How to Handle Dating a Feminist
An Instruction Manual
Feminism, as defined in Webster’s Dictionary, means advocacy of increased political activity or rights for women. If you are a feminist than you work for women’s rights. Whether it is domestic abuse laws, the control of birth control or salary discrimination, the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1970’s has held fast even to this day addressing those issues. The feminist movement has been so successful that in fact we have somehow gained male membership. Yes, there are men existing today that consider themselves feminists.
What it IS and What it AIN’T
While their participation is appreciated, there is just one small fact that cancels this whole thing out: they are not women. Therefore, labeling themselves as feminists is incorrect. What they should be saying is “I am sympathetic and am in support of the feminist movement.” Is it so hard? I guess it’s easier to say, “I’m a feminist” than put some thought behind what is actually being said. There is no way to understand what a menstrual cycle is and all the problems it creates unless you have had one. There is no way to know how scary it is to have to look over your shoulder in a dark parking lot, waiting for the unseen, unless you’ve done it. There is no way to know how insulted we feel when we are not entitled to the same amount of money that men are making, unless you’re the one cashing the paychecks.
Some of my most brilliant male friends, those who know stats on logging or understand and study 3rd World Economics, these men who I respect and adore, are a little misinformed; sexist even. They forget themselves sometimes. It may be something they heard when they were a child, or seen in a movie, but it’s there. Some are worse than others. Some are downright scary.
What does sexism mean? Let’s go back to our trusty dictionary and see what it reads. Discrimination of one sex against another. Hmmmm. You may ask if I am sexist at this point. Of course not, I want to point out simply the disadvantage women have compared to men about issues like objectivity, income, and imagery. These issues directly correlate with social issues like salary, reproductive legislation and women’s services.
It takes an understanding of equality……
Some men just can’t let go. They rule over women in every sense. Women are subservient, whose jobs include making babies, cooking and cleaning. These are the men that talk the loudest about their rights as men. Really? Like the Promise Keepers, they contribute to the perpetuation of female stereotypes. It’s time to shift gears a little here…..Chances are a female activist will not encounter the above and the chances are even less that the type of man described above will go looking for a gal like me. However, we all experience one another at some point in our life and carry that baggage with us through the door.
TIPS FOR MEN WHEN DATING A FEMALE ACTIVIST
- Be INCREDIBLY respectful. I mean it on this one. This not only impresses us, it puts us in a good mood. No need to kiss ass here, there’s just not many men who pull chairs out, open doors and allow us to walk out of an elevator first. Although other feminists may disagree- saying that they can open their own damn door. I prefer to be respected and put at priority number one.
- Drop any ideas of being macho or manly or whatever. We all know you are a man, unless you have stated otherwise, so it’s not necessary to act like we forgot. Just relax, be yourself and engage in some meaningful conversation.
- If you are an older fella dating a younger woman, don’t be paternal. Meaning, don’t advise her on her finances unless she asks, don’t recommend what she should do with her job unless she asks, and don’t fool around with her car unless she asks. Know what I mean?
- Don’t engage in activities around a woman that perpetuate a known stereotype that may offend her. Notice the italics. I don’t mind going to strip clubs. How often do I go? Couple times a year maybe. That doesn’t mean that she may want to. Think first, don’t be stupid and don’t insult her intelligence by assuming she wants to do something ‘harmless’ with you. Some women just don’t like that stuff. End of story.
- Be open-minded if she is bisexual. But don’t be dumbass and try to get her to agree to a three-some. It’s disrespectful and naïve.
- Don’t be surprised if she doesn’t commit right away, even if you’ve had sex. Today’s women want what they want and aren’t afraid to go after it. It doesn’t mean she’s gonna call you on her way home from work, honey. Be patient. If not, it will turn out to be your loss.
And most important: DON’T SAY YOU ARE A FEMINIST—you may be confused about the meaning. There are so many guys that like to get into unhealthy debates with women about women’s rights. Hello? It just makes no sense at all. It’s like debating how tough it is to deal with prostate cancer or arguing with an African-American about who has the harder struggle. No one wins and it’s just plain unfair. Just sympathize; keep up to date on all current info pertaining women (not hard) and go to bat when we need you to. Oh, send flowers every now and then, too.