Everyone has to start somewhere, academia is a privilege, they grew up in a super white, rich family, yadda yadda yadda. As radical as many feminists are, they’re also incredibly radical when it comes to making excuses for their not so radical partner. From things like, “they just don’t have any feminists in their life!” to “they grew up in Iowa!” we tend to let love place some blinders on belief systems that are pretty important to feminists.
Dating while feminist can be extremely difficult, especially if you’re dating with your thumbs. I’m talking about online dating, people. There are only so many “asshole repellents” you can fit in your little OK Cupid profile until you just go with, “listen, I’m a feminist killjoy. Inquire within.” So, to save you the questioning, excuse-making and pardoning, I’ve constructed a list of 8 feminist deal breakers when it comes to the partner audition process. If they ain’t passin’, you ain’t puttin’ (out.)
1. They love Fox News.
*Buzzer sound.* NOPE. They’ve got to go. They’re too far gone, my friend. The brainwashing that has already taken place is going to take up a lot of your precious, precious time that could be spent on other things like not giving a damn. There are only so many arguments you can stand until you realize you’ve been dating someone who thinks Bill O’Reilly isn’t a robot. Dump.
2. They’re down for feminism but not like, the hairy kind.
Run. Run now. These are the ones that wave the flag of “I’m a nice person who cares” and then barf when they notice your 3-day stubble or loud and proud declaration of nature that frolicks underneath your arms. You don’t need someone in your life who is going to make you feel bad about yourself, there is enough of that in society anyway.
3. They are completely unaware of female musicians, authors, politicians and the like.
What this person is trying to say is that it’s not that they’re not into women being in positions of ‘power,’ they just haven’t seen one they like. Oh god, get them out of here. Tell me you didn’t buy their drink, please. These are the kind that blame their own ignorance on society’s conditions. We’re not into it. Also, you’re not that progressive, bro.
4. They’re just not into politics, like, at all.
Aw, must be nice. Is it because your identity is never up on the chopping board? Quite possibly. Listen, I’m not encouraging you to go out and find the next person who is set on running the Sanders campaign, I’m just telling you that people who don’t partake in political discussions at all probably aren’t going to get up with you at 5am to do some phone banking for your friend running for local office. It’s as simple as that.
5. They don’t vote.
Baaaaaarf. Yeah yeah, we get that not every vote counts and Bush was a joke and Texas ruins everything and all that other stuff, but regardless, you should be voting. Your vagina, or your friend’s vagina, or your mom’s vagina, depends on it. Maybe their vagina even depends on it! What I’m saying is, if they’re not voting, their extent to ‘caring about you’ doesn’t fall far in front of how they want to care about you. Go.
6. They assume you’re going to pay for everything ‘cause, well, you’re a feminist.
Ugh, give me a break. Will someone hand this person a newspaper? Equality doesn’t mean switching roles or whatever, it means living with opportunity and consciousness and not being a jerk. If this person is a male and is stoked you’re a feminist because that means he won’t have to pay for you and might even get to be a stay at home dad (‘cause video games,) retract that beer you just purchased, chug it yourself, and go get ice cream alone. You deserve it, you poor thing.
7. They get privilege, they just don’t think they benefit from it.
Unless you’re dating a disabled, queer, poor woman of color living in the United states, I beg to differ. Understanding privilege is just as important as understanding racism, if not more. Perhaps if we understood our own privilege a little bit better, we would hold ourselves accountable for seeing ourselves as a part of the problem, not just the system around us. You’re not here to be anybody’s teacher, you’re here to grow and love and become your best self with someone. And trust me, you’re not going to get there if half of your time is spent saying things like, “I get that you worked really hard to have the job you have today but maybe this deported mother needs a helping hand until she can help herself.” Oh my god, just the thought makes me queezy.
8. They Don’t Ask you Any Questions.
Alright, they’re down for feminism, they’re super action-oriented, they’re funny and they understood that your joke about abortion was hilarious and not uncomfortable. However, are they willing to give you space to talk about yourself? Or is it all about them? WARNING- Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. If this potential partner is self-absorbed, they probably don’t actually understand their own entitlement. Maybe you give them the benefit of the doubt and try to collect that $200 in the form of a second date. Hats off, charity worker. However, I would encourage you to proceed with caution. Dating isn’t a time to showcase yourself, it’s a time to get to know another human being on a deeper level than, “Yes, I will make that a grande.” Unless you’re just trying to get laid. Then again, they might be self-centered in the bedroom. Experiment at your own risk.
Though I would love for this advice piece to be as inclusive as possible, my experience with dating is that which stems from my own identity as a white, able-bodied, mostly heterosexual woman. SO yes, most advice is geared towards dating men of a similar identity. Regardless, I encourage you to take what you need and leave the rest. We all need a little outside perspective sometimes, regardless of how many SavageLove podcasts we’ve listened to.