Forget romantic partners — when you first enter adulthood, roommate relationships are some of the most important you'll make. Other people come and go, but the ones you live with know where you eat, sleep, and keep your collection of Chuck Tingle novels (in the back of the closet, unless you're an amateur). Finding a roommate you don't want to throttle is harder than it sounds, but fortunately, there are plenty of little ways feminism makes you a better roommate, so you can lure the good ones into your clutches forever. Or until your lease ends and you fail to convince them to enter into the kind of lifelong platonic partnership that ends in neighboring rocking chairs — you know, whichever comes first.
All jokes aside, feminism doesn't just affect romantic relationships; it can make you a better friend, boss, and maybe even a more informed writer. You don't have to be out protesting the patriarchy every day to see the way prioritizing gender equality, or even just acknowledging that sexism still exists, makes you more open-minded in the long run. You might not have noticed them before, but here are five little ways feminists make better roommates — feel free to leave this on the fridge if your own feminist roommate could use a little appreciation.
1. You Don't Judge Their Dating Life
Well, there might be a teensy bit of judgment directed at the people they're dating, because that's what friends are for. However, one of the major tenets of feminism is about letting people do what makes them happy. If it's total celibacy, great! If that's a series of one night stands, great (as long as you're also respectful of your roommate while having them)! In the immortal words of Kevin Hart, do you, boo boo.
2. You Can Do Nontraditional Chores
In college, I knew several men who didn't have the first clue how to do laundry despite walking this green earth for two decades, and similarly, many female friends didn't know how to do traditionally masculine activities like mowing the lawn. They're easy enough to figure out, of course, but the fact remains that many people don't bother to learn chores on the other side of the gender divide.
If you're a feminist, however, boring gender norms have no place in your life. If you're anything like me, you know what you need to know as opposed to what you "should" know according to some Rockwellian idea of the division of labor.
3. You're Careful With Your Language
Everyone slips up and uses harmful language sometimes; the patriarchy starts influencing all of us when we're young, and it can take a long time to unlearn these lessons. That being said, most feminists make a point to carefully choose their words, so they don't perpetuate tired old gender norms. Feminists are going to be the last to call their roommates crazy or slutty. It might not sound like much, but you'd be surprised by how much language influences the way people think.
4. You Don't Compete With Other Women
Society fosters competition — for jobs, men, and anything in between — among women, and it can be hard to break that kind of conditioning. But that's where feminism comes in; once you realize how damaging stereotypes like the "catty woman" and "gossip mongering BFFs" can be, you start to chill out and let other women, like female roommates or male roommates' partners, do their thing.
5. You Support Each Other
Feminism has many definitions, but almost everyone agrees that in the end, it's about supporting each other. This is what makes feminist roommates the most appealing: Even if you're not best friends with your roommate, you still stand by their choices... Except maybe the choice to avoid doing the dishes for two weeks.