As if the world doesn’t already judge women enough, we draw even more attention upon ourselves as feminists when it comes to being in romantic relationships. How can it be possible to be in a mindset of such extreme societal values and still be able to function with a partner? Well, that’s just it–ya can’t. Luckily, that is not what feminism is about. We want equality–not dominance, and this tends to work out great in dating and relationships.
I would be willing to put money on the idea that most realistic feminists who are in relationships experience higher levels of satisfaction than that of our non-feminist counterparts. We have different ideas about what a relationship should be which allows more room for creating positive energy. I recently went on a date with someone who, when he went to open the car door for me, stopped short and said “Oh wait, sorry. I forgot you’re a feminist.” I suppose he was under the common notion that feminists want to prove that we can do everything by ourselves, for ourselves, and don’t need men for anything. This is so unfair! We are equals. Without women, there would be no procreation, but nor would there be without men. Aside from just this very basic example, there are so many other ways that we can give and take in relationships with our romantic partners as we work towards intimacy and happiness.
In traditional dating, most women would expect that they will be picked up from home and courted for the evening, to include having their meal/entertainment paid for and doors opened/chairs pulled out. I am totally for this. Take us out, show us a good time! Prove to us how you are different from the sea of other suitors in the world. Women love to be spoiled and we definitely notice every effort you make for us down to the smallest details. Where dating a feminist might get a little confusing is understanding how she differs from women with more conservative values, which leads me to my first point:
1. Feminists want to be on a level playing field.
This means stepping down a little sometimes to share the spotlight. She may invite you out for an all-expenses paid adventure where she will pick you up and take care of everything for the day, or she may want to cook you a 5-course meal at home and go for a stroll downtown afterwards. Let her. This allows us an opportunity to not only express our gratitude for your efforts, but also to feel that sense of equality that every feminist craves. We don’t need to have every decision made and meal paid for all the time in a relationship, we want to reciprocate the favor. This article offers men’s insights on the topic, which makes for an interesting supplement to feminist thoughts. This first point has potential to make some men feel inadequate, so if you can’t handle a good woman taking care of you, you may want to reconsider. And while we are dishing out warnings, you might also want to take your inadequacies into account after reviewing point number two.
2. Feminists have an open-minded and diverse point of view on worldly topics.
We reject mainstream culture telling us that men are innately better than women, and are therefore more in tune with independent thought and radical ideas. Don’t be surprised if you take a feminist out for drinks and she wants to talk about things like the next local government elections or NASA’s progress on colonizing Mars (if you need help with initiating or engaging in interesting dinner conversation, this might help…). Opening up the mind to feminist ideals creates a very fertile ground for other stimulating topics of interest, and your average feminist will want to share these with you. If, while on a date, she does open up and share with you, consider point number three…
3. Feminists might become defensive if you are not on board the equality train.
Let’s face it: unless you are a woman you can never truly know the struggles that we deal with day in and day out on issues of equality (or lack, thereof). As feminists, it becomes such an important part of every day existence that trying to enjoy a night out with someone who does not understand or at least accept our desire for equality is just about impossible. If you want to spend time with her, know that women’s rights ARE a big deal, she WILL defend herself if she feels the need to, and she will NOT feel guilty about doing so. A feminist would rather be single than with the wrong person, which translates to my next point:
The great thing about landing yourself a date with a feminist is that you are automatically in a position of great advantage compared to other members of her potential dating pool. Feminists tend to be stong and independent women free from the idea that women need to have a man by their side in order to be happy. That being said, she doesn’t need to go out with you or spend time with you to feel adequate. She is doing so because she is genuinely interested in you and what you have to offer. A feminist will never waste time hanging around a man who does not respect her or complement her life in a positive way. If she is with you, you know its because she really wants to be. Finally, review point five to make the most of your time together.
5. Feminists are most comfortable around people who respect their views and opinions.
Some people might be inclined to date a woman simply because she is attractive, smart , a good cook, or all three. To date a feminist though, you truly do need to understand and respect her thoughts on feminism and women’s rights–it is not something that can just be swept under the carpet. She likes pickles on her sandwich and you don’t? Fine, not a deal breaker. She’s a feminist and you don’t agree with her views on the subject? Deal breaker.
Dating a feminist really can be a unique and rewarding experience if you understand her and know what kind of things to expect. I have yet to meet a feminist who is not completely in touch with herself and overflowing with high self-esteem and independence. Don’t be afraid to date a feminist, just be open-minded and respectful about anything that might come out of her mouth and she will of course return the favor–unless you bash on women’s equality, in which case you might find yourself getting slapped.