Fucking – er, dating – while feminist

Last week, The Sexist posted an interview with the Jaclyn Friedman, who’s a writer, Executive Director of WAM!: Women, Action and the Media and all-around smart person. The post, called “Fucking While Feminist,” was about the challenges of finding feminist or feminist-ish cisgender men to date, and about how she makes relationships work with the ones she does find. Reading Friedman’s reflections on trying to have a love life and a sex life while making feminism your full-time gig made me think about the way that feminism has influenced my own romantic relationships (though because both my parents and grandmother are reading this, it’s probably wise for me to refer to those relationships as “dating while feminist,” so as not to make my next family gathering incredibly uncomfortable).
Friedman says that she doesn’t have a hard and fast litmus test for whether someone is feminist enough for her to date. “If I had a hardcore litmus test, the pool of men I could date would be so tiny. And then when you weeded out men who are gay, the men I don’t find attractive, the men already in monogamous, committed relationships–really, I would never get laid again.” Instead, she looks for red flags like listing Ayn Rand among one’s favorite authors, or expressing a preference for women who “don’t have drama” (“I feel like that is code for women who have opinions”).
Like Friedman, I don’t have a litmus test to determine if the guy I’m having drinks with is feminist enough for me to date. I’m not going to try to figure out in the course of the conversation if he’s read The Feminine Mystique or if he knows about the intricacies of the pro-choice movement in America. But if by chance it comes up that he does? Huge bonus. But like Friedman, I do look for red flags. If a guy makes a sexist comment on the first date and cushions it with “I’m just joking,” that’s a red flag. If he uses the word “problematize” when trying to argue with a feminist idea, I’m wary. And if he lists Ayn Rand as one of his favourite authors, this is about to be the worst date either of us has ever been on.


Dating – or in Friedman’s case, fucking – is one thing, but once you get into a long-term relationship with someone, you’ve got considerably more invested in the relationship, and if you have feelings for the person, you’re far less likely to kick them to the curb just because you found out that they liked The Fountainhead. Once you’re at that point, it gets harder to make a decision about whether or not to end things based solely on red flags. That said, sometimes a red flag might as well be a flashing “abort mission” sign. My last long-term relationship, which ended about six months ago, was full of enormous, sparkly, frantically waving red flags that I saw as minor problems, but that in hindsight, should have given me great pause. Here are a few examples:

1) He didn’t believe that a family could be “a real unit” unless every member of the family had the same last name. He didn’t believe that a married couple could really be a family unless someone (read: she) changed her last name. As though the wedding license, the ring, mortgage and any kids that might arrive weren’t enough to make you a “family unit.” Once, I suggested that if he thought this were a real problem, then he could take his wife’s name, and his face fell. “Yeah,” I said, “that’s how I feel when you say it to me.”
2) He didn’t want other people seeing me nude or near-nude. About a year into the relationship, I mentioned that I was exploring the possibility of posing for a live drawing class. As someone who’s struggled for a long time to accept and love the size and shape of my body, I thought that standing naked in a room full of strangers as they studied and scrutinized my body would be a way of proving to myself just how far I had come on the long, difficult road to loving myself the way I am. He didn’t see it that way, and was deeply uncomfortable with the idea of other people, and especially other men, seeing me in a state of undress. I pointed out to him that standing there in my underwear was much the same as standing around at the beach in a bikini, but to no avail. It became something of a sticking point – it was my body, after all, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that his objections stemmed from a sense that he, in some way, owned it. Then one night, during a particularly heated discussion of the issue, he said…
3) “This would be so much easier if you weren’t such a feminist.” Ladies and gentlemen, this is what an enormous, sparkly, frantically waving red flag looks like.

