I prefer going out on a date with a guy who’s read my blog than one who hasn’t.
When a man hasn’t visited this site, at some point during the date something like this happens:
Guy: You mentioned that you’re doing an MA at SOAS. What’s your area of study?
Me: (clears throat, prepares): Gender studies.
Guy: What studies?
Me: Gender. You know, male, female, penis, vagina, that whole concept.
Guy (smirking): Ohhhhh, so you’re one of those women.
Guy raises right fist towards the roof, confusing the black power gesture with feminism, probably thanks to Angela Davis.
If I like the guy, I may in a somewhat “unfeminist” attempt to reassure him that I don’t suffer of penis envy, consequential man-loathing or any other negative (read: unfeminine) trait associated with my beliefs, mention that I am specializing in the precolonial history of women in Africa. It is the truth, but I admit that I make a point to mention my area of study as I’ve noticed that it makes brothers relax, a pan-African woman seems less intimidating than one who is pro-woman.
I’m not angry about the situation women face in Africa, or elsewhere, I go on to explain. The world is what it is, and we can only understand and appreciate life if we know how to detach ourselves from our beliefs. Otherwise we can all find one thing or another to be angry about for the rest of our lives and to be honest even I can’t stand “the angry feminist”, and oh yes she exists. Yet that said, gender inequality kills more people than war and illness and that’s a fact, not an emotion so how do you wanna tackle it?
Anyway, dating while feminist is a challenge. Which is why you have so many women who are feminist through and through but don’t call themselves that. They have sexual IQ. Does that term exist? It should. For us suckers that missed that module, or rather, who have the balls (ovaries?) to be feminist regardless of loosing sexual IQ points, I’m thinking when the time is good to throw it in. Maybe when a guy mentions that he has five young children who all furthermore suffer from ADHD, or that he’s never had a serious relationship? Any suggestions, when is a good time to share “handicaps” on a date? 😉 Feminists, when do you tell a man about your ideological beliefs? Non-feminists, do mens’ reaction to feminism prevent you from identifying feminist?
When i was still dating (engaged now), I’d gauge it like this: if there was friction because he wasn’t comfortable with me having my own ideas or grooming myself in a way that I felt comfortable, then it usually wasn’t worth the romantic pursuit. It was very clear that we’d have different ideas about who I should be and what my role would be. However, I think it is worth evaluating what is going on when you talk to each other. For the most part, I do think there are lots of men who don’t think they espouse feminist ideas because it’s never been laid out for them, but they do. The word has suffered such horrible PR! It’s definitely worth casually talking about early on, but if it’s that unclear, maybe try some subjects to test and see where he is with women’s rights. For example: “I was reading about [any example of something loaded with gender issues] and I really felt [THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH!].” Then see what he has to say. If it’s sexist and horrible, then bam, out the door. If you actually have a conversation where he listens, then you can at least have a conversation without any antics and it should be neat to at least discover where things can go. I also found it easier to date in larger cities where the men may have come from backgrounds where their mothers defied stereotypes or they didn’t like the lack of presence their fathers had in their lives and want to be more involved in an equitable relationship. Hope that wasn’t too rambly! Happy dating and relating. 🙂
Thanks Nicole, not rambly!
Mind you, the post was satirical but nevertheless I think the point about some men not thinking they espouse feminist ideas can be relevant for feminists dating men.
Trust me, carefully testing where a man is with women’s issues isn’t necessary once the f-word is out on the table. That’s the beauty and curse of identifying feminist. You can save a lot of energy, but also as this article discussed, you almost have to dish it out like you were admitting a handicap
Mbeng Ngassa says
I totally get why ‘pan-African’ would seem less intimidating than ‘pro-woman’.
‘pan african’ is inclusive, to a brother at least. ‘pro-woman’ is expulsive to all men.
Oh easy solution, tell the guys a few nights before to have a look at your blog. Sounds vain but u have to admit it makes sense. tell them it might give them a better idea of who you are and do the same and request the same from them. Who knows, they might bring something to the table too.
