Conventional Gender Relationship Roles: Are We Still Parked In?

By: Aleida Kraamwink

Many of us were raised in a culture where gender roles were enforced in relationships. Therefore we are prone to making assumptions when it comes to expectations in relationships, especially in relation to the specified roles of the persons involved. Have relationship dynamics changed over the last few years and how do we stay up to speed in an ever changing environment?

A video taken outside Obz square in which a man refuses to get out of his date’s car, has recently been circulating on Twitter. The ordeal came about after the man had paid for their date and consequently had certain expectations about what was to follow the breakfast.

These misunderstandings often occur in Cape Town’s dating world as it is home to various cultures and a youth with spirited opinions, especially when it concerns their social lives and relationships. In a society that is working towards emancipating women and changing the conservative structures of the past, the reform of gender conventions is a given. It is of utmost importance that we constantly adapt and change our outlook on things. The only way to conquer the dating world in an already challenging period of our lives is to be open minded and to communicate our views with our significant others at the very beginning of a date or relationship.

Having fundamentalist views on relationship roles or expecting certain things on a date could be enough to drive anyone round the bend. Shakespeare called expectations the root to all heartache, a quote that is even more relevant in modern times than it ever was in Shakespeare’s age. Partners in this day and age should make communication a priority in order to leave the conventional gender relationship roles in the past and to ensure comfortable interactions.

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