Friedman wisely makes the point that in all relationships, romantic or otherwise, and regardless of our views on gender, compromises are essential. But she’s also right when she says that compromises on gender issues, on these kinds of red flags, take on an extra dimension when a person’s gender politics are central to her worldview. For those of us who want to do feminism in every aspect of our lives, this stuff cuts to the core of who we want to be and how we want to shape the world. For us, the personal is very political. That said, everyone is different, and each of us has to decide for ourselves what we’re willing to compromise on, which battles we’ll pick, and what constitutes a relationship-ending impasse.
That decision is usually one that has to be made case by case, weighing the unique circumstances of the relationship, and sometimes we make decisions that, in hindsight, seem entirely counter to what we might have predicted. Looking back now, it seems unthinkable to me that I stayed in a relationship with a man who wished out loud that I could cast aside my feminism, my entire worldview. Learning to identify the red flags I’ve described happened in retrospect, months after the relationship had ended for entirely different reasons. But it was a valuable lesson, one I’ll take with me as I move through life and on to new relationships. Perhaps I’ll compromise on them again, like I did before, or perhaps they’ll crystallize into hard litmus tests or deal-breakers. Regardless of what the future brings, I’m heading into it a little older, a little wiser and a little better at knowing a red flag when I see one.
And by the way, I’m currently in a relationship with a man who openly identifies as a feminist, who reads this and a bunch of other feminist blogs and who knows exactly what I mean when I use terms like “rape culture” and “effortless perfection.” He does not care for Ayn Rand. Grandma, since I know you’re reading this, I think the correct term for him is a “catch.”

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43 Comments

  1. Posted April 2, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Social comments and analytics for this post

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by womensrights: Fucking – er, dating – while feminist http://bit.ly/daRkJl (Feministing.com)

  2. Comrade Kevin
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I’m happy you’ve found someone!
    Rest assured, I made some really awful relationship choices for a long time based largely on my own low self-esteem and deep seeded insecurities, but I recognize now I was making steady progress and finding my way. Some people reach it sooner than others.

  3. kitzah
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    If only it was easier to figure out whether a woman is a feminist; as a queer, female-bodied person who primarily dates women, I’ve often assumed someone’s a feminist because…you know…they should be pro-their-own-rights…only to find out I’m wrong and they are about as feminist as Sarah Palin. Friedman makes some great points, but I rather wish they were less hetro-centric and more applicable to relationships/fuckationships in general. But, I can understand that she can only write from her PoV and her experience.

  4. cmb
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    my husband and i both changed our names. it was a huge pain in the ass and i really admire him for it.
    also going to a burn event which was clothing-optional really helped me accept my body the way it is and other people’s bodies for the way they are.

  5. Yuki
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Love! You and Jaclyn both wrote such candid, honest articles. It’s such a relief to hear that other feminists struggle with the same questions I do, and we sometimes end up compromising a little too much–I know I have really beaten myself up about some of the questionable relationship choices I’ve made in the past, and articles like these remind me that I don’t have to trade in my feminist credentials for dating the wrong guy!

  6. FeministDK
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    A lot of red flags! Usually when I identify them, I don’t waste any more time than necessary on the guy. Let me tell you about one red flag I was exposed to. The guy was joking about, how women have to be “good girls”, virgins, etc. Then he started asking about my private life, trying to find out if I am a virgin or not. THIS IS A BIG RED FLAG! I hate men, who think they can control a woman’s body. NO. I sent him straight to hell after 2 hours conversation.
    I have never understood, why men think, we have to change our last name and accept their’s. That is just selfish. Being happy about your own body is really important, especially in the 21st century with all those “perfect” role models, the fact that we get the message, women have to be in a specific way and a specific size!
    I am glad you found someone, who accepts you the way you are!

  7. kayfem
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    So, allow me to preface this comment by saying I am not an Ayn Rand fan. I read three-fourths of Atlas Shrugged and abandoned it about 4 years ago. Clearly, Rand believes in market justice rather than social justice. But can someone explain to me why an affinity for Ayn Rand renders one “un-feminist” or un-dateable. To analogize it, I have huge personal issues with anti-choice feminists, but I’m not going to exile them from feminism’s big tent.
    My partner respects Ayn Rand deeply as a woman who broke into the old boys’ club back when women didn’t often break into the old boys’ club. Hell, it’s 2010 and this still isn’t easy. He also respects her world-view. Admittedly, we started dating when I was at the very beginning of my college career, before I fully realized my feminist self. There are issues that we can’t always talk about, because, politically, we’re very different. But I’ve gradually introduced him to feminism and, on a good night, he’ll admit that he considers himself somewhat of a feminist. He’s staunchly pro-choice and whole-heartedly believes in women’s equality. He also respects my (different) world-view and the work that I do, even though he doesn’t always agree.
    So, back to the original question. Why do feminists detest Ayn Rand? Is this always the red flag that kills the date or the relationship?

