Rules for Perpetuating Gender-Based Sexual Inequality in

Rules for Perpetuating Gender-Based Sexual Inequality

In All the Rules: Time Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right (Fein & Schneider, 2007), the authors present comprehensive dating advice for women with the intention of improving their chances of securing a marriage proposal from men. One of the main underlying premises of the thesis is that the normal evolution of the typical dating relationship does not lead to an offer of marriage and that by altering her approach to relationships with men, women can improve the chances of a marriage proposal from any given relationship. In truth, the book is little more than a contemporary reformulation of the age-old advice that women play "hard to get" predicated on the metaphorical theory that one who has access to milk for free has little incentive to buy the cow.

The advice dispensed in the book consists of suggestions that women misrepresent their potential receptivity to male overtures and their social availability before agreeing to a first date and that they purposely withhold or delay the sexual component of adult intimate romantic relationships to maintain greater male interest and attentiveness. While the arguments are presented as though their purpose is to revolutionize social relationships in the modern era, in reality, the philosophy espoused by the authors actually does the exact opposite: it perpetuates the unjustifiable gender-

based sexual socialization that is predicated on the notion of relativistic sexual morality based on the purely arbitrary distinction of gender.

Gender-Based Sexual Morality:

The gender-based sexual moral standard has dominated Western cultural moral beliefs for millennia (Verene, 2001; 21-22) and likely has roots in human psychosexual

evolution that go back further than the differentiation of homo sapiens from other hominids (Margulis & Sagan, 1999; 76). It transcends cultural differences and prevails within very different societies in distant countries. Its fundamental tenets are that males may begin experimenting sexually early in adolescence, that they may pursue sexual activity recreationally, and that their moral character is not diminished at all by sexual promiscuity prior to marriage. Meanwhile, the traditional gender-based sexual double standard suggests that females ought to remain as sexually "pure" as possible until marriage, that they may not engage in sexual activity outside of emotionally intimate relationships, and that their moral character is greatly diminished by any form of sexual promiscuity (Baker & Elliston, 1998; 63-65).

As a result, for countless human generations, females have been subjected to myriad social consequences for pursuing sexual gratification whereas men have not only been perfectly free to do so without such consequences, but, in many respects, they are actually commended and admired for the exact same types of behavior for which women are severely criticized. In the United States today, little has changed in that regard because adolescent boys are encouraged and rewarded socially for early sexual experimentation while their female counterparts are referred to as "sluts" and "whores" by their contemporaries, even before becoming fully sexually active, based on little more than reputations based on relatively innocent pre-sexual contact (Branden, 1999; 27-29).

The Rules for Perpetuating the Sexual Double Standard:

According to the suggestions of Fein & Schneider (28; 31; 56; 70-73), the strategy for increasing the likelihood of securing a man's genuine romantic (as opposed to superficial sexual) interest, they must create an impression that they are comparatively unavailable socially, less interested in him than the reverse, and they must delay the onset of sexual relations, ideally, until marriage. In principle, the idea is that men typically lose their potential romantic interest in women whenever women fail to present themselves as difficult to impress or attain (Fein & Schneider, 2007; 33, 71) and whenever they fall into the common pattern of providing sexual access soon into the relationship ((Fein & Schneider, 2007; 72-73).

Fein & Schneider advise women to maintain the so-called "upper hand" in relationships beginning from the very first contact, such as by absolutely refusing to accept requests for weekend dates after Tuesday (p56), by feigning lesser social interest in male suitors for a significant length of time even after a relationship begins (p.63), and by prolonging the onset of sexual relations even if the woman herself genuinely has the desire to become sexual, for the purpose of maintaining the highest possible degree of male interest, appreciation, and attention throughout the dating period (p.73, 79-83).

Analytical Criticism:

The specific suggestions of Fein & Schneider reflect nearly complete ignorance of the strong evidence for the evolutionary basis of so-called "traditional" cultural…