Dating as a feminist can be a really confronting process, especially when it comes to wading through the abyss of online dating. It’s been a big thing for me lately, and a few super helpful articles have come my way which I will include at the end of the post. I want to share my story to hopefully send a little encouragement to those who may find themselves lost in the feminist dating struggle.
About 6 months ago I jumped cautiously back into the dating pool – well, started dipping my toes in at least. I lowered myself in through the help of my old and not so great pal, Tinder. From past experience, I knew it was nothing but a cesspool of swiping and if I was going to find someone of actual interest to me I was going to have to project my niche straight away. So the first words I put on my profile were ‘feminist killjoy’, I went on to describe myself as an intersectional feminist, I shamelessly showed my glorious armpit locks in my pictures and sat down for some thumb aching swipe action.
It didn’t take long for the trolling assholes to pour in, “You’re fucking disgusting! “Good luck finding a man you yeti!”, “Oh God! I thought you were hot so I swiped but not I’ve looked at your profile/other pictures I’m having a hard time not vomiting”, “FUCKING MAN HATING SLUT!”… they were a delightful bunch.
Then some less directly abusive matches began to trickle in, some of them claimed to not care about my ‘political views’ – Yeah, being dismissive of my views and passions is just as douchey as shooting them down. There were those with weird armpit hair fetishes – Hell no! There were some who claimed they agreed with me or were feminists themselves but then would drop phrases like “you’re not like other girls”, or “I wish all women would stop shaving/wearing makeup”. Then, in very small numbers, there were some pretty genuine people. But I quickly learnt that just because you have claim to have the same values as someone and banter well in text doesn’t guarantee any real life attraction or connection.
There were, of course, a bunch that were seemingly lovely but our meetings were without a spark. And then there was the month of dates/meetings that nearly broke me… There was the guy who mocked me for recovering from an eating disorder because my current weight didn’t reflect his stereotypes. The cyber stalker who I had to block from every social media account I have including the pages of some people’s I manage. The one who demanded I pay the bill, because, equality, right?! The guy who thought listening to Chris Brown’s music at high volumes was a great idea. There was the one who talked about his ex all night, referred to her as a “demon doing the work of Satan, deliberately getting pregnant with innocent men and stealing their children”, yup, a real feminist right there! And the one who gave me a 40-minute speech as to why white privilege doesn’t exist, *eye roll*.
All this had me quite discouraged and doubting myself. Was I being too picky? Was I dreaming expecting that I could find a guy with similar values who wasn’t a dickhead AND with mutual attraction? Should I lose weight? Shave my armpits? Hide my scars? Lower my moral standards? Pretend there was attraction where there was none? Move fucking cities again?! I was ready to throw in the towel completely until a stern word from my psych who reminded me how I feel when I do compromise myself for others, why that is so important to me and that all my self-work lately has been to live a life in accordance with my values, that I’ve persisted a little longer. And I’m very glad I have.
Since I decided to be my honest and true self in dating some glimmers of hope have shone through – in the form of the people I am meeting, yes. But more importantly, in what growth it is producing in me. I am more confident to outline what I want and need and it’s perfectly ok if I don’t know exactly what that is. I’m learning to not let my physical appearance limit my mindset of what I deserve and that I don’t want to use it as a tool of manipulation. I am much more picky about who I have sex with and I never feel like I ‘owe’ anyone sex. I’m much more confident, if I do enter into a sexual relationship with someone, to talk about sexual health, set my boundaries, end the relationship if it becomes unfulfilling or toxic, and I don’t blame myself for ‘not communicating clearly’ if something does go awry. And I am slowly becoming more comfortable with the idea that I deserve to be loved in a way that feels nourishing to me.
I really want to scream from the rooftops to all my fellow feminists looking for connections, NEVER change yourself for anyone! ALWAYS stick to your beliefs! DO NOT LISTEN if society tells you that you are limiting your options or making it harder to find people to connect with. There are a whole bunch of humans out there, just waiting to find someone awesome like you to share their awesomeness with. You be your honest self and expect the same of others. There is some serious liberation to be found in that.
Here are those links I promised you ❤