The article is titled “What Do Women Want? A Qualitative Study of Dating” and it focuses on the issues of nonverbal communication during courtship. The authors of this study are all university tutors who are interested in the subjects of communication and gender issues. The research for this study focuses on the dating habits of a group of forty-five young women. Dating is a process that is subject to various aspects of communication. Most dating practices occur between individuals who have similar traits and interests.
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Therefore, communication is major factor in the course of courtship practices. On the other hand, it is necessary for individuals who are involved in dating practices to understand their mates so as to avoid instances of conflict. The authors of this article note that their study highlights issues of conflicts that arise among young women regarding “what they want, dating realities, desire for traditional behavior from the man, alcohol use, sexual arousal (hers and his), indirect communication about sex, feeling ‘obligated’, and enhanced self-esteem” (Noel, Ogle, Maisto & Jackson, 2014, p. 1). The complexities surrounding the dating practices of young women require a heightened understanding of the communication dynamics that dominate this process.
The article begins by outlining an overview of courtship and its basic standards within the context of Western culture. Furthermore, the authors of this article seek to address the behaviors that pertain to sex and expressions of romance. Nevertheless, the article notes that dating is a crucial step in the establishment of romantic relationships. Consequently, the communication that takes part in the initial stages of courtship is quite important.
The definition of ‘dating’ is restricted to relationships that are defined by sexual overtones. The authors of this article took time to explore and define the concept of dating. The article points out that a breakdown in communication during the dating exercise can lead to misunderstandings. These misunderstandings are the cause of various harmful outcomes such as sexual coercion. The article also points out that in instances of open communication, dating is a pleasant activity for most young women.
A full understanding of the dating process among young women requires the comprehension of the attractions and risks that dominate courtship practices. The article’s research questions involve finding out “what attracts women to dating, what women expect from the dating process, and how women attempt to achieve their sexual/relationship goals” (Noel et al., 2014, p. 4).
The article highlights several new and important concepts of dating among women including sexual coercion, the effects of alcohol among dating women, and the female psychology. The article breaks down the research questions that guide the authors’ research. Most of the research questions that were used in the course of this study sought to establish the nonverbal communication cues that dominate courtship.
For instance, the expected code of conduct and the main points of attraction during courtship are one of the most important aspects of courtship. The focus group method of conducting research was used to identify the dating habits of the study’s forty-nine participants. The results of the study highlight important aspects of the courtship process including what is considered to be normative dating practices, sexual signals, and attractiveness.
The authors of this article present an article that defines important communication cues. The authors tackle a subject that is often the source of misunderstanding between both men and women. It is common for individuals who take part in courtship practices to encounter instances of communication breakdowns. This article demystifies most of the misconceptions that surround courtship practices. For example, the media and other avenues of popular culture often depict women as individuals who are ‘impossible to read’. However, this article presents a breakdown of a scientific research that seeks to explain the non-verbal communication cues that could eliminate instances misunderstanding between men and women in regard to courtship.
One interesting aspect of this article is that it tackles the ‘almost taboo’ topic of women and sexual signals. According to the article, women “are very aware of sexual signals” (Noel et al., 2014, p. 10). Consequently, it is the men who are more likely to misread the non-verbal communication that pertains to sex. One of the study’s participants revealed that on most occasions “the man is saying I want it but the girl is like, this is not the time for it” (Noel et al., 2014, p. 10).
The authors also offer other ‘juicy’ details that were provided by the participants of the study’s focus group. These details are important to readers because they provide them with a practical insight into the non-verbal communication between men and women when they are courting. Another interesting aspect of this discussion was the revelation that most women agree to engage in sexual activity because they believe that this consent is part of nonverbal communication. For instance, some participants revealed that agreeing to have sex is a way of informing a man that you like him.
The authors of this research present it as an academic article but on most occasions, they concentrate too much on the informal aspects of their subject. Informal text is common throughout the article but it is likely that this design was deliberately used by the authors in order to appeal to wider audiences. For instance, the ‘results and discussion’ section of the paper focuses too much on the secondary aspects of courtship. Although the decision to take a casual approach makes this article palatable, it does not appeal to most scholars and academics. Another minor issue in the paper is the lack of new and ‘controversial’ information in the discussion section of the study.
The discussion section is a restatement of the main points within the paper. The article does not dwell on controversial subjects such as the high instances of date rape during courtship. Nevertheless, the article only refers to ‘risky behaviors’ when addressing courtship in the discussion section.
The article is very relevant to my experiences as a young person who has engaged in courtship in the past. Some of the information that is presented by the authors is also quite helpful to most individuals in my age group. For example, from this article I learnt about some of the most effective nonverbal cues that can be used by women towards men. The information that is contained in this article has the potential to improve the dating experiences of most teenagers.
Most individuals learn about courtship through personal experiences. For instance, my views about members of the opposite sex and communication during dates are often shaped by personal experiences and the information that I get from my peers. However, on several occasions these two sources of information have been faulty thereby compromising my courtship experiences. On one occasion, I was accused by a potential mate of being confused because what I said was often contradicted by the advice that I got from other people. The authors of this article suggest that discussions about sex should follow the path of openness and honesty.
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During most of my prior dating experiences, a lot of effort was often directed towards one or both individuals hiding their intentions. This research also addresses the aspect of people hurting the feelings of their potential mates. In my experience, men often use this latter sentiment as an excuse when they are exploiting the feelings of women. Some men will do anything to further their sexual agendas and this includes ‘sulking’ or appearing dejected towards their womenfolk. This article also gave me the ability to become an advisor on matters of sexual coercion. In future, I have the potential to offer positive advice especially to my female friends.
Noel, N. E., Ogle, R. L., Maisto, S. A., & Jackson, L. A. (2014). What do women want? A qualitative study of dating. Violence against women, 1(1), 1-21.