Have you ever been told, “you intimidate men,” or “you scared him off with your feminism?” Have you ever been on a date or out with a friend who told you to calm down when you became passionate or angry while discussing an issue close to your heart? I definitely have. Being labeled ‘the angry feminist,’ or more commonly, a ‘bitch’ on or before a first date can be disheartening, and I’ve seen more than one woman downplay her feminism while dating. It sucks, but I think we’ve all done it, whether in a job interview or when first talking to a cutie. Holding out for someone who loves the fire you carry with you is tough, but it’s worth it. In the meantime, you can remember the following reasons why you should look for your potential partner in a fellow feminist.
No matter your gender, orientation or sexuality, intersectional feminists make amazing partners. Here are some reasons why:
1. They’re always working towards being better people.
An intersectional feminist is constantly working to understand the complexities of gender, race, class, sexuality, etc. as they intersect. This is no small task and requires hours of research, analysis and contemplation. Feminists constantly shift their perspectives to accommodate new ideas, refuse to stay stuck in harmful beliefs and never stop growing intellectually. They are willing to change their own lives in order to incite positive change in the world.
2. They don’t need you, but they choose you.
Feminists understand they’re complete on their own, and work hard to be able to stand on their own two feet. Although they may look to you for support, encouragement and love, they’re their own primary caregiver. A feminist won’t stay with you because they feel like they need to or because they don’t know how to live without you. A feminist will wake up each morning and choose you, because they want you in their life.
3. Feminists understand consent.
While feminists often have a deeper understanding of sexual liberty as members of the sex and body positivity movements, they also understand enthusiastic and recurring consent. Feminists understand the importance of consent both in the bedroom and outside of it. Based on the principles of consent, feminists understand positive and healthy communication and the importance of checking in about decisions, activities and important life choices.
4. They’ll stand with you against the world.
Feminists are used to standing up for what they believe in; solidarity is at the core of the feminist movement. If you’re being targeted unfairly or discriminated against, a feminist won’t hesitate to hold your hand and stand with you against the world. They’ll fight alongside you. Feminists know what to fight for, so they’ll fight for you, with you and alongside you when they need to.
5. Feminists hold you accountable to your actions.
We’re all human, and being human means making mistakes. Being with a feminist means they won’t be afraid to call you out on your bullshit – something we ALL need in our lives. Make a racist comment or use a homophobic slur without thinking? They’ll call you out on it. Feminists don’t do this out of spite or to be nit-picky – they do this because they hold themselves and their partners to a high standard, and see these not as shortcomings or character faults but for areas where growth can flourish. And more often than not, they’re willing to grow with you.
There are a million reasons to date feminists, but feminism is difficult to define, as there are so many different branches. At the basis, however, to be a feminist means that you believe in the equality of the sexes. A good partner is just that; an equal partner in life. Feminists resist societal pressure to put themselves and their partners into conventional gender roles, actively participate in life and their community, appreciate others’ sacrifices and struggles and engage in thoughtful discussion, critical thinking and self-care.
My partner didn’t outwardly identify as a feminist at first, but he embodied feminism in his life by not expecting me to do all of the emotional labor in our relationship – holding me accountable for my actions, and treating me as an equal. Of course, these are only a few examples, but being with someone who encourages your growth and stands up for you is the ideal.
What do you look for in a feminist partner? Let me know in the comments below!