  8. JSS
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    A brief comment on red flags:
    Make very sure you fully understand what a man is saying before you judge him as a sexist.
    A lot of men I know genuinely believe that the word “feminist” means someone who would like to maintain inequality in society, but simply replace the patriarchy with a matriarchy, or that we should give women equal rights but continue chivalry, etc, etc. These men have had this misfortune of meeting someone who used the word “feminist” to legitimize some very weird views. These men tend to insist that rape is not a feminist issue because it’s a crime issue, that the pay gap is not a feminist issue because it’s a worker’s rights issue, etc, etc. These men also tend to say horrible things about “feminists,” and make a lot of statements that sound, at first listen, really sexist.
    Basically, there are a lot of men that throw up “red flags” because they’re misinformed. If you dump every guy who hasn’t done his homework on your political jargon, you will miss out. It may take explaining a lot of definitions and talking to a few TRUE sexists to make sure you don’t end up throwing out some perfectly nice, feminist guys, but I think it’s worth it.

  9. Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    I suspect there are two reasons behind this:
    1. Feminism, since it’s part of the social left, tends to gravitate towards the economic left as well. Ayn Rand and the economic left obviously don’t mix very well.
    2. Ayn Rand fanboys, nine times out of ten, are self-righteous douchebags. And I say this as someone with libertarian leanings. The red flag isn’t a reflection of Ayn Rand herself so much as her fanclub.

  10. xocoatl
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Why the wariness about problematization?
    Isn’t that an important feminist strategy sometimes?
    Can feminists and queers get along? Can queers be feminists? feminists queers?
    Plz advise.

  11. Kate
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing this. As someone who has generally works in a typically male field, I’ve always struggled with how feminist to be without isolating the guys, and unfortunately, I let it translate into my dating life. I used to argue all the time with my ex about the sexist comments he made with his male coworkers about the women they worked with (ie. comments about their bodies, their personalities, and even their relationships with other men). He responded that I just didn’t know what it was like to work with guys who made those types of comments, and that he was just fitting in. BTW, we worked together, so I did know what it was like, and unlike him, I couldn’t just be one of the boys. I think that was a major red flag that I stupidly ignored. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who sometimes compromises more than I should for a relationship. I too hope that I’m better at identifying the red flags from now on.

  12. woogledesigns.livejournal.com
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Woohoo on finding someone, Chloe!
    As a man I have the same problem finding women to date. My red flag flag is ‘…but I’m not some kind of feminist!’. Mostly women don’t know or care about feminism and so the way they look at the world just leaves me out in the cold.

  13. https://certifi.ca/eean
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure what Rand’s feminist or anti-feminist credentials are… but her world-view is certainly dramatically counter to most folks on this blog.
    I think its really important to share a common set of assumptions and goals about the world with your partner.

  14. Emeraldcityserendipity
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    I think (or at least would like to think) that people (feminist or otherwise) are likely appalled by a woman whose core philosophy was egoism, selfishness, and self-interest überalles, and who believed that altruistic or collectivist behavior is to be avoided and condemned. Additionally, Rand may have penetrated “old boys club” (though there were plenty of women writers/philosophers who predated her); but she was decidedly NOT a feminist in her outlook or in her identification as she celebrated male chauvinism and mocked the idea of a woman wanting to be president. She was also quite homophobic.
    I don’t think that anti-choicers or other women who embrace conservative ideas/values but who identify as feminists should necessarily be ‘exiled from the feminist tent’ but I would like to know how far the tent can stretch without ripping if it is to include the likes (dislikes?) of Rand and other conservative women (Phyllis Schlafly and Clare Booth Luce come to mind).

  15. MK
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure. I’ve known several feminists who like Ayn Rand. Personally I dig her fiction.

  16. Rosie's Mem
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 3:20 am | Permalink

    Thanks for raising that. I was about to ask the same thing.
    It’s not that I love Ayn Rand, but if I found out a woman liked Dostoyevsky or Wyndham Lewis or Robert Heinlein, all of whose sexual and social politics I find revolting (but all of whose books I like), wouldn’t that simply be a matter of taste?
    Isn’t it a bit authoritarian to start prescribing the the sorts of high and low cultural tastes people may have?

