Evolution Of American Dating Rituals/Part 2

When WWII broke out, a whole new generation of women were faced with the same problems as their WWI predecessors….Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military, and many enjoyed their new found freedom from household drudgery…

After the war, they too were unwilling to go back to the old value system, and were also faced with a shortage of men who had died in the war…. (though not so severely crippled in choices as the Gibson Girls generation was.) They had been exposed to the wonders and excitement of the outside world, and they had no desire to return to their drab, dreary, domestic pre-war lives…

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In more modern day America, the success of early American television shows, like “The Dating Game,” where one woman behind a screen would pose carefully scripted questions to three men behind another screen, so that neither the men or the woman would be affected by the physical appearance of the other, further reflected the growing independence of women….

The woman was in charge, and would ask leading questions, like “Bachelor#2, what would you do if I asked you take me out to someplace special?” and then repeat the question to the other candidates or pose different questions to them, depending on the answers she received… These shows were extremely popular and served as role models for real aspiring couples…..But it is fascinating to see how the evolution and emancipation of women as people rather than property had caused this seismic shift in social attitudes, values, and behavior….Women movie stars were also trend setters…

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By the time the 1960’s rolled around, as Bob Dylan so famously sang “There was music in the cafes at night, and revolution in the air.”….There was social unrest, there were political protests but the biggest single revolution in American courtship rituals was the invention of the birth control pill, and the introduction of birth control devices like IUD’s, sponges etc, all designed to prevent unwanted pregnancies in women….By the time of the famous “Summer of Love” in 1967, these pills and devices had freed women from their traditional fear of pregnancy from the often ineffective, inadequate and sometimes never even used condoms for men…

For the first time in history, women felt that they controlled their own bodies! A catchword of the Summer of Love was “free love,” which simply put meant that just like men, women could now have multiple sexual partners without the risk of unwanted pregnancies…It was the dawning of the modern age, for better or worse, the “Age of Aquarius, a popular musical of the time,” had arrived…

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This new freedom for women radically altered the entire American courtship ritual; it put it on it’s ears, it spun it around backwards, it was a true revolution! Women for the first time in history now felt the same freedom that men had always enjoyed, and the rising feminist movements were quick to embrace and promote these new freedoms, although they later backtracked and, in some cases rightfully so, attacked the safety of some of these new contraceptive devices and pills…But the door had been kicked open, it was a new era for women….

The typical American woman was more well educated and intelligent than ever before, thanks to ever more opportunity for educational advancement, and were easily able to pick and choose their way through all the twists and turns of this new dating minefield, still hazardous and strewn with danger, but at least now they had the chance, the ultimate right to choose…

The days of arranged marriages and parental approval were long gone and far away in their minds….From the late 1960’s on, American women were increasingly confident and in control of their own bodies and now felt, and rightfully so, that they had the last word in picking their mates…

The American conservative wing and church groups decried these new concepts and radical changes in thought, but the fact remains that no matter what the church’s opinion was, in actual practice more and more women began living together with their boy friends without the benefits of marriage or the blessing of the church, and often their families, anyway….They no longer felt the compulsion to get an officially sanctioned marriage license right from the get go just to live with the man they might, or might not, eventually marry….

This new found freedom for women led to what many considered an excess in overt sexuality, as in the custom of the infamous “meat market” bars of the swinging 1970’s where single young people, both men and women, dressed up and went to certain well known pick up bars for the express purpose of picking up somebody for a one night stand, what we call today, NSA or no strings attached…The point was not to find Mr. Right, just to find Mr. Right Now, and the men were only to happy to oblige….

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The onset of the computer age ushered in a whole new dynamic to the American courtship ritual….Online Dating became the new rage! Women had equal rights to pick and choose a potential partner online, for any reason or personal preference…This really blew the lid off of the American courtship rituals as they had existed for centuries….Today there are websites for every taste, gay, lesbian, transgender, you name it, there is already a web site for it…

Through the magic and sheer acceptance and universal availability of computers, the modern day young people, or “Millennial” can now potentially hook up with a compatible partner, no matter what their individual preferences are, and this new online dating has once and forever ineradicably changed the entire concept and established practices of the American courtship ritual… Some people even have cyber romances, and never even meet in person, but keep in touch through the use of Skype and Messenger and texting!

Girl Friends Shopping and Drinking Coffee In City
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Where does it all end? Who can say, with any degree of certainty…Are we better off now than in the “good old days?” …Again, who can say….It is an accepted truism that people tend to move forwards rather than backwards, so I sincerely doubt that we will ever go back to the way it was…

For better or worse, the combination of the birth control pill and the invention of the computer and subsequent rise in online dating has revolutionized the American courtship ritual forever….

Just leave it like it is right now

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