Feminist Dating Guide

datingErin Hildebrand, 21New Orleans, content creator for Feminist Dating Guide Lover of leopard print and baking, patiently waiting for Ezra Koenig to retweet me

Until I started studying women’s history and feminism I had no words for the ways men treated me. The best moment of clarity came when I started dating one of my co-workers when I was a sophomore in college. He asked if I wanted to watch 500 Days of Summer and I said yes. Why the hell not, right? I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt, it has a nice soundtrack, the problem arose when I actually asked why he wanted to watch it. “Because I am the guy.” Sirens everywhere. “Does that mean you think I’m Zooey Deschanel?” “Yes.” I should have run. I knew what was happening because it happens a lot. He was fucking Manic Pixie Dream Girl-ing me. You know how it goes, you’re an idea, an ethereal creature who’s shown up in their life to complete them or to be saved by their manly strength and support. This has happened to me more than once, hell more than twice. Is it because I’m short and rock a pixie cut? Does my hair just scream “Unable to commit to societally dictated standards of feminine beauty, please date me so I can grow my hair out?” Is it my very obvious manic depression? What qualities do I possess that make me a target for jackasses who feel like I owe them something simply because they talked to me?

I recently started dating myself, and to be honest, I think I’m the one. I respect the fact that I’m a real person with real problems and I’m not trying to make myself out to be anything I’m not. I don’t have to compromise anything for anyone and I love it. But my time alone has made me think, how do I re-enter the dating/romantic spectrum and keep this love and respect for myself? I created my twitter @FemDatingGuide to constantly remind myself why my feminist ideals that initially drove me to the fabulously single life should always stay important, especially if I decide to start dating again. I hope my content inspires other men and women to see relationships differently and maybe help them employ radical equality in their love lives.

The basis is simple, don’t date someone who isn’t a feminist. Proudly a feminist, even. To me, feminism is seeing how our society hurts men and women and everyone in between and calling it out and demanding change. It is patriarchal standards that convince men that every girl who isn’t directly in line with a media concocted image of “feminine” needs to be saved or made less than human. We’re all breathing and bleeding, so it just makes more sense to love and support each other as much as we possibly can, no strings or expectations attached.

I love my Twitter platform because it forces me to be concise and sometimes I feel like convincing people that they should be feminists is easier in 140 characters or less. If you’re interested, feel free to follow me. If you want to talk to me directly, my much less exciting personal twitter account is @awrenz, I tend to talk about female agency in Early Modern England and you’d be surprised at how relevant it is for modern discussions of feminism.

Your StoriesErin Bagwell