Dating whilst being a feminist can be a bit of a minefield. So many assumptions can be made about a variety of things that you may or may not believe in and it can be hard pushed to find a man or a woman who can look past such assumptions – despite the fact they may not be true – and be comfortable in pursuing a relationship with you.
People are often intimidated by feminists for no real reason at all, especially when myths and misconceptions about feminism are being pushed, or when the movement is simply misunderstood and misrepresented as something negative. The topic of gender equality can cause many rows and finding someone who agrees with and is comfortable with your views can be quite difficult. Finding someone who supports what you have to say and believes in it themselves is essential in the act of pursuing a relationship.
Women shouldn’t have to feel like we are intimidating someone, and if someone feels that we are intimidating them, perhaps that says more about them than it does about us. Why is a woman being assertive about her decisions, body, or life choices seen as a threat to some people? Author, activist and Philadelphia-based social worker Feminista Jones started a viral conversation about this on Twitter recently, by tweeting “Piss off a man today: Tell him you agree with his compliment of you”.
Buzzfeed covered the story and the many responses she received from women who have experienced hostile and aggressive behavior from men online simply because the women happened to take pride in who they were. It shows there are much deeper gender problems at play in our society which have been exposed quite a lot thanks to viral conversations like these and the online dating scene.
If participating in online dating, you can find yourself facing many judgments, especially when it comes to sex. If a feminist should consider “naughty dating”, she’s considered promiscuous. She may just be sex positive – why pass judgment on that? If she doesn’t want to put out on the first date, she’s judged for that and her feminism is blamed – there’s no need.
Online dating as a feminist can be quite tricky as you can be subjected to some rather lewd, sometimes even sinister messages from men who only see you as an object and perhaps even inferior. Online dating can be successful if you find the right person for you, and there are apps like Bumble created to be the “feminist” alternative to places like Tinder, as it allows women to make the first move and decide whether they want to communicate with the guy in the first place.
Going on dates can be as equally troublesome when they needn’t be. Working out who is going to pay for the bill, whether it is you, him or her or maybe you even split it? Dating someone who is in tune with your beliefs makes it a lot easier in these sort of situations. There’s also the possibility that your date may hold the assumption that you ‘hate men’ as apparently that is what feminism is these days. Trying to persuade them otherwise can be testing but getting someone on the same wavelength as you can be ever so rewarding.
Dating as a feminist can be lots of fun, and empowering, once you get to a place where you know what you will and won’t accept. Whilst you may have the odd man or woman completely intimidated by you, plenty of people understand and agree with the fight for gender equality and understand that the stereotype of a feminist is often so far from the truth, it is almost comical.
Telling someone you’re a feminist can lead to a variety of reactions as people perceive the word and the cause differently but plenty of people realize that feminism isn’t what the media and others make it out to be. As a feminist, you can be nicely groomed, you can be interested in getting attention from a male or a female, you can do things that a ‘stereotypical feminist’ may not do – and that’s okay.
It is completely possible for a man to be a feminist too and dating can be just as tricky for them too. Finding a feminist partner to date is great as you share a belief in the cause of gender equality and truly believe each other is equal – you know that each one’s opinion is valid even if it isn’t ‘right’ at that particular time. You are able to analyze when media completely disregards gender equality yet again and be frustrated when Hollywood yet again screws over their female protagonist – if there is a female protagonist at all!
Being a feminist on a date, whilst tricky, can also be ultimately rewarding. We’re currently experiencing a time in history when women’s voices and visibility is at the forefront of a lot of different conversations – not just in the dating world. Yes, there are many people in society still unwilling to fully come around to the idea that women should be afforded the same rights and freedoms as men, but with feminism being such a major topic in the workforce, in politics, in the home, in healthcare, in economics and so on, feminists have a much better chance of finding a partner who believes in the values they do while dating.
You may encounter some dilemmas during your time on the dating scene – the man insisting on paying for dinner, always wanting to open the door for you, expecting your attention constantly and expecting you not to talk to other men. It comes down to communication and knowing what are the right battles to right, and what is or isn’t explicitly a denigration of gender equality. At the end of the day, dating is something to be enjoyed and something we are all entitled to do, sans slut-shaming, stereotypes or sexism.