So you’re a feminist? Good for you, you have joined the movement against patriarchy and gender roles and are ready for the political, social and economic equality of the sexes! Yet, one thing I have noticed that gets a little awkward as a feminist, is dating. Being a feminist is not necessarily the sexiest thing to be in today’s society.
Feminism has a stigma and some people find it difficult to reconcile their feminist views with their romantic life.
Dating shouldn’t get any weirder than it already is just because someone believes in social justice and equality. Its hard enough with the stammering and the sweaty palms. There are many of us that want to be a “feminist-but-nonthreatening-while-maintaining-beliefs-and-demolishing-gender-roles” type of dater, but there are some obstacles make it a bit difficult.
1. Asking the Guy (or Girl) Out.
Don’t expect a guy to ask you out. No one is “supposed” to do anything. Do you want to date someone? Ask them on a date! Some people might take this as “too aggressive” for a “traditional” or “proper” woman, but I think most people are pretty psyched to be asked out.
If you don’t want to or don’t feel comfortable asking someone out, that’s totally fine and valid, but don’t let the idea that a girl shouldn’t be the first person to make a move keep you from going for it!
2. Who Covers the Check?
The age old game of paying for the bill. Again, no one should be expected to do anything or have these standards of how guys or girls should act. If you want to split it, by all means, split the check! However, what I think a lot of feminists have trouble over is when someone wants to pay for them. Expectations are often involved, which results in the idea of owing someone something. Because of this, many girls may not feel comfortable being paid for.
At the same time, I think people forget that there is nothing wrong with wanting to do something nice for someone else.
If a guy or girl genuinely wants to pay for you, why not let them? I think there is no reason not to let someone do something nice for you and many girls seem forget that.
3. Don’t Hide Being a Feminist.
I know being a feminist may be a little threatening to most people who are unaware of feminism and what it really means. All the stereotypes and stigmas that come with feminism may make people afraid to share this part of themselves with people who are well-meaning but unaware. However, we shouldn’t let this fear of “scaring guys away” keep us from sharing this information. It’s a part of who you are and you shouldn’t feel like its a deal breaker.
Anyway, if someone you’re dating has a negative reaction to it and isn’t open minded enough to hear about it, “Check, please?”
4. Stop the Games.
“Wait three days after a date for a guy to text you.”
“Play hard to get!”
“Don’t be too easy.”
No, no, and what? Why are there all these “rules” to dating? In this dichotomy the guy is supposed to be the relentless pursuer and the girl to be coy and unattainable. These cat and mouse games play into the gender roles of submissive women and dominant men that I, as a feminist, have never felt comfortable with.
If you like someone, do whatever feels natural to show that. You shouldn’t feel the need to play this demure and elusive damsel.
Granted, these tips are mainly from a heterosexual point of view, and there are many other spheres of sexuality and romance that have their own set of norms!
Nonetheless, no one should compromise who they are when dating. A strong independent feminist shouldn’t feel like they’re intimidating or have to act a certain way when on a date. Being a feminist shouldn’t contradict a romantic life, and we shouldn’t have to trade our beliefs for one.
Basically, just be yourself.