As much as I resist a commercialized expression of love, I can’t resist an opportunity to reflect on the nature of it. Valentine’s seems like a bit of a provocation, eliciting my feminist commitment to reclaim and reframe all those hearts, roses, and tired cliches in favor of a radical, conscious, and liberatory love. So here’s a little list of things that I’ve learned along the way…
1. What makes a relationship feminist has little to do with appearance or Politics and has everything to do with subtle, daily interactions. If you want to know if you’re experiencing a feminist relationship, pay attention to the most seemingly mundane of things and most unspoken of assumptions.
2. The most feminist I ever feel in love is when I see my partner, and my partner sees me, as a one-of-a-kind composition of a human being, with gender as an ever present, playful ingredient, not a determining factor. This doesn’t mean we ignore society’s force in influencing how we experience our own gender or sexuality, but that–within the liberatory space of our relationship–we have permission to transgress, transform, and titilate rather than explain ourselves.
3. Nothing challenges an egalitarian relationship more than making them there babies, or so I hear from the brave friends who have already done so.
4. No one partner, just like no one movement or theory or thinker, is going to satisfy all of your needs and desires. That’s why, if you’re into monogamy, it’s freeing to seek a romantic relationship with the flexibility and security necessary to nurture lots of wonderful friendships. Community, after all, is feminist, and it takes a whole village to keep a feminist intellectually, emotionally, and physically stimulated, if you know what I’m sayin’.
5. Know and love your body and your relationships will inevitably feel more feminist.
6. If you’re into guys, which I am, you have to walk your talk within relationships. That means creating the space for men to be vulnerable, not expecting them to live up to any of your unexamined assumptions about what’s masculine, respecting their confusion, courage, and creativity around gender just as much as you do your own.
7. All healthy love, in my opinion, is dependent on a deep commitment to self-awareness on both partners’ parts. If the person you’re with isn’t willing to examine themselves–in whatever form that takes for them–then you’re going to have hard time creating a conscious and radical relationship. Good love, like good politics, takes self-examination and bold truth telling.
What are your learnings on radical love?