Rituals of dating in america
At schools, a complex social system that included extracurricular activities, sports competitions, fraternities and sororities, literary activities, beauty contests, and other means to define identity and popularity regulated dating behavior.But the system was not closed since the young drew on nonschool institutions for inspiration in setting new nonfamily-based fads and fashions.Some immigrant and religious groups still resisted and were appalled by the freedom that dating permitted between strangers, but most native white young people understood that while dating was not supervised by adults it nevertheless had clearly established boundaries enforced by peers that regulated respectability, eligibility, and the routines of sexual access.Moreover, the young not only defined what was attractive, permissible, and popular, but continued to maintain clear class, racial, and ethnic boundaries.Dating is a ritualized courting process that developed in the twentieth century as a means for adolescents to engage in approved heterosexual activities.It emerged first in the United States in response to significant social and gender changes in schooling and work, family life, and recreational activities.
These young people often spent their money and free time in unsupervised commercial recreations such as , dance halls, and amusement parks.
Some historians have argued that in return for the expenses incurred by the male dating partner some sexual compensation was expected from the female.
Whether the exchange was quite so direct and calculated or evolved from a set of expanded possibilities for intimacy and graduated expectations, dating certainly resulted in mutual sexual experimentation.
These relied on both the heterogeneity of populations at school and the enormous expansion of popular culture, especially via movies, popular music, and sports, that provided sources and models for approved behavior, appearance, style, language, dress, and beliefs around which standards of popularity and datability revolved.
In expanding the vocabulary of acceptable and proper behavior, popular culture idols helped the young redefine eligibility and expand the limits on sexual propriety in their dating behavior toward more liberated forms.
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Formally arranged marriage was never the dominant practice among most Americans, as it was among the European aristocracy and upper middle class, but informal arrangements existed which directed young people's desires toward suitable partners who remained within racial, class, and other boundaries.