I got the best dick in Africa and nobody can dispute this…
hahaha I won’t then! I should set up a comment hall of fame
No, really! Do you have any idea what an obelisk represents and how it works? Well, it actually represents gender studies. And it’s truly worshiped by all. Well, you see, comes down to cultural memory! 🙂
Wait, as you check it out, don’t be enamored by it’s size because how it actually works has nothing to do with size. It is something other than size what is really being conveyed. Remember?
This made me laugh! And it is an interesting and very valid topic!
I very rarely say “I am a feminist” unless someone speaks of feminism with derision or says something like “Ah, so you’re one of those feminists” and then I say “Yes. Yes I am” then go on to talk about it. However, that is only because I rarely define myself in anyway explicitly with my words. I think my ideologies come across pretty well on their own so I am often ‘accused’ of being a feminist because of the things I say; which I like 🙂
Most guys on first meeting me say ‘I’m feisty’which I guess is guy speak for “You have too many opinons and worse still, voice them” ;p but I certainly don’t hold back on a first date – in fact I think I might exaggerate that part of me a bit because I think the first date is where all ‘skeletons’ should be let out. I know people think you should wait till someone knows you enough to handle your ‘handicaps’ but I think if you don’t want to handle them, I’d rather we didn’t waste each other’s time on any more dates. What do you think? When do you want to hear about his five kids and five different baby mamas, all of whom are still in love with him? ;p
I’ve noticed that many men like to hold back on information about having children and I want to hear about it on the first date! In fact, I’m adopting the policy that if this information is not disclosed on the first date there won’t be a second one. Okay, depends on how sexy the guy is…. hehe let me stop 😉
I also prefer when ones beliefs just comes out through ones character. i don’t hold up a feminist banner although I am tempted to wear one of those ‘This is what a feminist looks like” tees on my next date lol.
Thanks for the comment, I could totally relate to everything you say.
Anna Renee says
I don’t think you should have to “announce” your ideology of feminism. It’s a lifestyle of consciousness which is who you are and should be discerned by the man you’re dating.
If a man is a misogynist, he doesn’t feel the need to announce it, (“um, excuse me, but I’m misogynistic and that might scare you” but) you will discern it in his attitudes at some point.
Just be yourself and let him discover who you are, and if he’s a human being he’ll have to admire you. He’ll learn whether you’re a penis envyer, admirer, worshipper or are indifferent!
I can go on forever about some angry feminists who want an acknowledgement from a man that they deserve to be feminists. Mad at men for being men. Just be a feminist!
No, just be who you are. You don’t need to announce yourself: “I’m a human woman allied with the womens struggle” You don’t need a picket sign, I am woman, hear me ROAR! No NO NO NO!!
Let the man discover you! I’m just sayin, my dear! 😉
Very true sis.
But it’s not that I make an announcement. Rather, I’ve noticed that every date I’ve been on recently the topic comes up. I guess it’s a topic of the times – gender roles… and whilst discussing it often a guy might denounce feminism, at which point of course I “announce” it and we even end up having a nice debate about things.
I was having an interesting conversation with some guys on my FB page to do with this pots and as I said there although the group of men that don’t have a problem with feminism may be few and far between, for someone like me, who identifies feminist, this “small” pool of men is where I may find a future partner otherwise what’s the point
Trust me, you’re doing men a favor by declaring yourself a feminist. Helps us avoid your insanity.
I wondered when one of your gang would find my blog. How pleasant of you to stop by and demonstrate the friendly and progressive nature of your cause.
For readers who wonder what MRA is, here’s the definition via urban dictionary.
“An MRA is a white man who insists against all evidence and decency that white men are oppressed and than women and minorities are “revered and privileged.”
Nana Darkoa says
With me most women who express any interest in dating me already know that I am a feminist – it is such a strong part of my identity. I also prefer to date men who haven’t read my blog 🙂
Pamela Stitch says
Immediately…but I say womanist. There is just something about that word – feminist that gets men riled up. LOOOL!!