Articles implying how feminism destroys relationships or how it creates a barrier among men and women leave me disturbed. The problem arises when women seek dominance and degrade their partners to exercise their incorrect beliefs or when men are afraid of letting go of their patriarchal benefits. With this, it is safe to say that feminism is not the killer of relationships. The lack of understanding of what feminism truly meant is.
According to Bell Hook, “Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” It’s not exclusive to women, seeking equality. In fact, there are men who regard themselves as feminists. The core of feminism is breaking gender roles and stereotypes, which may lead to abuse.
As someone who spent four years in an all-girls university, taught by empowered women and feminist professors, I may be a little biased when I say that feminist women are the best people you can ever meet. But in most cases, they truly are. They are independent, open-minded, and fun to be with. With this, they can spice up a romantic relationship and promote meaningful discourses.
Signs You Are Dating A Feminist
Here are 9 signs you’re probably dating an empowered woman and how you can deal with her and build a lasting relationship.
1. She is independent and career-oriented
There are a lot of misconceptions about feminist women, hating men. While this isn’t true, one thing is for sure: feminists can live with or without men. They are independent and are usually not reliant on men (or other people) for happiness, wealth, and success.
Most feminists value their careers and strive to fulfill their ambitions with or without the help of their partners. They don’t hate being married and having children. However, they despise the idea of putting their careers on hold by the time they have children. They will try to be multidimensional as possible so they could fulfill both their ambitions and family responsibilities.
2. She may choose to split the bill
“I’m a man, so I should pay” – this is one of the things the society implies. It’s quite nice when a guy shows a little act of chivalry and offers to pay the restaurant bill on a date or buy gifts for the lady, but most feminists agree that it’s not necessary. If you’re dating a feminist, she may prefer to split the bill not because she degrades your manliness but because she earns and can pay too. Feminists believe that gender should not define a person, as well as his or her roles in a relationship.
3. She dresses to express, not to impress
The statements “you’re prettier without makeup on” and “you don’t have to go to the gym because I accept all your curves and flaws” may sound flattering. Well thanks, but no thanks. If your feminist girlfriend is spending hours doing her makeup and picking the right dress, don’t assume she’s doing those things to please you (or please other men). She dresses up for herself, honey. She uses fashion and cosmetics to boost her self-image or make a statement.
4. She appreciates courteous gestures and returns the favor
Are you kidding? Women appreciate polite and romantic gestures. They feel like princesses every time men open the door for them, offer them seat inside the train, or carry their handbags for them. However, don’t get surprised if your feminist girlfriend does the same act of courtesy to you, especially if she sees you need help.
5. She criticizes films and series
If she were to choose between Queen Elsa and Snow White, I bet she would pick the empowered ice queen. Any film that manifests a woman character being a “damsel in distress” or a sex object may call for a heated discussion. You don’t have to agree with her but it would be nice to be open to hearing her reasons why the said film is a sexist one and look at it from another angle.
6. She knows how to say “no”
Gone are the days when the husband is always the one to have the final say. Feminists won’t just shut up and will say a strong “no” to a statement that opposes their beliefs. They speak for themselves but they also have the heart and mind to rethink and understand the other side. Good feminists respect their partner’s opinions or suggestions but they won’t be pressured to do something that is against their will.
7. She asks for sexual pleasure
Feminists are so over the idea that sex is an activity designed to please men. Women ask for pleasure too as much as their partners, and they make sure that they state that clear. They are also not afraid to be the first to initiate.
8. Question her feminist beliefs and expect a debate
Statements that start with “I’m a man, I should be…” or “you’re a woman, you should be…” will call for an argument. Trust me. A feminist, who is open-minded, will respect your opinion and understand where you’re coming from, but she will never withdraw her beliefs over yours. Listen to her statements, whether you agree with her or not. Her insights could save you from making a careless and insensitive sexist joke in public.
9. She encourages you to defy gender roles
Men are taught by the society to be strong and tough so they could protect women and they are not advised to cry and show emotions. They are also limited to certain jobs and chores, gestures, and clothing. What most feminists do is they encourage their partners to follow their impulses, no matter how it defies imposed stereotypical gender role. They allow their partners to do the dishes or cry to express overwhelming emotions if necessary.