Reworking Relationships  Sex, Media & Culture 

How to date when you are a feminist

Joanna Anagnostou Mar 28 2020

How to date when you are a feminist

Sometimes it can be hard to date when you are a feminist. If you put this in your bio on a dating app, you might see lesser matches. It may even provoke some rude messages or heated arguments. People can be put off when they hear the word feminist.

Sometimes it can be hard to date when you are a feminist. If you put this in your  bio on a dating app, you might see lesser matches. It may even provoke some rude messages or heated arguments. People can be put off when they hear the word feminist. 

Often, it’s due to a lack of understanding about  what feminism and being a feminist is. There still is a popular view that feminists are man-hating women who just want to see men lose, or don’t really want equality for all, just for some. However, feminism is equality for all, even for men. 

When I talk about feminism, I am referring to intersectional feminism. This means I believe in (and fight for) equality for all, without discrimination. This is inclusive of marginalised communities such as trans women, sex workers, and women of colour. (https://iwda.org.au/what-does-intersectional-feminism-actually-mean/).

Dating in the 21st century can be hard for anyone to navigate, but particularly so when you have strong feminist beliefs. Being a proud feminist CAN make dating more complicated, and in a heterosexual context, it could mean that you have to sift through more men to find ones that aren’t  fake “woke” or don’t talk about #NotAllMen. In fact, you may even find yourself a proud male feminist like Harry Styles or Justin Baldoni. (https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/27-famous-men-proud-to-be-feminists/). 

Here are some tips on how to date and have sex when you are a feminist:

Equality (in everything)

This means paying for dates or at least offering to do so. We need to remove the heteronormative and archaiclens whichdictates that only men pay on dates. This particularly complicates and makes things more confusing in queer dating. Now I know there is still a gender pay gap (https://www.payscale.com/data/gender-pay-gap), but if you want to go on a date, you should be willing to pay for it. Both parties should offer to pay. Or you can even  split the bill.

Equality also means being respectful. It requires one to hold  back from judging based on things like jobs, upbringing, sexuality or the way one dresses. 

If we think of equal opportunity, we should know that it means that anyone can make the first move. Be the one that approaches or starts the conversation.  This is easily done on dating apps, specifically on Bumble, where women in a heterosexual context, have to make the first move.

Ask for consent

It’s everyone’s responsibility. If you are making the first move and initiating things, you need to ask for permission, before trying to make things more intimate or try something different. Always remember to check in with your partner. 

Look for someone like minded

Seek out people with similar views and values. Make sure you feel respected and listened to. Listen to how they speak about others, particularly about the women in their lives. Racism, homophobia and transphobia are obvious red flags. 

A good tip is to see how they treat people in customer service. Pay attention to how they speak to waiters or servers. If they are rude in those situations, it can be a good reflection on how they view and treat others in general.

Prioritise yourself

The feminist agenda has moved past choosing between having a partner or a career, but you still need to think about the priorities in your life. Think about your physical and mental health, what you need and want, particularly what kind of a relationship you want to be in and can sustain at this point in your life.

If you just want casual sex or hook-ups, then say it. If you are looking for a relationship, then own it.

Be open, honest and vocal

Be transparent with what you are looking for, early on. Tell people what you want and when you want it. Say when sex doesn’t feel great (especially if you are in pain) or if it isn’t turning you on. Say when someone has hurt your feelings.  Communication is always key. Have the sex you want to be having. Go on the dates you want to go on. And don’t beat yourself up if those dates don’t go well. You won’t be compatible with everyone you meet and that’s okay. 

Know the power of the word no

Say no to people you don’t think you are compatible with. Say no to sex if you don’t feel like having it.  Don’t go on another date with someone you share the same values with or are nice and respectful, but you aren’t attracted to them. 

Don’t entertain conversations with ignorant people, or people who just want to argue with you about your beliefs. As much as we want more people to be educated on gender equality, it’s not your duty to educate everyone. 

Lastly, be proud

Own who you are, your strengths, your weaknesses, your accomplishments, your quirks, your personality, your lifestyle. You are who you are. Anyone who is worth spending time with you will see your value and enjoy being in your company. 

I’m not sure if these tips will make you an A+ feminist, they are just there to help you navigate feminism and dating. Staying true to yourself and potential partners will mean you have a fun time dating. If Jameela Jamil and Michelle Obama can date while being proud feminists, then so can you.


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