The Romance Gap keeps traditional gender roles alive in The Philippines

A new campaign from popular dating app Bumble shows how the Romance Gap defines equality and sets expectations in dating and relationships

Bumble, the women-first dating app, has launched a new campaign in the Philippines to raise awareness of the ‘Romance Gap‘—the discrepancy in behavior 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 92% of Filipino adults state that equality is important between people who are dating or in a relationship, the overwhelming majority (90%) say that when it comes to romantic relationships, there are different expectations and expected behaviors based on your gender identity.

Bumble’s new research has found that these expectations are so ingrained in our society that the majority (72%) of people say traditional gender roles lead us to behave in a way that is less true to who we are and 62% of people claim it makes dating and relationships more stressful and/or difficult.

Often, behaviors that are labeled romantic for men are negatively labeled 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. 62% of people surveyed state that men are expected to take the lead in dating and relationships, while only 17% think women should do so.

• Men are expected to say ‘I love you’ first: Almost half (49%) of the people surveyed state that men should be the first to say those three little words and express their love first, while only 22% think women should profess their love first.

• Men are expected to be the breadwinners and earn more money: Men are still expected to earn more than their partners and play the role of the breadwinner, despite women making advances in their careers and professional lives in the Philippines. More than half (64%) state that men are expected to earn more money, while only 31% think women should do so.

• Women should not appear desperate: More than 1 in 4 (39%) people surveyed state that women are expected to avoid appearing too keen, clingy, attached, or desperate. Additionally, 36% of women have felt that they should play hard-to-get in dating and relationships.

• Women feel like they need to hold back: More than 1 in 4 (37%) of women have expressed their hesitance to appear too opinionated and direct. Moreover, 42% of women fear being judged for being direct about what they want.

• Men should take the lead sexually: The research found that Filipinos still lean conservatively when it comes to conversations and openness around sex and intimacy. 38% say men are expected to be sexually direct and discuss their sexual wants or preferences, but only 25% say women are expected to do so.

Bumble’s APAC Communications Director Lucille McCart said, “The Romance Gap is a new term, but many of us will know the feeling. Those moments of waiting for the other person to take the lead, wondering if sending the first text or asking someone on a date makes you look too desperate, or worrying about being judged for being too opinionated, too direct, or too old. By not questioning or critiquing the Romance Gap, we leave ourselves locked into gender roles that more than half (67%) of Filipino adults say it is difficult to build healthy equal relationships. By not questioning or critiquing the Romance Gap, we leave ourselves locked into gender roles that 62% of Filipinos say make dating more stressful and difficult. The only way to close the Romance Gap is to make ourselves aware of it, acknowledge it exists, and then challenge yourself and each other when you notice that you are slipping into gendered expectations. Equality is something that should be addressed early and openly in dating. Now more than ever is the time to start dating on your terms and making your first moves.

While these expectations exist, there is a desire for change. 73% of Filipinos feel strongly that it is important to maintain respect and equality in long-term relationships and more than half (63%) of women state that it is important to address equality early in dating and relationships.

Bumble is empowering women to challenge gendered expectations and make the first move. The popular dating app puts women in control, where women set the tone and choose when and how to open the conversation.

This campaign is part of Bumble’s efforts to raise awareness of The Romance Gap and empower people to create healthy and equitable relationships, dating on their terms and in their way.

For more news and updates, visit www.bumble.com

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