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Men and Initiatives: Then and Now

A man proposing his girlfriend

In many facets of life, even in a society that strives for gender equality and fairness, males are still expected to take the initiative. This long-standing custom seems to continue, whether it's for dating, career promotion, or leadership positions. This article will examine the historical and sociological elements that have contributed to the long-standing belief that males should take the initiative and how this belief is changing in modern society.

Questioning the Norms

We all directly or indirectly know that men approach first as compared to women. Why is it so? What are the things that stop women and they can't come forward to make the first move?

Neeta V. Shetty, a psychotherapist and life coach, ties it to traditional and cultural factors. She claims, "The dread of rejection prevents people from initiating contact. It is something more in females. Also, females are reluctant or shy in approaching first". Females also believe that approaching first is the male duty. In a nutshell, men are supposed to show visible desire while women frequently work deliberately to offer welcoming indications initially. Now, to better understand the expectation from the female side and duty from male side we must know some of our historical roots along with societal norms and how the psychology of people's minds works in this scenario.

Expectations of Men taking First step Through The Ages

An ancient picture of a man convincing his lady

For better understanding of any scenario, we firstly need to deep dive into the historical roots because they contain ultimate answers of many unsolved questions. Patriarchal systems have primarily molded cultural standards and expectations throughout history. Men were frequently seen as the main decision-makers and earners in the home and in civilization. Because of this historical precedent, men were pushed to take the responsibility in many of the cases.

This perception which has made home in our mind from many years is still prevalent in many cases and so in the relationship initiative too. That is why, the belief that males should take the lead in relationships is further solidified by chivalry and conventional gender norms. It is still prevalent in society that men are supposed to start romantic relationships, ask women out on dates, and begin physical contact between partners. Even if something has changed in society, remnants of these historical expectations can still be found in modern dating customs everywhere.

From the society point of view, as mentioned in the earlier paragraph, men are supposed to be responsible for major things, which plays an important role in why they are supposed to be the first one to take the first step in the relationship. Boys are frequently instructed to be assertive and proactive at a young age. They are inspired to follow their passions, take command of their life, and act as leaders. The assumption that males will take the initiative in certain situations can be a result of these lessons learned later in life.

These expectations and mindset formed in society lead to develop more confidence in men and along with that risk tolerance too as compared to women because they are brought up in the society where men are seen as assertive and active to choose their career on their own. This edged self-confidence in men makes them take initiation first in the relationship.

Modern Era: Changing Perspectives

A woman tying her partner's apron from the back

Same as the historical roots which do contain a lot of information about the present persisting aspect, the future too has new things in it whether it is in a negative direction or positive. So, although there is still a historical and societal expectation that men take the initiative, there has been great progress in confronting and altering these patterns.

We all listen everywhere about gender equality and feminism promotion. The significance of gender equality and the necessity of challenging established gender norms have gained increasing attention in recent decades although achieving full equality is still far away.

Same as that, there is a movement for fairer and more consensual interactions in the world of dating and relationships. One of the most popular examples in it is the me too movement which has emphasized the value of enthusiastic and explicit permission throughout all phases of a partnership. The expectations surrounding who should initiate romantic relations are gradually changing as a result of this movement in perception and also beside this movement too major changes are happening. Female also gaining the same confidence of confessing out along with the potential of taking risks in their life. They are breaking down barriers and assuming leadership positions, women and marginalized groups are challenging the notion that only men should be career initiators.


History and psychological variables along with societal perceptions all play a significant role in the expectation that males will initiate contact. Despite the fact that these expectations still exist in many facets of life, such as dating and career growth, there is an increasing understanding of the need to question and reinterpret these standards.

It is crucial to acknowledge that both men and women are capable of taking the initiative in their lives in a world that strives for gender equality. We may build a more inclusive and fair society where people are free to pursue their aims and interests without being constrained by outmoded conventions by letting go of traditional gender roles and expectations.

We are getting closer to a society where everyone, regardless of gender, is empowered to take the first step in their own particular way as we continue to challenge and evolve these expectations.

Written By: Ayush Maurya

Edited By: Chirajita Gupta

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