Dating is a form of prostitution
In the late 1800s, these courtship rules were completely upended by shifts in the economy.
According to Weigel, economics and courtship are closely linked, so as America became more and more urbanized, and more and more women entered the workforce, it became more and more difficult to keep courtship “in the home.” And so, dating as we know it, with men and women interacting in public spaces, was born.
And that income difference between the two helped make men the new hosts of courtship, with women sometimes dependent on male suitors even to eat, Weigel explained.
“What we now think of as the most traditional kind of date possible, looked like prostitution,” she said, noting that at one time women were arrested for accepting dates.
For years this form of dating was mostly practiced by the lower class, but around the 1910s the upper and middle classes adopted this style as well.
Now many are observing another huge shift in the way that we court, proclaiming that dating is dead.
But Weigel argues that this change is natural and to be expected.
Women and their mothers were what Weigel calls the “hosts” of the courtship, and it was socially unacceptable for a man to ask a woman out unless she showed that she was open to his attention.Courtship also typically happened in private spaces and was supervised by parents or other authority figures.