Feminism: modern movement or dating dread? It seems more and more women *and men* are quick to announce their feminist beliefs these days, but what does it actually mean to believe in feminism, and should men really fear dating a feminist?
When presented with the idea of dating a feminist, some men may have the mental image of handing their testicles over to a fresh-faced brunette who is laughing maniacally.
Before you can truly decide whether to fear feminism or not, you should probably know exactly what it is and isn’t all about.
So, what is feminism all about? This topic can be a sticky subject for men and women alike, especially when comparing feminism as it was back when it started and feminism as it is in contemporary society. Are you picturing women with beehive hairstyles burning their bras? If so, I beg you to stop. [Read: 19 Inspiring male feminist ideas from men around the world]
In reality, the 1960s and 70s feminist movement was all about a woman’s right to vote, to have a social voice, to attend college, to have wage and job equality, and to have a right to their husband’s earnings and property.
Okay, okay, that last bit sounds bad. But how would you feel if, after 30 years of marriage, your mate kicked the bucket, and you had no legal right to any of their things, your home, or any of their remaining income? It was total BS–and you know it.
The women’s movement of the 1960s and the march of feminism in the 2000s are vastly different. While those back in the 60s were more apt to holding signs requesting the right to vote, extremist feminist women now crop up in Google image results holding signs declaring: “Proud Slut.” Indeed, the times, they are a-changing. [Read: 9 telltale signs you’re dating a radical feminist]
Modern-day feminism is neither about bra-burning, nor a woman’s right to shag everything in sight. Instead of being singularly female-oriented, modern feminism is a call for economic, personal, social, and cultural equality among all sexes and orientations.
So what are the stereotypes of dating a feminist? Often pigeonholed as more of a headache than a lover, here are some of the main concerns the non-feminist populous has when it comes to these strong-minded femme fatales.
The stereotype following feminists and the joke they are totally sick of hearing is: “So, you hate men?” While some women do dislike their penis-packing counterparts, it likely has nothing to do with whether or not she is a feminist, but is directly related to her own personal experiences.
On the contrary, being a feminist does not mean you must hate men. There are many feminists who have been in loving relationships with men for many years. In fact, there are even feminist men! [Read: 9 reasons women reject men… but not because of feminism!]
If you believe that a feminist is a woman who isn’t into sex, you haven’t done a Google search of feminists lately. Modern-day feminists are all about freedom with their bodies, and not being shamed about their sex lives *or lack thereof*. Feminists are lovers of sex–of satisfying, consensual sex, to be exact.
If your lady love feels her body is equally entitled to an orgasm every sexy session, you best believe she be lovin’ the sex! [Read: Why your long-time girlfriend refuses to have sex]
Another stereotype may be that as a feminist, your girlfriend will not perform kinky types of sex or even oral. While some feminists do believe that certain sex acts promote the degradation and objectification of women, every feminist is different.
Your girl doesn’t always have to abide by these beliefs because her feminism doesn’t necessarily have to affect what she does and doesn’t like to do in bed.
If she thinks that you coming on her face is more of a degrading act than a loving one, she’ll definitely refuse! But if she’s into that, she’ll do it gladly… and with enthusiasm! [Read: 14 tips to get your girl to open up about sex]
When you picture a feminist, do you imagine a scraggly hipster who doesn’t care what she looks like? Don’t be ridiculous.
While the modern woman may choose to defy social standards by refusing makeup and waxing, she may also pack her face so thoroughly with makeup and glitter that you hardly recognize her!
It’s a woman’s prerogative to dress up and knock your socks off or to walk around, bare-faced, in yoga pants… and still, knock your socks off!
Feminists get this rap that they hate chivalry and compliments, and that it’s evil to be attached to a man. So yeah, she may occasionally hold the door open for you, or pay for your meal, but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t want you to return the favor occasionally.
The point is, she is an individual, not your possession, but that doesn’t mean that she won’t get excited to see you, text you during the day, or act cutesy when you’re around.
Do you feel like dating a feminist means your girlfriend will be inclined to argue about every contrary opinion you, your family, your friends, and Joe Blow have to offer?
While your feminist lady love isn’t afraid to stand up for herself, not every conversation with you or your friends will result in her being a scary feminist gobble-monster. Just don’t be a chauvinist idiot, and you should be fine. [Read: 8 ways to avoid the awkward tension after an argument]
Feminists are notoriously hard to take to the movies. This one is likely true. Due to overt sexism, female sexualization, and a lack of positive female leads in many mainstream films *read: women with no personalities who only exist to cater to the men*, it will probably be a little more difficult to take your girlfriend out on a movie date.