  17. klompen
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 4:06 am | Permalink

    Totally agree and empathize with pretty much everything said here, except for Friedman’s interpretation that women who “don’t have drama” = “don’t have opinions,” because my partner and I both regularly state, “We DON’T like drama!” and we consider it feminist. In our experience, it’s the least feminist women who revel in drama as an ALTERNATIVE to stating their opinions outright.
    Culturally, women are taught to be passive in general and passive-aggressive when they want something, rather than just coming out and saying it. An acquaintance of mine would pout or sob every time something went wrong (when someone told her to chop the vegetables differently, when she got herself locked in the bathroom, when her boyfriend would confront her with a relationship issue, etc.) and the cue was for her boyfriend or any guy to come running and comfort her out of the hysteria. Another acquaintance would do the same thing either in the face of criticism or when she was simply feeling shy or lonely, crying, “I’m the worst person ever!” deflecting attention away from the real issues and onto the need to calm her down. My partner constantly praises me for not behaving this way even though society encourages me to play kitten when I don’t get what I want.
    Other friends have also stated, “No drama!” and we’ve always taken this as a good sign – a statement that they want maturity and someone brave enough to state their opinions.

  18. j7sue2
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    Why do feminists detest Ayn Rand?
    this quote in J. Butler’s Gender Trouble – the sexist view that:
    “a woman only exhibits [true femininity]in the act of heterosexual coitus in which her subordination becomes her pleasure”
    Ayn Rand seems to believe in something like this. But if that’s what you happen to like, why not… She makes some very strong arguments about integrity, and truth being what you do, not what you say that I find resonate with things I see going on in the world. She’s very neo liberal/libertarian, and most feminist thought comes from a more marxist viewpoint.

  19. raptorpants
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 4:48 am | Permalink

    Oh red flags. I got a tattoo right above my mons that says “mine.” as part of a healing process (speaking of litmus tests). Figuring out who’s ok to sleep with is easier for me than figuring out who’s ok to think about spending ten plus years with.
    With regard to Ayn Rand, I dislike individualistic libertarian thought because I think it fails to account for privilege and perpetuates the myth that we live in a meritocracy. “Every person is an island who can control their very own destiny” resonates with me, as a white, middle class, cisgendered, het woman, but really some of the islands I don’t live on are surrounded by bloodthirsty sharks with assault rifles full of poisoned bullets. If playing fields were level in all ways for all people, I’d feel a lot more comfortable with Ayn Rand. (And Heinlein as a polyamory model, but that’s another story…) I feel like love of Ayn Rand means that someone doesn’t have a clue about privilege. Privilege 101 is more work than I am remotely interested in doing in the name of romance, ergo, dealbreaker.

  20. open_sketch
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Because Objectivism, Rand’s pet philosophy, is a disguisting, morally bankrupt set of excuses to justify greed and selfishness, that actually and actively states that altruism is wrong. It also doesn’t really go over with me too well from a pro-feminism point of view, as it encourages those with power to do all they can to retain that power, while pro-feminism is all about men like me surrendering our power and male privilege in the name of equality.
    Objectivist thinking actively supports the status quo, and basically advocates the complete removal of all economic restrictions that prevent the rich from lording over the poor. It is the economic anarchy of libertarism with the addition of a complete removal of moral structure. An Objectivist is somebody that literately believes helping people is wrong. That is why Ayn Rand is anti-feminist; she was literately anti-human, concerned only with herself, and so she came up with a way to justify her greed and called it a philosphy. Just because a woman managed to break through the glass celing doesn’t make that person inheirently worthy of respect.

  21. grendelkhan
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    So, back to the original question. Why do feminists detest Ayn Rand? Is this always the red flag that kills the date or the relationship?
    I’d hesitate to make blanket statements, but I think Ayn Rand is less popular among feminists because of her attitudes toward rape–there’s a bit in The Fountainhead where Howard Roark rapes Dominique Francon, which Rand describes as “rape by engraved invitation”; they’re later married, as the rape was just so romantic. I’d suppose that anyone involved in anti-rape activism would have to be a bit leery of the unambiguous use of “Rape Is Love“.
    (That, and Rand tends to be associated with right-wing politics, which are generally not associated with feminism. It’s like finding out that someone’s a big “Left Behind” fan.)

