay with him footing the bill.
4. Double standards
If a man goes out on a lot of dates, his sexual prowess must be applauded. If a woman does the same, we all know what’s going on in the mind of the man. In other instances, double standards about a woman’s career are made apparent as well.
It’s not too unheard of to hear someone say, “You’re an accountant? I thought you’d be in HR!” While men are generally complimented for their accomplishments, women can be complimented for “handling being a mother and a working professional” instead of what they have done in the workplace.
5. Degrading language
“You’re so girly, I love it” doesn’t have the most flattering tone to it, does it? As we pointed out, the casual sexism examples, also known as negging, can be found in a man’s choice of words. Things like “You talk like a girl,” are all too common and may make it sound like he’s trying to establish that he’s superior to you just because of his gender.
“I’m a chef, and barely get enough time to date. I invited a guy over to my place once, and we had some leftover Kung Pao chicken that I made in the morning. He immediately said, “I like me a woman who can feed me some good food!” and I immediately regretted spending my precious few free hours with him. He then explained to me how to properly use woks the rest of the night,” Janelle told us.
Related Reading: 5 Things To Analyze In Your First Date’s Body Language
6. Coming on overly sexual
Forget the dating world, how many times have you come across an overly sexual pickup line on a dating app that instantly creeped you out? Men consider women to be a “prize” that they must “pursue.” And if you say no, they’ll take it as a challenge and continue to send sexually explicit messages.
This translates into the dating world with the use of words like “babe” or “sugar” on first dates. Men think they’re being slick; they’re actually just making sure you text your best friend, “Get me out of here!” the minute he’s not looking.
If you’re a woman who has been on more than a couple of dates, you’ve probably experienced these instances of casual sexism on dates. Now that you know the other common manifestations of it, we hope you’ll be able to better distinguish between the self-proclaimed “nice guys” and the not-so-nice ones.