Hello readers, happy new year! I am grateful to be here with you.
This week I’d like to talk about dating as a feminist (again).
There are SO MANY societal expectations/social norms that go along with dating in this day and age and country. And by and large, they go unquestioned and are blindly followed because it’s “how things are done”.
Feminists have something else to say about that. Dating norms do not in and of themselves have to be bad, but it is always a good idea to question and explore for oneself how/why they want to date.
I’ve been running into one expectation in particular lately (forgive the hetero nature of this one): the classic perspective that a woman shouldn’t ask too much of a dude if he isn’t her boyfriend or if they’re not in a committed relationship. Whether or not you’ve personally encountered this, you’ve probably heard it. Maybe a woman saying something like, “Well, he’s not my boyfriend so I can’t get upset that he forgot my birthday” or a man saying, “I don’t know why she wants me to cook her dinner once a week, it’s not like she’s my girlfriend”. Or whatever.
To this I call bullshit.
No matter what your level of relationship with someone, you are allowed to have wants and expectations for that other person. If you’re hooking up with someone, it’s okay to want them to have a conversation with you when you see each other. If you’re dating someone, it’s okay to ask them to text you regularly. If the other person has a problem with whatever wants and expectations you have, they might not be the person you want to be hooking up with or dating or whatever.
THIS DOES NOT MAKE YOU NEEDY. This makes you a person with desires and wants. THAT’S OKAY.
Women especially are taught to tread lightly if not at the committed relationship level – not to ask too much (ie: voice their desires and needs) because it might make the other person go running. But if someone doesn’t want to value and respect me in that way, then I’ll be the one going running.
I know this is really hard, I do. Just practice. If you’re in a dating situation and you catch yourself thinking, “can I ask this person to do this since they’re not my main squeeze?” try to redirect yourself to the place of. “I can ask for what I want/need because I deserve attention and respect”. Try to do the same for your close friends. We gotta help each other out and sometimes we need another to remind us that we are deserving of what we want.
In my opinion, dating as a feminist means ignoring those norms that tell me to quiet my desires and to do everything in my power to secure a main squeeze (and then, what, suddenly start acting completely different because they’ve committed to me?!). Nah. I try to ask for what I want, voice what I need and if the other person can’t or won’t entertain meeting me where I’m at….byeeeeeee.
And, of course, this goes both ways. It’s a great idea for feminist daters to extend this courtesy to their dates as well. We can revolutionize the dating scene by caring less about what other people will think and trying to figure out what works best for us.
But lemme say it once more: you’re allowed to ask things of someone you’re involved with on any level. That’s okay.