However, just because your gal is a feminist, doesn’t mean every outing or conversation will be dripping with double meanings and wrought with personal causes. Sometimes, she just wants to hang back and watch funny cat videos, eat pizza, and talk about nothing. [Read: 20 fun and unconventional date ideas to try with your girl]
Because there are so many myths about dating a feminist, some people think it’s very difficult or almost impossible to do it. Sure, if you don’t understand the mindset of a feminist, then it will be tough for you. So, before you date a feminist, here are some things you should know.
If you have traditional gender role ideas and are extremely conservative overall, then you should probably not date a feminist. Sometimes, conservatives have beliefs that are not well aligned with the feminist way of thinking.
So, if you want to keep the status quo, dating someone who wants to challenge them is not a good idea. If you do date a feminist, you might have endless arguments over a lot of different topics. [Read: What is masculinity? 19 really manly traits women hope to see in you]
A feminist really hates being treated as underprivileged. In other words, they believe that whatever a man can do, women can do it too – and sometimes even better.
Therefore, don’t try to be chivalrous or “help” a feminist in any way. You might think that you are just being nice and polite, but they will see it as you looking “down” on them because you think they are incapable of doing something themselves.
Because feminists feel so deeply about women’s rights and abilities, you should give them a lot of time to talk about them. So, you should be a good listener and allow them to discuss their views. They want you to have a deeper understanding of what they stand for and all of their ideologies. [Read: The opposite of feminist – a new generation of women?]
Be prepared to hear a lot about how unfairly the world treats women and has been throughout all of time. That is at the core of who they are. They are trying to change your view about gender and convince you that they are right.
Feminists tend to be well-informed and educated people. So, in order to keep up with their level of conversation, you need to be able to engage in a deep conversation. This doesn’t mean you should argue with them, however.
Instead, you have to have empathy. Even if you don’t agree with their beliefs, you have to try to see their point of view, especially if you are a man. You need to let them vent and give them affirmation that you feel their pain. [Read: How to show empathy and learn to understand someone else’s feelings]
Now that you know the myths about a feminist, you should stay away from stereotyping them. A lot of people think they are man-hating bra-burners, but that’s not true. Sure, some are. But they are the extremists.
Some feminists simply believe that men and women are equal and should have the same opportunities in life. The end. Period. So don’t let your preconceived ideas cloud your mind when you are dating a feminist.
While a lot of women like it when a man takes her out on a date and pays for her meal, feminists don’t like that. They want to pay their own way because they feel like you are looking down on them and can’t afford to go out. [Read: Dominant girlfriend – the pros and cons of dating a woman in control and how to handle it]
She might even take charge and make the reservations or even order for you. She likes to be a person in charge and have the upper hand when it comes to the power dynamic in a relationship.
A lot of people use words like “honey” or “sweetie” or “chick” when they talk to women *or even men*. But feminists hate that. They see these terms as derogatory toward them.
Think about it. The word “chick” means a helpless baby chicken. And even referring to them as “girls” is insulting to them. That’s because a “girl” is powerless and needs to be taken care of. But a “woman” is strong and capable. [Read: What your pet name says about your relationship]
When you are dating a feminist, you want to watch your language overall. You need to use gender-neutral words like “firefighter” instead of “fireman” or “server” instead of “waitress.” They see words like this as being discriminatory toward women.
They also are very sensitive about using terms like “Mrs.” and they prefer “Ms.” They also will be extremely unlikely to change their name when they get married. The reason for this is because they think that tradition implies ownership of the woman, which she is vehemently against.
You might think all these things to know before dating a feminist are overwhelming. And you might even be thinking, “Oh heck no! I’m not doing that!” [Read: Dating an independent woman – 28 expectations and other must-knows]
But there are a lot of benefits to dating a feminist. First, they are very intelligent so you can have deep conversations with them. You can look at the world through different eyes and become a better person.
Also, you could save money! That sounds like a joke, but it’s true. A feminist will want to pay for her half on a date and will always have a career. You won’t have to worry that she won’t pull her weight with the finances in the relationship.
Well, every relationship is different. And honestly, not all feminists are alike. But overall, being in a relationship with a feminist can be great. They are very independent, so if you like your space from your partner this is a great arrangement.
However, if you are very traditional and chivalrous, then you will be very frustrated dating a feminist. You won’t be able to take care of her or do anything for her. So, think about that before you commit to something serious.
[Read: How to make a woman happy – 28 simple things that matter most to her]
Do you believe that both genders have equal rights? If so, you really should have no problem dating a modern feminist. Have you ever dated one? Tell us how it worked out for you in the comments below!
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Waverly Smith is a freelance writer who has been getting paid for spreading her sarcastic take on love, life, and sex since 2010. She is many things that peo...
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