"Big Four" Highlights


Why Not Ask Her Out?

The fate of dating in a hook-up world

Dating was once common and everyone knew the rules. You asked a girl out for a soda or a movie but it didn’t mean marriage, or sleeping together by midnight. It meant you both wanted to share a good time and get to know one another better.

Today, evidently, it’s different. In a youth culture of hook-ups and no-commitment, one-night stands, dating is considered awkward and old-fashioned.

To help young people rediscover the fun and virtue of dating, the Love and Fidelity Network developed an initiative called Bring Dating Back. With a focus on Valentine’s Day, the program uses innovative graphics and social media to spread its message.

Fathers for Good spoke with Brittany Crippen, director of outreach and communications at the Love and Fidelity Network, for an update on the initiative.

Fathers for Good: How many years has Bring Back Dating been running?

Brittany Crippen: We released the first poster campaign in February 2015 and unveiled an updated version of the original campaign in February 2016.

FFG: What has been the response?

Brittany Crippen: When we released the campaign, the response was overwhelmingly positive. We saw so much energy and excitement on campuses all across the nation.

FFG: What's so great about dating?

Brittany Crippen: We launched the #BringDatingBack campaign to encourage college students to feel more comfortable asking each other out and intentionally dating, instead of “hanging out” or hooking up. The great thing about the campaign is it reminds students dating can be fulfilling and fun—without all the emotional and physical complications of the hookup culture. While the hookup culture fosters an attitude of “whoever cares less wins,” discouraging genuine care about and communication with one’s partner, dating provides a fun, low-pressure way of getting to know someone that is both respectful and relaxed.

One goal for the campaign was to overcome the awkwardness so many college students associate with dating. To revive the lost social script of asking and being asked on actual dates, we used posters with casual cartoons and simple “how-to” instructions for asking each other out. Their light and jocular tone was a huge hit with students!

FFG: What are the benefits of dating?

Brittany Crippen: The promise that women would be liberated by embracing a “playboy” lifestyle is a lie. Our contemporary sexual climate has resulted in women being more likely to feel disrespected by their partners, to experience depression and anxiety, to contract STIs, to suffer from sexual assault, the list goes on and on.

The Austin Institute released a fantastic short film called the Economics of Sex that explains today’s modern hook-up market—and points out exactly why men have the power in it.

This is not to say that relations between the sexes are ever totally straightforward. Men will always be a bit of mystery to women, and the same is true (perhaps even truer!) in the reverse. But that’s the great thing about dating: it gives you the chance to look at someone of the strange, confusing, mysterious, opposite sex and say, “I’d really like to know you. Tell me something about yourself.”

FFG: Has online pornography changed the dating equation?

Brittany Crippen: Undoubtedly pornography has changed the dating equation. It harms relationships in myriad ways. Pornography habituates users into thinking of people as objects for their own gratification and makes sex a solitary recreational activity rather than a moment of intimacy and self-gift within a loving relationship. It has directly changed the perceived norms of healthy sexuality and of what kind of behaviors are expected in relationships. Its prevalence has also cheapened the price of sex (to borrow the language of economists), acting as a competitor to, and, in some cases, a replacement for, women in the dating market.

It’s clear that in order to foster an atmosphere of healthy dating, we also need to be having more conversations about the harms of pornography and the damage it inflicts on the human heart and on our relationships.

For more information, visit Love and Fidelity.