1950s dating advice for women
Women had a passive role in dating until the 1960s and 1970s, when gender roles blurred.
The feminist movement and the availability of the birth control pill may have been contributing factors to women taking the lead more often as traditional dating rules changed with the times.
Part 1: A Brief History of Dating and Courtship in America Let's turn our attention now to "dating" and the "date" itself. How did it become such an important part of our courtship system? According to cultural historian Beth Bailey, the word was probably originally used as a lower-class slang word for booking an appointment with a prostitute.
However, by the turn of the 20th century we find the word being used to describe lower-class men and women going out socially to public dances, parties and other meeting places, primarily in urban centers where women had to share small apartments and did not have spacious front parlors in their homes to which to invite men to call.
Instead, it was a "competitive game," a way for girls and boys to demonstrate their popularity.
In 1937, sociologist Willard Waller published a study in the .
His study of Penn State undergraduates detailed a "dating and rating" system based on very clear standards of popularity.
Men's popularity needed outward material signs: automobile, clothing, fraternity membership, money, etc.
Women's popularity depended on building and maintaining a reputation of popularity: be seen with popular men in the "right" places, turn down requests for dates made at the last minute and cultivate the impression that you are greatly in demand.