Brittany Hunt @ The Miscellany News has posted a hilarious piece, How to Date a Women’s Studies Major: Just Don’t, about the pitfalls of dating radfems. While I don’t necessarily agree with with everything in the piece, the serious points she makes about stereotypes and the men who are afraid of (or are intimidated by) radfems bear consideration by those of us who consider themselves feminist. Make no mistake: Hunt is talking about radfems in her piece, not your garden variety (and much more common!) feminist.
While Hunt’s piece does bear reading, I’d like to seriously address her bullet points here in my own feminist voice:
Remember: She’s a Lesbian Until Proven Otherwise
How do I describe how infuriating it is to have people hate me due to a figment their own imagination? Seriously, people — If you’re going to dislike me, do it because I’m boisterous, loud, outspoken, aggressive, obstreperous, direct, brutally honest, suck with interpersonal politics, have a potty mouth, demand equal treatment, or any one of a number of other characteristics I actually posses in abundance.
If you’re so full of hatred and self-loathing that you can’t see past your own insecurities and guess as to what gender sex partner I prefer, then redeem yourself a bit by waiting until you actually experience something about me before hating me, okay?
But if She Isn’t, She’s a Total Slut
Your expectations of when or if I’m going to have sex with you has very little to do with my politics or your financial worth. My sexual activity has much more to do with my hormonal cycle, how charming you are, and whether or not I’m emotionally involved with someone else. The slightest whiff of expectation from you transforms my vulva into the Antarctic — Dry to the touch, cold, and most uninviting. Whether or not I love the cock in general has little to do with whether or not I’m going to love your cock.
Speaking of male sexual expectations regarding feminists . . . No, we’re not all on The Pill. No, we don’t all love having abortions. No, we’re not all superfreaks in the sack. No, we’re not all VD-free. No, we’re not all into rampant promiscuity. Some of us can’t use hormonal birth control, some of us are intensely anti-abortion, some of us only like Missionary-only sex, some of us are just as irresponsible as some of you are when it comes to safe sex, and some of us are actually fairly chaste.
Deal with it, and stop assuming things that are going to get you slapped, sued for child support, or a venereal disease while you stand there whining, “But she was a feminist!”
Don’t Hold the Door for Her
I can’t tell you how many times I have an exchange like this with a male stranger:
Man: Holds door open and allows me to pass through ahead of him
Me: Why thank you, kind sir. I appreciate that!
Man: Relieved look.
Man: I’m really glad! I never know when I’m going to get yelled at for that!
I never cease to be amazed that holding a door is considered by anyone to be anything except common courtesy. I hold doors for people all the time . . . The elderly, the young, the infirm, people carrying things, etc. Sometimes I hold it open behind me, sometimes I hold it open in front of me to let them pass. All of it depends upon my mood, the situation, and my level of observance.
Holding a door is no different that “Excuse me,” or “Please pass the salt,” so . . .
Men: Keep holding doors when you want to do so! Most people appreciate it.
Women: Get over yourselves! You are not advancing the cause by yelling at strangers in public for extending common courtesy.
Talk About Your Emotions
Yes, talk about your emotions but don’t go overboard. I am a proud human, and a feminist, and as a result I’m generally not going to be a whiny or over-emotional type. There’s a huge difference between bitching about an encounter at the office that pissed you off, explaining why it pissed you off while you’re trying to work through it and whining like an impotent victim and moping for a week.
If you’re more emotional than I am, if you’re more “sensitive” that I am, I’m not going to be impressed. Everyone has moments of weakness and struggle, but if it’s overboard and if it’s a pattern, I’m probably going to toss you like an old pair of shoes.
Check it — I am a strong person, and I keep strong people around me because I don’t have time or patience for anything else.
Congrats! You’ve Made it to Your One-Year Anniversary — Things NOT to Buy Her as a Gift
Unless you’re replacing items I already own that are broken, that I’ve run out of, or it’s a gift card from a store you already know I love to shop, beauty products and kitchen products are right out. If you haven’t figured out by the 1-year mark what I like and/or what I need, and you’re not creative enough to come up with something on your own, then you really ought to re-evaluate your own observational skills while you’re e-mailing my best friend to ask her advice.
Hints for the BEST Anniversary Gifts:
If I read, books are a hit if you’ve taken 10 minutes to look at my bookcase or paid any attention whatsoever to what I talk about. Take your ass to a locally-owned bookstore and talk to a clerk if you’re at a loss.
If I’m a science nerd, science museum trips are a winner because it’s an experience with you
Receiving flowers at the office is a total win because I get lots of attention from my co-workers. This gives me a chance to bask in the limelight and talk you up with everyone else being jealous! Whatever happens, don’t have them delivered on the last day of my workweek — Send them early if you have to, because wilted Monday flowers are simply sad.
Stay away from topics you don’t know -or- consult with a knowledgeable person early. The book item I already talked about? Do this with fashion accessories or technical gadgets or anything else that you’re not into but I am. If you don’t, you’ll look incompetent at best and uncaring at worst. This is why men and women squabble after gift-giving: The appearance of not putting enough thought or effort into the gift that it makes some kind of sense.
Be sure that any object you choose (if you choose an object) is fully, 100% returnable/refundable. At least if you mess up, the two of you can make an afternoon of exchanging/refunding it for a more suitable item. This afternoon can be, if planned properly, a second anniversary celebration. If you pay attention, you can turn a fail into a win!
I hope that my effort to supplement Hunt’s humorous piece with serious points has been educational. I invite our Janes and Joes to comment about dating feminists and radfems.