Beyonce is one. So are Emma Watson and Taylor Swift. I’m not talking about smokin’ powerhouses (although they are that, too). No, I’m talking about feminists, gents. This “F word” that has permeated our (pop) culture is not only oh-so-important to women, but also to the world. However, despite so many people willing to adopt the label more than ever (and, yes, I say “people” because proclaiming oneself as a feminist is not exclusive to women), it’s become obvious there are still so many misconceptions about its true definition, and what it means for you guys.
I’ve been involved in a few different disagreements with men over the last few weeks about it. Some men think it means women are “looking for things to argue about” (we’re not), while others believe feminists are just a bunch of man-haters who want to eradicate the male race (we aren’t and we don’t, so, relax, bro).
To quote badass author Caitlin Moran, feminism is simply “the belief that women should be as free as men, however nuts, dim, deluded, badly dressed, fat, receding, lazy, and smug they might be.” Basically, feminists, like women, are just fucking PEOPLE who deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. Pretty easy, right?
Unfortunately some men think that dating a feminist woman is “difficult,” and emasculating. Ugh. Yet in reality, a survey of adults in heterosexual relationships conducted a few years ago by researchers at Rutgers University, New Jersey, found that men with feminist partners reported greater relationship stability and sexual satisfaction.
But, if you’re still wondering how to navigate a date with a feminist, here are some tips for you. Prepare to have your world rocked—in the best possible way.
You Will Look at the World Differently
Feminists have a keen eye and understanding about how women are portrayed in the media, so be prepared to learn how your favourite movie is actually super sexist. She will make you question how you’ve perceived certain things your entire life (“Wait—why does that woman have to be topless?”). You might feel uncomfortable. Heck, you might even argue with her about it. I’ve had quite the discussion on the sexism surrounding Black Widow in this summer’s Avengers sequel, but you need to be at least open to what she’s saying and hear her out. Walk a mile in her shoes. If you attempt to broaden your perspective on life and the male-dominated narrative that has been ingrained upon us since the dawn of time, you might actually thank her for it.
You Can Pay For Dinner
Can chivalry and feminism co-exist? Damn straight. Look, if you want to pay for a woman’s dinner, you don’t have to wonder whether you should give yourself props for being a gentleman or cower in shame at your attempt to “own” a woman. I think Emma Watson said it best. “I love being taken to dinner . . . but I think the key is would you mind if I open the door for you? I’m polite and you’re polite and we’re making the world a better place with this small kind polite gesture.”
And if your date insists she takes you out? Watson says, “I actually took a man out for dinner, and I chose the restaurant and I offered to pay and it was really awkward and uncomfortable . . . but the cool thing about it was we were both willing to have the conversation about why it was awkward or why it was uncomfortable. We were able to have this dialogue. “
Chivalry and feminism are not mutually exclusive, but they should inform each other.
You Will Notice How You Treat Women
Feminists are particularly attuned to your treatment of women. She’s not going to be impressed if you’re talking smack about your “crazy ex-girlfriend” because that generally means that your ex had emotional needs that you refused to meet (unless she pulled some Fatal Attraction shit). She’ll also pay attention to how you discuss women in general. A friend of mine was bragging about wanting to bang two female roommates, referring to them more as commodities than human beings. Needless to say, I pulled the chute on that convo and called him out on it. He later admitted that he didn’t realise how much of a misogynist he was being and apologised. If you’re going around calling women “crazy” or using any other derogatory labels, that says more about you and your shitty views on women, and she’s not going to want a second date.
The Sex Will Be Good
There’s a really stupid belief about feminists not liking sex. That’s bullshit. We just don’t want to be shamed for enjoying sex and our sexuality. Feminists want sex to be consensual, safe, fun with a communicative, generous partner who wants to make her orgasm as much as he wants to get off. Waiting for her to come makes sex actually super fun—that is, if you’re good in bed. If you’re not, then you’ll just find it confusing and tiresome, and, then ultimately find yourself alone.
You Will Be a Better Man
Feminists believe in equality for all genders, races, and sexual orientations. By dating a feminist, you will learn to be open-minded, patient, tolerant, and kind, which is what most men want anyway. Don’t believe me? In a large international study, men reported that being seen as honourable, self-reliant, and respected was more important to their idea of masculinity than being seen as attractive, sexually active, or successful with women. The men in the study more frequently ranked good health, harmonious family life, and good relationships with their wife or partner as more important to their quality of life than material, self-fulfilling or purely sexual concerns.
See? You’re a feminist already. You just didn’t know it yet.
Brianne Hogan is a freelance writer based in Toronto, something of a humorist, and considers herself more Bridget Jones than Samantha Jones. Though she won’t reveal which parts, she will admit to liking emotionally unavailable men and drinking lots of wine. You can follow her on Twitter @briannehogan.