The college gender gap and dating

February 8, 2010 | NeW Staff

It’s Friday night, my girlfriends and I get together at Hume Hall, swap clothes, do each other’s makeup and put band aids on our ankles to protect against blisters. Then we “go out.” We meet another set of girlfriends on University Street and make “home base” a corner booth at our favorite spot—for Gator Girls c/o 2009 it was “:08” on Thursdays. But what is to come of all the makeup, glam and pre-gaming? One boy will wander over to our booth and talk to ALL 8 of us. Sound familiar? Insert your dorm, your bar and your favorite style and you have a Friday night for most women who went to college sometime over the last 5 years. But alas, someone other than us girls is beginning to catch on.

The NY Times headlined the article; “The New Math on Campus” connecting the dots between the male/female ratio in college classes and how the ratio is affecting the dating pool.

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, with a student body that is nearly 60 percent female, is just one of many large universities that at times feel eerily like women’s colleges.

Needless to say, this puts guys in a position to play the field, and tends to mean that even the ones willing to make a commitment come with storied romantic histories. Rachel Sasser, a senior history major at UNC-Chapel Hill, said that before she and her boyfriend started dating, he had “hooked up with a least five of my friends in my sorority — that I know of.”

According to a recent report by the American Council on Education, women have represented about 57 percent of enrollment in colleges since 2000. Some schools recognize the gender inequality in the classroom and have created quasi “affirmative action for boys” programs. Yet, leading feminists organizations see this as female discrimination and in December, “The United States Commission on Civil Rights moved to subpoena admissions data from 19 public and private colleges to look at whether they were discriminating against qualified female applicants,” according to the NYT.

This aside, what can be said of the social ramifications of such an inverted ratio?

“A lot of guys know that they can go out and put minimal effort into their appearance and not treat girls to drinks or flatter them, and girls will still flirt with them,” Felicite Fallon, a senior at Florida State University said, which is 56 percent female.

Girls are often pressured to go “outside their comfort zone” just to ensure that the boy at the bar will call back the next morning. Women are pining for attention from men on “men’s terms” and forgetting their own values. The result: women are waking up alone with the memory of a casual hook-up from the night before.

So while women appear the “victors” in academia, we are losing out on stable, committed relationships. Researchers may not fully know the effects of this new form of college hook-ups for years, but I do hope this article sheds light on an issue that so many of us can speak to personally. 

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