Only emasculated men need apply
The fight to emasculate men rages on amongst our “feminist” friends. Lisa Bonos’ editorial How to Find a Feminist Boyfriend is simply the latest example.
For all the talk of equality and partnership, there’s not one single mention of equality or partnership. True to form, the “feminist” definition of the aforementioned virtues translates into something along the lines of “this relationship is all about me and my insecurities as an individual, so either you’re cool with that or this isn’t going to work out, because feminism.”
That being said, Bonos’ editorial provides a hilarious take on dating, albeit unintentionally.
So how does one procure a feminist boyfriend?
Apparently, to find this evasive diamond in the rough, one must adhere to a handful of principles, the first being to define what you want.
Is he a feminist if he proclaims, on a first date, that he could see himself taking his wife’s last name? (Maybe his own name is pretty generic.) If he insists on doing the dishes after you’ve cooked dinner together but proceeds to whip the dish towel at your ass, is that playful or objectifying? (Both.) Is he sexist if he cancels an Uber ride because a female driver is on her way to pick the two of you up? (Definitely.)
Let us pause and reflect upon the fact that whipping a dish towel is now considered objectifying behavior. But don’t worry, it gets worse.
Here’s how I’m defining it: Feminist daters — male or female, gay or straight — aren’t constrained by gender roles. Anyone can do the asking-out, the feelings-confessing or the initiating of any kind. (As for who picks up the check on a first date, let’s obliterate the gender pay gap first, then put that one back up for debate.)
A true male feminist is supportive of, interested in and enthusiastic about his partner’s career. He might not expect to earn more than his partner or think that his career trumps hers; a feminist couple might relocate for the woman’s career.
“If you’re a woman who wants a man to grab you and kiss you because that’s what sweeps you off your feet, realistically, a feminist man is not going to do that,” says Rita Goodroe, a 38-year-old life coach in Northern Virginia who works mostly with singles. “He’s going to ask for permission.”
“Hi liberated, empowered, non-gender inhibited female, would you find it offensive to the years of oppression your foremothers endured if I kissed you?” I mean, what could possibly be hotter than that? So romantic.
A feminist dater or boyfriend (and yes, feminists have boyfriends) is aware of the ways women have traditionally been held back, by others and by our own accord, and actively pushes against that. He’s sensitive to the fact that women’s bodies are frequently judged, abused and legislated, and takes no part in that. He gets it.
In sum: me, me, me, me, lame, lame, lame. How can we possibly take the fun out of everything in life? Oh yes—feminism.
The next piece of sage feminist-man-hunting advice suggests asking for what you want. Unfortunately, that subsection provides no exposition for asking for what you want; rather, it complains for approximately five paragraphs that men don’t list “feminist” as an affiliation on their phone dating app profiles. I wish I was kidding.
And if you really want to snag that feminist man, you can’t be afraid to make the first move (and you’ll probably have to because, well, feminism of course!) .
I’ve long believed that dating like a feminist — which often involves making the first move — will weed out many of the guys with more rigid ideas about gender and relationships. It might also help identify the feminist man who doesn’t want to come on too strong or who feels it isn’t necessarily his responsibility to signal interest.
Downey, for example, asked her Marxist feminist out on their first two dates. And I interviewed two 24-year-old men — they consider themselves feminists — whose girlfriends either asked them out first or sent the first message on Tinder. “I’m not good at reaching out,” one of them told me.
Marxist feminist. A man voluntarily self-identifies as a Marxist feminist and gets chicks to ask him out. He’s either in the running for Most Ridiculous Person Alive, or is a truly brilliant player.
And finally, to date a femiman, one must understand that he’s not the only one who should be strong and sensitive. Translation: “I was just too strong, self-assured, and too good at everything in life to be bothered to share feelings. So he dumped me. It’s like totally his fault for not understanding how awesome I really am. Plus strong, liberated, and FEMINIST.” Colloquially, we have another word for this type of behavior, but I digress.
Sometimes expressing feelings doesn’t feel “brave” or “bold,” but stereotypically girly.
When Annie Werner tells me about her recent breakup — “I was dumped because my self-assuredness was unrelatable” — her indignation is extremely relatable.
“It just never seems like you were open to self-doubt,” Werner said her ex told her, a critique that she says came out of nowhere. “There were never moments of vulnerability, which are often moments that lead to real intimacy.”
At first she thought this breakup rationale was ridiculous. But once she thought about how she — and other women like her — has built herself up “as this feminist, this self-assured woman, this strong person,” she realized that “it becomes harder to access the more feminine parts of yourself that could be more positive.”
“There’s this persona we create for ourselves that doesn’t compute with vulnerability,” she added.
Exactly. Because a woman at her most vulnerable could be taken advantage of. And that’s no one’s feminist fantasy.
Some call the unwillingness to be vulnerable “feminism,” and a byproduct of the overbearing patriarchy; but most call it “insecurity” (because it is).
What did the commenters think of Bonos’ tips? Far be it from us to prevent your access to the hilarity (justifiably so) that manifested in the comments section:
If you’re the kind of woman who needs constant validation from her significant other, then this WaPo editorial is for you. But I think I’ll stay over here in reality.
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