  22. AuntieMay
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    As a 40-something Feminist, I found dating quite the challenge. I felt as if I should only date pro-Feminism men who were evolved and sensitive to women.
    However, the guys I met who were like this held no attraction, no chemistry for me. I found these types of guys to be way too eager to please. They lacked strength. I simply couldn’t find myself dating such guys for any length of time.
    Ironically (and shockingly), I found myself attracted to guys who were of the more traditional, masculine nature – strong, rather silent, tall, and attractive (to me). I don’t know if I was being a traitor to the Feminist cause but I had to be true to my own nature and the types of men that I found attractive.
    Sadly, these types of guys went for the girly-girl types. As a woman of larger size and who simply didn’t go for primping and preening to look more feminine, the type of men to whom I was attracted simply weren’t attracted to me. It was terrible frustrating!
    I finally had to trade in my practical clothes for (sometimes) more feminine outfits, use makeup, grew my hair out, and (gasp!) lost weight with diet and exercise, did I finally start meeting men to whom I was truly attracted.
    I am now happily involved with a real man who doesn’t kowtow to my every whim and who challenges me intellectually. And he is so sexy that I just swoon when we are together.
    Am I being wrong?

  23. annajcook
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    kitzah, thanks so much for bringing this up! as I’ve been watching this conversation unfold across blogs, I’ve been thinking about this same issue.
    As someone who’s queer, in a same-sex relationship, I totally still struggle with what it means to articulate my feminist views to someone who — while basically pro-her-own-rights — has a very tense relationship with political feminism. It’s not that she doesn’t recognize discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, etc., but that she’s dealt with it in a very different way in her own life than I have. So while we often notice the same issues with things, we can have totally different emotional reactions and opinions about how to deal.
    Given that feminism is so integral to my own sense of identity this can often leave me feeling really scrambled and unhappy. Not having her own the political identity in the same way I do hurts sometimes, even though I know she’s on my side when it comes to particular issues.
    I feel like those dynamics are really unique to a same-sex, lesbian relationship.

  24. bradley
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    I think the sticking point is statism. Ayn Rand was an individualist who viewed the initiation of force as the greatest moral wrong. Accordingly, she saw most actions performed by the State as aggressive and immoral, except for a very limited set.
    The particular flavour of feminists that visit this website are (broadly) drawn from the left-hand side of the political spectrum. This means they often see government as a useful tool for effecting feminist goals, like pay equality or wider access to abortions. This use of State power to re-make society would be anathema to Rand.
    People here balk at the Randian allergy toward the State, which is why you’ll hear more positive things on this site about, say, the Catholic church than Ayn Rand. The church, despite their non-feminist views on sex and reproduction, professes to care about “social justice”; Rand had a very different idea of justice.
    So, feminism and Rand can coexist, but Rand and statism can’t.

  25. hellotwin
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    As someone who has never read anything by Ayn Rand, I am curious about this as well. Anybody have some input??

  26. Keliz
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    I think I can explain this – and I do so as someone who read all of Atlas Shrugged in a couple days and greatly enjoyed it as a work of fiction (not as a work of philosophy which is what she thought it was). I see it as a sort of free-market utopia. Frankly, with characters like those described by Rand who are honest and hardworking for the sake of it, any economic system would flourish. Having it taken as a serious piece of economic philosophy by the folks on Fox definitely results in some disdain among feminists.
    But more than the economic stance it takes, I think a lot of feminists abhorrence is a result of the rape scene in The Fountainhead. From wikipedia:
    Susan Brownmiller, in her 1970s work on sexual assault, Against Our Will, denounced the alleged rape scene, and Dominique’s subsequent relationship with Roark, for promoting the idea that “no means yes” and that non-consensual sex occurs because the woman subconsciously agrees to it.
    I myself found that whole construct pretty horrifying. Basically what happens is that Roark breaks in and rapes Dominique despite her protests. And in the book this is an act worth praising and the reason Dominique falls in love with Roark.

  27. Chris
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    “Why do feminists detest Ayn Rand? Is this always the red flag that kills the date or the relationship?”
    It’s a good sign of narcissism, sociopaths, and this…
    http://www.cracked.com/funny-304-ayn-rand/

  28. FrumiousB
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    Jaclyn identified as queer for a large portion of her dating life. She has only started dating cis-men in the last few years. Some of her points do apply to everybody – any gender, any orientation, and any relationship, friend, lover, or coworker. For instance, her point:
    can [zie] talk about [feminist issues] in ways that express curiosity and engagement and respect, instead of defensiveness or dismissiveness or attachment to stereotypes?

