Bumble, the “women-first” dating app, has launched a campaign in India to raise awareness of the ‘Romance Gap’ – the discrepancy in behaviour expected from men/masculine presenting people and women/feminine presenting people when dating and in relationships. This campaign is part of Bumble’s efforts to empower people to create healthy and equitable relationships.
Research from the popular dating app found that while 82% of Indian adults state that equality is important between people who are dating or in a relationship, the overwhelming majority (82%) say that when it comes to romantic relationships, there are different expectations and expected behaviours based on your gender identity.
Despite positive strides being made towards equality, traditional gender roles and expectations are still very present, and even accepted, in dating in India. Bumble’s new research has found that these expectations are so ingrained in our society that the majority (66%) of people say traditional gender roles lead us to behave in a way that is less true to who we are and 60% of people claim it makes dating and relationships more stressful and/or difficult.
Often, behaviours that are labelled romantic for men are negatively labelled for women. These discrepancies show up across dating and relationships in different ways, with both men and women feeling considerable pressure to behave in a certain way.
The research identified several key themes, with the overriding finding being that there is still a long way to go in redefining gender roles in romantic relationships and dating:
- Men are still expected to take the lead: When it comes to taking the lead and advancing the relationship, on matters such as asking the other person out, making the first move, or initiating the first kiss, there is still pressure on men to be responsible for making the big moves. 39% of people surveyed state that men are expected to take the lead in dating and relationships, while only 21% think women should do so. For men, more than 1 in 4 (28%) have felt pressured to take the lead.
- Men are expected to say ‘I love you’ first: More than 1 in 3 (37%) people surveyed state that men should be the first to say those three little words and express their love first, while only 21% think women should profess their love first. Interestingly, in India, only 34% state that men are expected to ask their partner to marry them.