Dating is hard enough without including political ideologies on your list of deal breakers. But in this day and age, if you find a guy who has a problem with feminist ideals, then it’s probably time to say “boy, bye” and find someone who can get with the 21st century. Because the fact of the matter is that feminism is just the “radical” notion that women are people, too. It’s a demand for equal treatment under the law, and if you can’t get equal treatment from your partner at home, imagine how hard it is to demand that equality out in the work force. So here is a quick how-to guide for the modern feminist, that lets you know how to find the guys who will not only not have a problem with your feminism, but will proudly wear a “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like” or “The Future is Female” t-shirt out in public while he holds your hand.
Know How You Feel
You can’t let someone else’s opinions and beliefs define your own, so if feminism is important to you (and it should be) then you need to know exactly what that means to you. Is it important that you split the check with your date? That you open as many doors for him as he does for you? Is it vital that you share household chores after you move in together, or that you keep your last name if you get married? It may feel like jumping the gun at the start — and maybe it is, a little. But it’s actually good to think about these things now so that you can begin to prioritize what’s really important (respect) and what’s not a deal breaker.
Know How to Spot the Faux-Feminists
There are folks out there who know all the lingo, and will tell you how intersectional their feminism is, and they’ll tell you they’d happily take your last name, but then they’ll brush off your concerns about sexism in the workplace, and they’ll placate you when you tell them that women make 79 cents on the dollar that men make. They’ll try to “mansplain” things instead of listen and this is when you know that they are just posing as feminists because it’s the hip thing to do instead of really taking those values to heart.
Don’t Wait to Make the First Move
If you like someone, go for it — it’s an antiquated idea that a woman needs to wait to be asked out. It doesn’t necessarily take bravery or boldness, just a willingness to prioritize what could be over the fear of rejection. And honestly, the more you get rejected, the easier it is to be rejected. So the first time you make the first move will be the hardest, but it becomes less of a big deal from there.
Remember Feminism Applies to Him, Too
The patriarchal nature of our society dictates that men have to be strong, silent types. It tries to dissuade them from expressing their emotions, which can be profoundly damaging. Society tells men that they have to be the breadwinners, and they’re seen as less-than if they don’t make a lot of money. So remind them that feminism is about assuaging those injustices as much as it is about fighting for equality for women. It wants to give everyone the opportunity to live their most authentic, happy lives.
Lead by Example
You might meet a perfectly lovely man who has simply not been exposed to feminist theory. Don’t give up on someone the first time they express something that can be labeled misogynistic: remember that they grew up in a society that hammers subtle misogyny into almost everyone, so it might take a little time for him to grow out of it.
Remember the Basics
Feminism means not letting anyone dictate how you should appear or behave. You have the right to wear makeup, or not; to shave your legs and armpits, or not; to wax, or not. You have the right to have sex on the first date, or the fifth, or never. You have the right to call him out if he tries to make womanhood into a competition. You have the right to reject anyone for any reason and at any time. And that’s what feminism really is.