Recreating gender roles: an examination of dating practices among feminist college women

Rodriguez, Marisa
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A thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF ARTS in COMMUNICATION from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas.
For decades, women have used traditional gender roles to navigating dating processes. However, due to the changing social roles of women and decades of shifting feminist movements, women have the opportunity to challenge and recreate traditional norms. The current study examined (a) how feminist beliefs influenced women’s dating ideologies, (b) how women managed cognitive dissonance that occurred between feminist beliefs and traditional dating gender roles, and (c) how conversations with others influenced women’s dating practices. Fifteen college-aged women who self-identified as having feminist beliefs were interviewed about their feminist beliefs and dating experiences. Results revealed that identifying with feminist beliefs influenced participants to want egalitarian roles in their dating relationships. Also, participants experienced cognitive dissonance when dating under traditional roles because of their desire to perform egalitarian roles. Participants reduced or eliminated dissonance by changing the importance of their beliefs, terminating relationships, and being more selective when it came to future romantic partners. Finally, participants’ conversations with parents had an impact on the formation of their feminist beliefs and participants gave and received advice to friends based on their feminist beliefs. Implications of how participants recreated gender roles on dates are discussed.
Communication & Media
College of Liberal Arts