7 Ways To Inject Feminism Into Your Dating Life, Because It's About Damn Time

I've learned from Feminist Tinder Instagram that a lot of idiots will act, well, like idiots when you call yourself a feminist. Screw them. And dating as a feminist woman is where I find gender inequality glaringly obvious. When I'm on dates with men I'm met with assumptions like I can't pay for myself or I should consider myself lucky to be out with them— that for some reason I'm the one on trial. Not always, obviously, there are lots of good guys out there, but there are things that I just don't run into when it comes to dates with women. It's awful, it feels gross when it happens, but it's true.

But just because it's true doesn't mean we need to put up with it. The only way to change the power imbalance is to challenge it and, yes, that's unfortunately going to mean being met with some vitriol from the idiots of the world. Whatever. If we can deal with our vaginas being ripped during child birth we can deal with that. 

So what do we need to do to make a change? Here are seven ways to inject some feminism to your sex and dating life.

1. Don't Be Scared Of The F Word

The best way to inject some feminism is with the word itself. Don't be ashamed, don't even hesitate to label yourself a feminist. There's this horrible trend to to be reticent to use the word, or to add some qualifier. Saying things like, "I'm a feminist, but I like rough sex." or "I'm a feminist, but I want to be a housewife." is a destructive and misleading use of the word. Feminists can like rough sex! Feminists can be housewives! All it means it that you think there should be social and economic equality. You're a feminist. Period. People who don't agree with that either 1. Don't know what that word means or 2. Are jerks. Don't put up with it. 

2. Pay Your Half

A personal pet peeve I've complained about before. There is no reason for you not to pay your half, especially early on in dating. If later on you have kids or a specific distribution of labor I totally get it. But early on, it makes no sense. It's not a sweet little tradition. It's a throwback to when women were property. Can't we all agree there's nothing cute or nostalgia-worthy about that? 

3. Dress For You, Not For Them

You can dress however the eff you want. If full on '50s pinup is how you feel comfortable on a date, go for it, or, if you're like me and more comfortable in black leggings and combat boots, that's fine too. I was going on a date recently where I thought maybe I should make more of an effort for the girl, but ultimately what makes me feel comfortable is looking like me, not like a dolled up version of me. And I'm not really interested in anyone who wouldn't be OK with that. Dress for you, not for some other definition of beauty. 

4. Be Straightforward

Don't worry about looking crazy or needy or whatever for being upfront about what is and isn't OK for you. Men do it all the time. A lot of time, to avoid looking like "that girl" women put up with a lot of crap. The only time I ever turn into "that girl" is when I'm not open and straightforward about what I want and it eventually drives me a bit mental. Whenever I voice how I'm feeling about a relationships, whether it's things I like or things I'm not comfortable with, in a thoughtful, measured way it's been fine. Don't let it bottle up. 

5. Plan A Date

You don't need to sit on the sidelines of a relationship or of your dates. Constantly having to make plans is stressful and never having an opinion on anything will make you look like a wet blanket, so you should share the planning responsibilities. Plus, it means you get to do things you want to do!

6. Choose The Position

Just like with dating, you should be dictating what happens in the bedroom some of the time. That doesn't mean you should be on top with a whip every night if that's not your thing, it just means getting what you want. If that means being submissive, that's fine— feminists can be submissive, too! It just means you making sure you're getting what you want. 

7. Be Picky

I think the most important thing you can do as a feminist dating is to be discerning about who you date. To be OK with being alone. Part of the social and economic equality we're going for means not having to settle down with the next person to come along because you're scared of being alone or looking like a spinster or constantly needing someone to help you feel whole and valid. So part of being a feminist, and just being happy, while dating is being able to be OK with someone who is... fine... and say "No thanks, I'm good on my own." and being content to wait for something better.  

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.

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