5 Questions Every Feminist Should Ask Before Dating Someone New
Being a feminist on the dating market isn't always easy. On top of dealing with a lot of backlash just for being feminists, we also frequently encounter partners whose values aren't in line with our own. To prevent this, there are a few questions feminists should ask someone new they're dating. Rather than wait until you're already in a relationship and the stakes are high, its better to figure out from the get-go if someone you're dating exhibits deal breakers.
While this might apply particularly to women who date men because more women than men are feminists and men don't always understand what women deal with, dating someone who shares your values is important regardless of your gender or sexual orientation. Before entering into any relationship, it's worth asking yourself which belief systems you would not tolerate in a partner.
If you're a strong feminist and want someone else who shares that way of thinking, here are some questions to ask someone you're newly dating to figure out if you're compatible in that way. They might lead to some heated debates, but that's a blessing in disguise; it means you're figuring out whether your relationship will work before you get attached and it's harder to back out.
1. "How Do You Define Consent?"
This one is super important because if you get into a relationship with someone, it's likely that at some point, you'll have to ask each other for consent. Even if the relationship isn't going to be a sexual one, there are plenty of non-sexual scenarios that require respecting boundaries. Specifically, when you're newly dating someone, you'll want to know whether they'll practice affirmative consent — the standard by which only "yes" means "yes" — inside and outside the bedroom. If you're not comfortable asking outright how they define consent, you can always talk about the sexual assault epidemic on college campuses or affirmative consent laws and gage their opinion on these larger issues.
2. "What Are Your Views On Abortion?"
If you're considering a sexual relationship that could potentially lead to pregnancy, holding conflicting views on abortion can cause a lot of tension. If you can get pregnant, you'll want to know whether someone will respect your choice to handle the pregnancy as you see fit. And if you can get someone pregnant, you want to make sure you're on the same page about what will be done about it. Even if you're not in a relationship that could lead to pregnancy, someone's views on abortion can speak volumes about their level of misogyny as well as their respect for others' bodily autonomy.
3. "What Are Your Views On Feminism?"
If you're a feminist, and especially if feminism is a big part of your identity, you probably don't want to be dating somebody who will put feminism down and make you feel bad about who you are. Instead, you will probably want someone who will stand up for you when you're facing all the backlash feminists get. If someone doesn't identify as a feminist, that's not necessarily an automatic deal breaker; plenty of people shy away from the term, but still exhibit behaviors consistent with feminist views. But a date's negative views of feminism could foreshadow a propensity to invalidate your own views during a relationship.
4. "What Do You Think Of The Election?"
I'm not suggesting you only date people with the same voting record as you, but the way someone talks about any current event that involves gender issues — and the election is definitely one of them — can reveal how feminist or sexist they are. For example, if someone uses gendered words like "shrill" or "aggressive" toward Hillary Clinton, that could be a red flag. So could defending Donald Trump's sexist comments about Megyn Kelly or his racist comments toward immigrants. It doesn't have to be the election, though; any well-known issue pertaining to gender or inequality will be relevant.
5. "What Movies/TV/Music/Books Have You Been Into Lately?"
I know this can seem like small talk, but it's also a way to gage how much someone values diversity. Are they only listening to all-male bands? Are they disproportionately watching shows starring white people? Do they read about the experiences of people who aren't from their own culture? If somebody's only being exposed to narrow perspectives, they might have a narrow perspective themselves, and they may not be trying to expand it. After all, feminism is about understanding the perspectives of people from all different identities and valuing them equally.
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