At this point, you’ve probably already heard of Dave Hon’s terrible article “Why I’ll Never Date a Feminist.” It’s a long diatribe far removed from reality.
I really wanted to respond to it last week. Unfortunately, like I shared on Wednesday, I was too sick last week to write a post for Friday’s The F-Word.
Luckily that delay gave me time to come up with my own response. And by “my own,” I mean a collaborative blog post with my husband, Dan.
After all, he dated a feminist. He fell in love with a feminist. And eventually, he married a feminist.
I’m pretty sure Dan is not the only person out there married to a feminist. But I can’t ask just anyone to write a blog post with me.
Before Dan jumps in with why I’m such a great wife, let me respond to a few points. I’m not going to bother arguing with Hon’s so-called facts. Unfortunately we live in a world where people literally think how they feel about a factual situation is just as factually valid as facts themselves.
But hey, if you’ve ever taken a few history classes, then you already know how many Americans are deluding themselves in the name of “heritage” (and the struggle of museums and historic sites in dealing with those delusions).
Instead, let me address the author’s opinions on feminism and romance.
Political issues have been creeping into the bedroom
Hon’s entire article seems based on the idea that feminism kills relationships. I mean, I guess if your idea of a relationship is one person unilaterally making all decisions, then yes, feminism will kill that relationship.
At its core, feminism seeks equality. I dream of a world in which equality between the sexes is the status quo. Until that day comes, at least I can be equal to my husband.
Our marriage is based on mutual love and respect. I’m honestly horrified by the thought of a romantic relationship NOT based on mutual love and respect. I’m not saying you have to identify as a feminist to want a relationship based on mutual love and respect… But those are definitely feminist ideals.
People who are more loyal to their gender and not their significant other don’t make good partners.
Again, feminism is about equality. Being a feminist doesn’t mean I’m more loyal to all women than I am to my husband. Being a feminist means I care about gender equality.
Not that I think Hon will actually read this, but I do wish I could ask him a question.
Have you actually dated a feminist?
No snark here. No body-shaming. I’m genuinely curious.
Have you actually dated a feminist?
Because you are seriously projecting in your article.
I don’t think that Dan is “inherently more fortunate than” I am. I think both of us benefit from white privilege and class privilege.
But he has never been sexually assaulted, which also means no one has ever blamed him for his sexual assault. I’ve experienced both.
No one in high school repeated sexually harassed my husband. Lucky me, on the other hand, routinely listened to a peer call me a slut, a bitch, a whore as he made inappropriate remarks about my breasts.
This discrepancy of experience doesn’t turn our relationship into a “power struggle.” My history with sexual harassment and sexual assault primarily affects our marriage in just two ways.
- Dan has learned from me that sexual harassment and sexual assault can have a long-lasting effect. This gives him greater empathy for anyone, regardless of gender, who has suffered from sexual harassment and/or assault.
- Dan and I are both careful to keep our sexual encounters consensual. I don’t pressure him into sex. He doesn’t pressure me into sex.
That’s it. Dan has more empathy, and we have consensual sex.
Wow, that’s some “battle of the sexes” right there!
In the name of gender equality, here are Dan’s thoughts on our relationship…
…and this is Dan.
Before I Explain Why I Fell in Love with a Feminist
Ok, before I get in to why I decided to date (and then marry) a feminist, I’d like to address some of the points of Mr. Hon. I will do my best to not use a condescending tone when I refer to him as “Hon” too, lest I be accused of mansplaining. I will start by just taking his words and remove some unnecessary ‘n’s.
If you look for a reason to hate me
n, chances are you’re going to find it.
The truth is, I don’t blame women, (especially in my generation) for hating me
I’m going to finish this quote off with a “not all men” comment from myself. So Hon, I don’t blame any woman for hating you considering that you assume all feminists are anti-men. Right after stereotyping all feminists, you lament the fact that so many men have been so horrendously bad at getting consent that some would prefer it documented in writing. I sure bet men accused of rape (even falsely) wish they had that kind of evidence to defend their case.
Next you somehow say that people can’t date across the political aisle… Are you conservative or liberal? I can’t really tell from this piece, and I don’t really care as regardless of which “team” you consider yourself on, I happen to know several women (and some male feminists who also wouldn’t date you, and not just because they are straight) that happen to have several political philosophies. In fact, I dare say that feminism crosses political boundaries.
Though I will admit, I do love being married to a fellow libertarian.
Finally, I’d love to address the point of Hon’s article, but I must have missed it. If you discover it, please leave a comment so I can follow up.
I Married a Feminist (for real)
Got the certificate and everything! Well, it’s from Texas, and back before they were egalitarian enough to have accommodations on the form for non-heterosexual marriages, so it’s not super legit. But it suffices for tax purposes at least.
