As a vocal and active feminist, a relationship with someone who doesn't support the movement could never work for me. My quest to date a feminist has not been without its challenges. And though I've tried to keep an open mind, those who say they believe in gender equality (because, after all, who wouldn't say that?) but don't really understand what that means or how their own actions might inadvertently perpetuate the opposite don't really do it for me either. The more I learn about myself and embrace my feminist identity, the more crucial it becomes that I date someone like-minded.
Some men say they're feminists but interrupt and talk over women, often about feminism. And others have never thought to use the label but get all fired up when the topic of sexism comes up in a way that makes me swoon. And then there are those initial conversations when you have no idea what the other person's views are. While I don't want to bring up feminism out of nowhere or get into an argument if the person I'm dating turns out to be anti-feminist, I also don't want to leave out an important part of who I am and find out we're incompatible once we're already attached. What's a feminist to do?
I enlisted the help of 14 other feminist daters. Hopefully, you'll find these pieces of advice useful for identifying and attracting feminists.
1. Declare Your Identity Loud And Proud On Your Online Dating Profile
"I put 'proud feminist' in my profile and look for language that puts women down, or pictures objectifying women. I call it 'The F*ckboy Test' — I can just kind of tell. Then again, I haven't been very successful finding feminist men, so... maybe it doesn't work that well (or works too well)."-Klaudia, 20
"Friendship groups. And I literally put 'Feminist Killjoy' as the first line on my Tinder profile. Also, I am generally attracted to MoC-identified people, so the word 'bro' needs to have the same repulsing effect on them as it does on me."-Genevieve, 34
"I put it right there on my profile. Most people create their OkCupid profile to appeal widely to everyone, to the highest number of people, because in some ways matching online is about ego-boosting more than about actually liking people. I get that. I just went the other way, like, 'DON'T TALK TO ME UNLESS YOU ARE X AND Y AND YOU LIKE THAT I AM Y AND Z.' I am two years into the relationship that happened on the first date from that profile."-Sophie, 24
"I just put 'if you're a feminist' on my OkCupid profile in the section that says "you should message me if."-Katie, 31
"I include 'feminist' and 'progressive' as descriptors in my profile. Yet I still get troglodytes who message to argue with me about feminism or want to 'tame me' — as if feminism is a gauntlet I've thrown down."-Marcie, 48
"I introduce myself on my OkCupid profile by saying, 'I'm obsessed with feminism. How do we end male dominance and supremacy? I don't see how we can with equality. Like, you cant be equal to dominance. It doesn't make sense. All you end up with is some kind of sub-assimilation. I'd like to meet other feminists."-Chloe, 35
2. Sift Through Those OkCupid Questions
"OkCupid is great for this — lots of their questions are geared toward weeding out people who hold beliefs like 'women should be obligated to shave' and 'fat people can never be attractive.' You would be shocked at the number of guys who answer both such questions that way and still send this hairy fat feminist messages."-Rebecca, 33
"There are a few questions on OkCupid that give wonderful insight: 'no means no,' 'should your partner be obligated to change their name?', 'is there any circumstance where someone is obligated to sleep with you?' The 'no means no' one is the scariest in terms of how many men I've seen don't answer it with 'always.'"-Stephanie, 42
3. Test Their Media Consumption Habits
"Under 'you should message me if' in my online profile, I have 'you've read at least one book by a woman in the past year.' Not a foolproof sign someone's a feminist, but it at least indicates that a) they read and b) they don't adhere to a completely all-dude literary canon."-Rosa, 32
4. Explain Why Feminism Is Important To You
"I think a willingness to learn is most important. My boyfriend (who I met on OkCupid) would not have described himself as a feminist when we met and had a pretty negative idea of what a feminist was, but as we've been together longer and I've shared how important feminism is to me and what it means to be a feminist outside of stereotypes, he has changed his views. I think you know from the get-go when someone is anti-feminist (they'll make fun of your ideals, they'll make comments that are obviously anti-women or in support of harmful stereotypes and systems of oppression, etc.), but I would worry that in looking for only for people who actively identify as feminist, I would miss out on meeting people who just haven't had the right conversations yet."-Liz, 28
5. Ask About Their Voting History
"On a dating profile, I say something like, 'If you have ever voted for a Republican for President, it probably won't work out between us.' That usually narrows the field. Then I also say, 'I am a feminist, and so are my two brothers and my dad. Why would anyone not be for equal rights for everyone?' That usually takes care of it. I also judge men harshly who say they are looking for a 'lady' or use the word 'ladies,' when it is clearly not used to be ironic."-Anne, 53
6. See How They Handle The Bill
"On OkCupid, under 'you should message me if,' I added 'you're a feminist.' I think a good sign on a first date is if they let you split the check or at least pay for something."-Lauren, 22
7. And If You Date Women?
"Even that's not a guarantee. But it does increase your odds, I found."-Tamára, 35
"As a lesbian, I usually feel pretty safe in assuming that the girls I date will be feminist and share my views. Honestly, that about sums it up."-Mary, 39
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Images: Fotolia; Giphy(5); Suzannah Weiss/OkCupid