  29. CassieC
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    100% of sex scenes in Ayn Rand are rape or rapey. My favorite (snark) quote from Atlas Shrugged was “She [Dagny Taggart] would have felt it [having sex] meant less if he had asked for her consent.”
    Ayn Rand gets points for a consistently shitty worldview tho:
    1. altruism is bad, selfishness is good
    2. rule 1 is true in all human relationships
    3. the only approved sex is rape.
    This helps explain the douchiness of Rand fanboys.

  30. asseenontv
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I think the big thing is that the protagonist of Atlas Shrugged raped a woman. This was portrayed as a great and heroic thing because supposedly women like getting raped and that’s what any man who isn’t a communist does.
    I can’t comment too much further because that would require me to read Ayn Rand books and I’d rather do pretty much anything else. But I gather that her books are about her ideal man, who is selfish alpha male that likes to rape women. Since she saw herself as a philosopher and she thought rape, selfishness, and capitalism were good she probably says lots of anti-feminist things.

  31. asseenontv
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    By the way, I’ve found this helpful diagram of Ayn Rand for anyone who isn’t familiar with her philosophy: Ayn Rand

  32. conductress
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    There were similar comments on the original article as well. I don’t know if you have a blog, but if so, you should write something! There seems to be a lot of interest in this subject from a non-hetero viewpoint and I bet you could start a great conversation on the topic. Even if you don’t have a blog, you could post on the community page here.

  33. kandela
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Well, I see where you’re coming from when you say “unlike him [you] couldn’t be one of the guys.” It might be worth considering too, that quite often guys will make comments in all male company that they won’t when a woman is present. So, you probably didn’t get all of what he was talking about.
    Without actually saying it, those groups of men have this worldview: when there are women around they will hold their tongue a bit – the upshot is maybe the girl will like them… When it’s just guys though, that is when they get to let off some steam, and quit “holding it in.” If you out yourself as the type of guy who might hold them to those standards while girls aren’t around then they can’t see the benefit of having you around.
    It is a pretty rare man who says that he thinks the comment is not on in that situation. And being one of those men I can tell you why: you pretty quickly aren’t one of the guys so much after that. As a man, it’s more difficult to form an initial bond with women when you start somewhere new, they tend to be more wary of you. And being socialised slightly differently, you won’t often get to participate in all the types of activities you might like, with just female company. So, if you aren’t one of the guys, and can’t fit in with the girls, that’s a pretty isolating place. I can see why some guys would let a few of those comments slide.

  34. Steven
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    “don’t have drama” (“I feel like that is code for women who have opinions”).
    Not quite. There are people that are constantly entering into some battle with someone in their life and bringing that stuff back home.
    That is the drama. Someone that is constantly at odd with their boss, their coworkers, some random person at the deli counter, their mom, some person on the internet.
    Is that person opinionated? Sure, and probably an asshole.

  35. Chris
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    @AuntieMay “Sadly, these types of guys went for the girly-girl types. As a woman of larger size and who simply didn’t go for primping and preening to look more feminine, the type of men to whom I was attracted simply weren’t attracted to me. It was terrible frustrating!”
    There are plenty of guys who are of larger size and don’t want to put any effort into grooming or fashion, but think they “deserve” someone far more slender than themselves, judging people of a similar bodyshape to themselves as inferior. The classic sitcom / commercial “dumpy dude with a model wife” archetype.
    Towards beliefs, there are always going to be duller people who share your belief system, and it’s always possible for someone of a more conservative bent to respect your beliefs. Just be conscious of why exactly the attraction is there, and you should be fine.

  36. evann
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Every judgment we make has the possibility of being wrong. I’m sorry, but we are not here to educate dates who have not even made a cursory exploration of feminism. And if one doesn’t even know what feminism means, at all? They’re probably sexist, because we live in a sexist culture, and they have made no attempts to see beyond it. I’m really not worried about missing out on people like that.