So yeah, when I was dating way back when on OKCupid (and even before) politics was definitely one of my considerations. I didn’t rule anyone out based on their politics, (I wish the same could have been said for some of the women who ruled me out). I definitely didn’t rule out any strong, independent, smart women, because that’s the kind that I find attractive. I’m not saying all strong, independent, smart women are feminists, but I’m betting there’s a strong correlation there…
I wasn’t looking for a woman to take care of, to make decisions for, or to satisfy my every need. I was looking for a woman who could manage the household for both of us if I became unable to take care of myself. A woman who could win the bread so I could stay home and be a home school teacher. A woman who could point out the patriarchy when I was completely oblivious. Well, maybe that last part wasn’t something I was specifically looking for, but I sure do appreciate my lucky break.
Dating a Feminist
A good way of spotting a feminist on a first date is that she will feel very uncomfortable with the sexist view that the man is expected to pay on the first date (or really every date for that matter). It will become obvious when she does convince you that she indeed can pay for the meal and hands the check to the server. It will become PAINFULLY obvious when that server brings the check and card back and hands it to the man even though a woman handed it to them and the card has the name of a woman on it. I bring up this specific point because now that I am married to a feminist, I notice this sort of thing and my wife and I get a good chuckle about how much sexism still very much exists in our society.
As the dating process continued, it was very refreshing to be dating a feminist who was willing to take an active role in planning dates while working two jobs and living on her own. Not to say she didn’t need help from time to time, like when her car died. She outright refused to let me buy her a used car, but she reluctantly accepted me rebuilding a salvage car after I insisted it was a fun hobby for me. Believe me, it’s so nice dating a feminist who not just tolerates, but appreciates a love of cars. A feminist that doesn’t expect a car or repairs because it’s a man’s job, but supports a man’s hobbies and is willing to accept a present.
Getting Engaged to a Feminist
As things got more serious, dating a feminist turned into being engaged to a feminist which was a load off my shoulders as a feminist is completely willing to buck the sexist trend of waiting for a man to pop the question. Instead, a feminist might be willing to make a short presentation articulating reasons to get married, but still make it clear that she will wait a reasonable amount of time for a surprise proposal. It is also a relief to not have to go through the awkward process of asking for a father’s permission to take possession of his daughter, even if our modern society doesn’t require it be a trade for goods. Plus, all feminists know that PowerPoint is the way into a man’s heart.
Planning a Feminist Wedding
Planning a wedding with a feminist is fun. You get to skip out of most of the unnecessary pagan rituals of wealth transfer and most of the religious tripe about submission. Sometimes you even get to do fun things like having your mother walk you down the aisle. At your reception(s), you can skip the weird tradition of removing a piece of a woman’s clothing and throwing it into a hungry crowd of single men that is supposed to remind everyone that your wife’s womanly bits are required to be un-contaminated by men until you get the first crack at them. What you do get to keep are all of those good parts about being there for each other in sickness and health and that whole death do you part thing. I’m sure I’m missing some stuff in there, but you get the idea.
Being married to a feminist is the best. We do argue every once in awhile when I poorly explain a point of view without regard to my male privilege. Nobody is perfect… But she is willing to teach me and love me anyway. I’m sure Hon would call me whipped or some other slur for men who respect the opinions of women, but you know what? I’ll let him take out his frustrated dating life on me. I have a happy marriage to a feminist, and he doesn’t know what he’s missing.
P.S. I can totally tell now how Brita can get wrapped up in writing a post and go to bed far too late while her spouse has already fallen asleep.
P.P.S. I apologize for the excessive use of parentheticals, Wikipedia links, and commas (most of which Brita will remove in editing). However, I will point out that these can be an effective wooing device for some feminists.*
*No guarantees. If this tip does not work, I will refund the money you paid to read this article.
P³.S. Yes, I just made an asterisk note within a P.P.S. and now I am adding another P to see how many of these I can get away with before Brita edits them out.
P^4.S. Apparently superscripts beyond 3 aren’t symbol options so this is the last one of these, and sometimes when you marry a feminist you use too many post scripts so your wife smiles when she reads the blog post you helped her write when she wakes up in the morning before heading to her leadership conference.
I left in all the parentheticals, Wikipedia links, and ellipses. I tried to fix the commas because Dan cannot properly use a comma to save his life. I’m pretty sure he once referred to them as the spice of writing, so you have to use them a lot.
Also I did let Dan pay for our first date, but only after literally spending over an hour with my best friend freaking out about how to handle the check because I had no dating experience. Y’all, it is hard enough on everyone to figure out dating etiquette for the first time.
Oh, and Dan made a joke about ellipses and parentheticals when he contacted me on OKCupid. I might have swooned…
If that’s not enough of a rebuttal to “Why I’ll Never Date a Feminist,” check out these other great responses.
Now that you’ve read all of our opinions, Dan and I want to hear yours! He’s pretty good at responding to comments directed at him, so feel free to ask him any questions. Would you date (or marry) a feminist? Or have you already? Why or why not?