9 Failsafe Signs Your Significant Other Is A Feminist
Feminism appears to be experiencing a bit of a renaissance these days. More public conversations are being had about feminist intersectionality, trans* inclusivity, and the need to challenge mainstream feminism. Women in Hollywood have been vying for gender equality, consent education programs are taking off, and we have one woman in particular who is a very serious contender for president of the United States. Gender issues and feminism are topics of ongoing conversation as well as the impotence for action, and a lot of people want to learn more and get involved with the movement. For many of us, being surrounded by other feminists, we certainly expect our closest friends and significant others to hold feminist ideals as dear to their hearts as they hold us. So just how do we know if our partners are feminists or not?
This isn't necessarily an easy question to answer. There are multiple approaches to feminism. Different people are at varying stages of embracing feminism, and some people are more vocal than others about their feminist values. However, there are some dead giveaways that will indicate whether or not your partner is down with the girl power, or if they might need to join a bell hooks reading circle and learn a thing or two. None of these items alone make someone a feminist, and of course this is not meant to be an exhaustive list! However, these nine things are good to keep in mind when seeking a potential partner, or to talk about with your current SO.
They Want To Empower You
Feminists want women to feel confident and empowered to do whatever it is they want and need to do to lead a fulfilling life. When you're struggling, does your partner want to help you out? Do they listen to what your needs are and discuss how they can help you to flourish as a woman and in life in general? This is is a good sign you've landed yourself a feminist.
They Validate Your Feelings
There's a long, depressing history of women's feelings being written off as "craziness," "neediness," PMS... whatever can be used to easily dismiss legitimate feelings and needs. If your partner is a feminist, they will listen to your feelings (happy, sad, hungry, horny... the essentials), and take them seriously. Of course they can and should offer perspective and share their own feelings, but they will not seek to dominate and overshadow you with their own opinions.
They Speak Well Of Other Women
Feminists of any gender will tend to seek out and enjoy the company of women. Does your SO have women in their lives who they admire, care for, respect, and engage in meaningful friendships? That's a damn good sign.
They Support LGBTQ Rights
And this doesn't just mean that they get a kick out of shows featuring LGBT characters like Orange Is The New Black, though that's not a bad start. Feminists will fully embrace and support all sexual orientations and genders (and there are more than just two!). Trans inclusivity is vitally important for feminism, so if your partner doesn't quite understand the trans* movement, take them on over to a site like everydayfeminism.com to read up.
They Don't Generalize About Women
If you find that your partner tends to say things like, "you're not like most girls" or "women are crazy," or other such generalizing nonsense, they need to be checked. There are billions of women on the planet, so I don't even know what "most girls" means, and any sort of disparaging comment that supposedly applies to all women is a feminist no-no. Feminists will understand and appreciate the many, MANY nuances of womanhood, and respect your individuality.
They Always Ask For Consent
Your partner will understand that your body belongs only to you, and "yes means yes" will be their sex mantra. Well, they can have other sex mantras, but this one has to be included. They will not guilt you if you're not feeling up for sex or a certain type of sex act, and they will be open and honest about their own sexual needs as well as want to meet yours.
They Embrace Your Vulnerabilities
A feminist partner will not expect you to constantly play the role of the "strong woman." If you sometimes feel vulnerable or insecure or just sad, they will be there for you, and if they feel like they are not always able to meet your needs on this front, they'll put up boundaries in a gentle and compassionate manner.
They Will Give and Expect Respect
Your feminist SO will respect you as a woman and as a person. They will respect your autonomy, your feelings, and your needs. And in turn, they will want and expect that you will respect them. There is a stereotype regarding men who date feminists or feminist men are pushovers, but this certainly should not be the case. Regardless of their gender, a feminist SO will want to be treated well as they treat you well.
THEY BELIEVE IN GENDER EQUALITY
If your partner is a feminist, they will be down to discuss gender equality, and demonstrate that in their everyday actions. They will be willing to defer to your judgement at times, stick up for you, and not think any less of you as a person because you're a woman. They will want to celebrate your womanhood and lift you up! At its core, feminism is about equality of all genders, and dismantling the painful effects of misogyny to create a society that does not value one gender over the others. Your awesome feminist partner will want to embody that notion.