I’ve always encouraged fans, readers, friends, etc. to submit any topics or questions they were curious about (pretty much nothing is off limits), but since I’ve never really advertised it anywhere, I’ll use this editor’s note as the platform: If you have anything you’d like me to tackle or elaborate on, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or direct message on Twitter at @Mike_Zacchio.
The reason I was intrigued by this question was because it gives me the opportunity to (somewhat) combine my work profession — as a sports reporter — with my personal writing, which is usually about dating and related topics.
I have three primary beats as a sports reporter, all of which are at the high school level — girls volleyball, girls basketball, and softball. I’ve also held the first two positions for several years, so I’ve built up a decent amount of experience dealing with gender equality and female empowerment.
Feminism is defined as “political, economic, and social equality of the sexes,” and by that definition, I’m a male feminist. I was raised by a strong, independent single mother and my job position has given me the platform to address gender equality.
I’m also — by my own admission — a gentleman. I was raised to hold doors open for people (not just women), and to call my elders, “Mr., Mrs., Ms.,” or, “Sir,” and, “Ma’am,” until instructed by them to do otherwise. I was also raised to pick a woman up on the first date and to pay whatever the tab is for said date.
This could create quite the conundrum. Many are skeptical of chivalry, seeing those acts as nothing more than outdated and demeaning gestures towards women. I don’t see it that way because I know I’m not a disrespectful person and that my intentions are pure. I know that my date is capable of finding her own way to a location, opening her own door, or paying her half of the bill; I don’t see her as a fragile, helpless human being.
Stronger women means stronger people, and the stronger we are as human beings, the more we will continue to grow as a society. We should all welcome that.
I also have no problem with a girl wanting to do any of the aforementioned. Truthfully, I love forward and independent women — someone who isn’t afraid to be the one to ask a guy out, to drive over to his place for a date, to pay her way on a date (or the whole bill), or to make the first move — and I’m turned off by someone who relies on a man for everything, refuses to pay for anything, or never makes an effort in a relationship. I just don’t think that asking to be the one who handles things on the first date is a tall order.
If a woman sees acts of chivalry as disrespectful, then, honestly, she won’t be someone I date for very long. She can be a terrific girl, but it’s obviously something that will be a hinderance along the way and I don’t believe it’s something that either of us can or will want to overcome.
Fortunately I’ve never encountered this problem. I could write a book on the truly bizarre experiences I’ve had while dating, but this was never one of them.
The easy answer is that feminism has absolutely affected dating. I think it’s terrific that the, “a woman’s place is in the kitchen,” belief is being squashed everyday and that women have a louder and more impactful voice today than ever before. I think the recent feminist movement is instilling confidence in young girls who grow up to be strong young women and I think, on the whole, it is creating healthier relationships.
I’ve always been a firm believer that everyone should recognize what their morals are before thinking about committing to someone (even it’s just exclusive dating), and that logic applies here.
You should know what you want and what you are willing to tolerate. You should know what your deal breakers and deal makers are — the things you absolutely cannot stand and the things that are essential to a relationship. Once you are cognizant of what those foundational pillars are to your internal makeup, your chances of succeeding in love improve dramatically because you’ve already figured yourself out.
If you’re dating a feminist, you’ll probably be dealing with someone who is strong-willed and outspoken; if that’s not something you’re willing to deal with, move on. If you are a feminist, you should never feel guilty about your beliefs because you think it will make the guy you’re dating uncomfortable. (Given the principle behind feminism, that statement is kind of irrelevant, but it can’t hurt to reiterate it.)
Feminism has affected dating, and will continue to in the future. Stronger women means stronger people, and the stronger we are as human beings, the more we will continue to grow as a society. We should all welcome that.
There will always be the guy who thinks he’s a “man,” when he’s really just being a misogynist pig from the Mad Men era, just as there will always be the woman who thinks she’s a “feminist,” when she really just hates men. The important thing is to not let them cast a cloud over the rest of the group.
Not all men think they are better than women, and any act of chivalry is probably done out of the kindness of his heart. Not all feminists are going to pick fights with you for no reason; she probably just believes that we are all equal human beings and should be treated as such. (Spoiler alert: She’s right.)
The rise of feminism isn’t going anywhere. Has it ruined dating? No. Has it even ruined chivalry? No. But has it changed the game? Hell yes.