Blog Ipsa Loquitur

Published on under Nuke Us From Orbit

The Atlantic ran this cute article a couple weeks back about how, for all the progress we’re seeing in the rest of society with regard to gender politics (and we’ve got a long way to go), men are still expected to pay for the first date with a woman.

There’s this absurd GamerGate which has its basic roots in boys getting upset that some girls got too much attention. The gender politics in my neck of the world (that is, the internet) are just about completely insane. I wanted to read a cute little article about how “haha yeah but you gals don’t mind letting us pay.”

And it is cute. You know how gay couples do it? Whoever invites the other person to a date pays for the date. That’s pretty straightforward (no pun intended), and it works for not-gay dating. I usually end up inviting women to dinner, and then I usually pay. This isn’t the worst proposition in the world. Well, not for men.

So yeah, the cute fluff piece made me laugh and then think a little and that’s okay. And then it got dark:

A 1985 study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly presented subjects with a variety of fictional dating scenarios—mixing up who invited whom, who paid, and the venue—and asked them to evaluate the acceptability of the sexual encounter that followed. Disturbingly, they found that money contorted men’s opinions of sexual consent.

“Rape was rated as more justifiable,” the authors wrote, “when the man paid all the dating expenses rather than splitting the costs with the woman.” Culturally speaking, 1985 may seem distant, but the study’s conclusion apparently hasn’t become any less relevant (or urgent): A more recent study, from 2010, found that men were more likely than women to think that sex should be expected when a man pays for an expensive date.

This has been your daily reminder that everything is awful.