Feminism in a relationship

I have a Tumblr and I follow many people who happen to be feminists. I follow them for their images and quotations, moreso than their feminist propaganda. But alas, the feminist ranting also shows up on my feed. And I inevitably read a feminist essay or two. And then my relationship starts to get a bitter taste to it. And then I start to resent feminism…

Sometimes we’re sitting around and he asks me why I never cook for him. And I get all sorts of defensive. Despite the fact that he constantly cooks for me and his inquiry has nothing to do with gender roles. Or he will say something sharp to a man who’s flirting with me, and I will have to restrain myself from backslapping him and singing Ani DiFranco. And sometimes he doesn’t even have to do anything at all. If we’re watching a movie that has zero female roles of consequence (i.e. any movie ever,) suddenly I don’t want to cuddle with him anymore. Because fuck the patriarchy!

moon

It’s absolutely awful. He does everything in his power to make me happy. But despite his kindness, I get notions of feminism running around in my brain and I lash out at him in the most irrational ways. (It’s particularly ridiculous considering my white power and American passport. Overall, I probably have more privilege than he has by being a man.)

Feminism is especially lethal to romance. On our first date, he did all sorts of nice things. And towards the end, we were standing near a pool and he told me to look at the moon. It was the most picturesque moment ever, with a bright full moon reflecting in the pool. Emotionally, I was very much into it. (The next day, I jumped up and down on the couch and told my roommate that I really, really, really liked him.) But in my brain I was thinking, “He just wants to sleep with me. Don’t fall for it. Don’t encourage him lest he take advantage. Girl power.” So outwardly, I scoffed at him. Because I am a cold-hearted woman who scoffs at classic gender roles and romance. Because feminism.

I should really be nicer to him.

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3 Responses to Feminism in a relationship

  1. Sofie U. says:

    Hahahaha, I can just picture it!
    It’s funny because my feminism comes out in my relationship in an entirely different way. Mostly it is activated when my boyfriend tries to trigger my feminist rants, like by saying that women should only work in sales, etc, which I know he doesn’t mean at all but still, all of my feminist golden nuggets still need to be said. I feel like we split everything equally, except for paying for things like eating out, etc, but that is because he has been raised his entire life to pay for me and so it takes some time to break bad habits like that. But he knows how I feel about it and that I only let him do it because I know it makes him happy – not because I in any way expect him to pay for my meal. I frequently get annoyed/angry with stuff that has to do with the media (movies, television) or how women’s haircuts and men’s haircuts have different prices even though some women, you know, keep their hair short, and I would say that I have taught him many, many incredibly invaluable things. HA.
    We’re fighting a good fight, even though it sometimes comes out at the wrong people, perhaps, who don’t necessarily disagree with us. 🙂

    Sofie / philosuffy.com

  2. Georgia Kate says:

    This post, whilst saddening, was so interesting. I read a lot of feminist posts during the filler buster earlier this year… was it Wendy Davis? I might be getting names mixed up, but anyway. And it does empower you to think you are entitled to things because you are a woman. And in some ways that is true, and in others it isn’t. Like, my mum always says that being a woman shouldn’t automatically get you things. Rights, of course we should have. Privileges that men have aren’t so crucial (I can’t think of any examples, I only hope you get what I mean. That as women we deserve to be equal to men rights-wise, but we can’t just use our gender as an excuse for other things. Ack. I promise I know what I mean).

    And it is interesting how it changes your perception of innocent comments, or genuine interest or love. I think, as women, we always fear being objectified or sidelined; men are “the bad guys”, I suppose. And all those years of history when we were beneath them is still raw, because we still have so far to go.

    I don’t know anything about your boyfriend or your relationship but maybe it’s worth talking to him about it? I’m sure he’d understand. It’s really easy to get caught up in these things.

    Take care! xx

  3. Stephanie says:

    I feel like a lot of feminists are just as disrespectful and hateful as the most extreme people in the “patriarchy” they speak of, and therefore choose to ignore most feminists. Nothing wrong with having a traditional romance and marriage if that’s what makes you happy. My mom is a perfectly happy housewife and likes her life with my dad, and these feminists would be super-mean and judge people like her.

    Personally, I’d love to see more movies featuring women of character and I’d love it if the “you’re a girl/boy so you must do this otherwise you’re a homosexual faggot” culture that still exists where I grew up disappear. The feminists are right in that there’s still a lot of work to be done. But, some of the most vocal ones are definitely wayyy too extreme for their own good. (I’m going to be girly and like it when I feel like it, goddammit!)

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