  37. Kate
    Posted April 5, 2010 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    I do appreciate your insight, but it made me want to clarify some things if you don’t mind. First, I definitely understand the filter between when it’s just the guys and when their are women around. I grew up in a household that was mostly male, so I can appreciate the difference between what we used to call “locker room talk” and “mixed gender talk” (although I know this isn’t the greatest name for it because gender is more complex than stereotypical male and female). I think everyone has their particular group of people that they get to blow of steam with, even saying things that may not be politically correct when they wouldn’t say those things in front of others.
    Unfortunately, I think the problem in my case extended beyond that. We worked in an environment where people were fairly openly racist, sexist, and homophobic. I considered it very hostile, and unfortunately, it was graduate school, so I had to put up with it if I wanted my degree. Pretty often, I was privy to comments such as calling a woman with large breasts “Hoots” and a homosexual Asian man “The Gaysian” because I was “the girlfriend” of one of the “in” guys (despite the fact that I also worked with them). Admittedly, I didn’t stand up to the crowd of men either for fear of isolating myself even further and becoming “the bitch” instead. But I was not talking about just letting comments slide. Even though the right thing to do would be to tell someone their racist, sexist, or homophobic comments are inappropriate, it can be a very difficult thing to do. But I think a serious line gets crossed when you start to participate in the derogatory comments even instigating it to appear “cool” in front of your male friends. Both men and women have to deal with peer pressure every day regardless of age, but at some point (generally coming with maturity), you need to decide when personal character finally comes before “being cool”.
    So anyway, I guess that was a long way of explaining that our arguments were not about letting derogatory comments slide, but rather the instigation of additional derogatory comments. And for that, I’m not sure there is any justification that I would agree with.

  38. Josh Jasper
    Posted April 5, 2010 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    I wonder if there’s a market for a feminist dating service/site.

  39. Chris
    Posted April 5, 2010 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    “Well, I see where you’re coming from when you say “unlike him [you] couldn’t be one of the guys.” It might be worth considering too, that quite often guys will make comments in all male company that they won’t when a woman is present. So, you probably didn’t get all of what he was talking about. ”
    Somehow I doubt the context exonerates him.
    “Without actually saying it, those groups of men have this worldview: when there are women around they will hold their tongue a bit – the upshot is maybe the girl will like them… When it’s just guys though, that is when they get to let off some steam, and quit “holding it in.” If you out yourself as the type of guy who might hold them to those standards while girls aren’t around then they can’t see the benefit of having you around.”
    Aaaaaand this isn’t particularly impressive either.
    “It is a pretty rare man who says that he thinks the comment is not on in that situation. And being one of those men I can tell you why: you pretty quickly aren’t one of the guys so much after that. As a man, it’s more difficult to form an initial bond with women when you start somewhere new, they tend to be more wary of you. And being socialised slightly differently, you won’t often get to participate in all the types of activities you might like, with just female company. So, if you aren’t one of the guys, and can’t fit in with the girls, that’s a pretty isolating place. I can see why some guys would let a few of those comments slide. ”
    You could just not say terrible things in private *or* public and not willfully exclude either gender, but perhaps that’s just me.

  40. Sky
    Posted April 5, 2010 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    Could you please stop linking that article without a warning for the transphobic language in it? (Separating male-identified people into “men” and “trans men” is problematic no matter how much she backpedals about it.)

  41. kandela
    Posted April 5, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    “You could just not say terrible things in private *or* public and not willfully exclude either gender, but perhaps that’s just me.”
    Sure, you can. And I, like you, do that; but others will say those things in your company and how you respond to that has consequences. Those consequences may be worse for men than women. That’s all I’m saying. It’s kyriarchy and intersectionality at work.
    I, like you it seems, speak up when the situation arises. I know it costs me personally, and thus I have some sympathy for those reluctant to do so. That seems to be in line with what many on this forum seem to be talking about when they say we consider the impact on ourselves when we choose our own level of activism and conformation.
    However, I’m with Kate above, when she says that joining in or initiating comments is a bridge to far.

  42. NellieBlyArmy
    Posted April 6, 2010 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Because she genuinely believed that a man who dismembered a 12-year-old while she was still alive is the greatest example possible of a good person BECAUSE he dismembered a 12-year-old while she was still alive. To her, the real crime is pudgy people who dress badly.
    http://www.michaelprescott.net/hickman.htm

  43. NellieBlyArmy
    Posted April 6, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think you’re wrong, exactly, but I do find it odd how strictly you divide a huge, diverse population into two opposed types. Sure, change yourself because “real men” don’t like heavy women, I guess, but I find your world view to be extremely limiting. Every man I know does not fit into either of those categories.

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