Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, I posted an article online detailing my thoughts about the difficulties of being romantic as a feminist as well as with a feminist. Of everything that I have written thus far, this piece has received the largest reaction from the internet. By “largest,” of course, I mean that I’ve received a few emails from people I don’t know. I’m not going to pretend to be on the same playing field as other viral pieces.
I thought that what I wrote had faded from the collective consciousness in the past two years. Apparently, this is not the case. There are new comments on it from only three months ago. Surprising, considering that in the world of the internet it’s pretty much a fossil by now. A lot has happened in real world time, and even more has gone down in cyberspace. Yet my corner of the internet has been dusted off for examination?
First off, I would like to begin by thanking everyone who contributed to the comment section on the previous article. Some of you brought up some great points (i.e. “you have more than two options”). Some of you related to the piece. Some of you hated everything I wrote. Some of you had pretty questionable reading comprehension skills.
For the latter group, let me clarify a few things. Referring to “men” as “the male species?” No, I wasn’t serious. Part of me wants to apologize if that hurt your feelings, but another part of me also finds it funny and ironic that you got so upset by it. I’m reminded of the saying, “the thing a woman fears most is a man killing her, while the thing a man fears most is a woman laughing at him.” Louis C.K. said something similar to that a while back, for all my fellow stand up fans.
Which brings me to the second thing I would like to clarify: not everything you read on the internet is true.
That date I wrote about? It never happened. That dialogue was loosely based on a few conversations I’ve had with male friends. Frankly, I’m not quite sure why everyone assumed that this was a real-life event I experienced. It was just an example of the types of situations women get into when we go on dates. As for everyone who got super concerned specifically about the discussion regarding male vs. female comics, I want you to know that I don’t spend a lot of time getting upset over this particular thing. Yes, I have a lot of opinions about how the patriarchal structure currently prevents a lot of funny women from excelling because the comedy world prefers men, but once again, this was just an example.
Anyway, these new thoughts aren’t a response to the comments. I’ve considered writing a follow-up for a while now because for the past two years I’ve actually been dating someone! Well, “dating” sounds a bit too casual. We now live together and have a dog.
It’s ironic, really, because I wrote the original piece when my current boyfriend and I had started seeing each other. No, the article was not meant to be a jab at him. Nothing in that article was remotely about him. That piece was just something I needed to write at that point in my life. My boyfriend has been an amazing partner from the very beginning.
My boyfriend is a feminist.
That sounds like something from the It Gets Better campaign. Don’t worry, ladies! I found a feminist man, and one day you can too! But seriously, woke men are out there, and they are the some of best people to fall in love with.
My feminist partner and I fight. We get angry and argue. Sometimes we yell at each other. But we respect each other’s feelings, even when we believe that the other person is in the wrong. Never, not once, has he discredited my emotions or point of view based on the time of the month. Never have I expected him to back down in a fight, never has he wanted to back down in a fight, just to give me my way. We are equals, and we are equally stubborn. As such, we demand the best from each other even at the worst moments.
My feminist partner and I analyze the world together. It was his idea to take me to see Mad Max: Fury Road, which is now my favorite movie. Afterward, we couldn’t stop talking about all of the exciting, epic, genre-defying feminist moments that came one after the other. He supports the possibility of a romantic relationship developing (further) between Poe and Finn in the next Star Wars episode. He lectured his younger brother on why it was inappropriate to call out to an attractive woman passing by on the streets of New York City.
My feminist partner is secure in his masculinity. He has several close male friendships that could put a good amount of my platonic relationships to shame. He talks to them and to me about his thoughts and feelings with wonderful self-awareness and courage. He expects us to give him the same in return. While fully heterosexual, he has declared that, if it ever came down to it, Donald Glover and Idris Elba would definitely be his ideal male partners.
No, our relationship isn’t perfect. But it shouldn’t be, and we know that. We aren’t missing halves to a whole, but two individual people with flaws that found each other during crazy times in our lives and decided to take a chance on each other.
My feminist partner is everything I had hoped to find in a man one day, but never expected to. I don’t have to convince him that feminism is for both of us – he knows that, and he too wants to work toward a better world for all people.
Because my partner is a feminist, I know that he has my back no matter what happens, in the ways that matter above all else.