Functionalist Perspective on Dating, Courting, and Other Pre-Marriage Arrangements

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Dating, courting, and other pre-marriage arrangements are practices that are influenced by the time period, social conditions and constructs, biology, cultural norms, and institutional structures that surround people. Dating has changed a lot in the past century. In the 1920's to 1940's, dating involved a more informal dating. For the first time there were no chaperones on dates between males and females. The dates required no formal commitment to each other and there was more freedom. Previously the community and church established the dating rules, but now peers institute the rules. Instead of the man coming to the women's house, They went "out" where it required money. It is said that there was a control issue surrounding the change in dating. Previously dating was somewhat in the women's control because the man was coming into her house. However, now couples were going out and the man paid for the date, giving up a little of the woman's control. The most popular pastimes on dates were dancing and movies. Before the 1920's going dancing was a group activity but now it became couple oriented. Cars also had a huge impact on dating practices. Having a car now enabled couples to have more privacy and intimacy. The practice of "petting" spread over all the dating couples now more than ever and there were even "petting" parties. This new kind of dating allowed each person to get to know each other better before they settled in an exclusive relationship. The focus was now on success and popularity with out involving emotions. Before, this type of dating, formal courting was for the purpose of finding the "ideal" mate. During the 1930's, "steady" relationships had developed as a stage between casualness of dating and marriage. When a "steady" stage had formed, they dated only each other, which could last for months or maybe just a week. This bond was marked with meaningful rituals, for instance the sharing class rings or letter jackets. Romantic love was the only...
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