Can relationships and feminism coexist?

Being a feminist can sometimes, unfortunately, bring negative stereotypes to the forefront. This regrettable fact can mean ‘I’m a feminist’ isn’t exactly the first thing you want to write in your Tinder bio, but why do we feel that feminism and relationships can’t coexist in perfect (equal) harmony? Chapter W writer Georgia Shipley finds out…

Feminism and relationships: You wouldn’t think that the two would go perfectly hand in hand. But, I can assure you that they most certainly can. Feminism, in the most simplest form is “a doctrine or movement that advocates equal rights for women”. I for one, am very much pro-feminism (liberal feminist, in fact) and have been for a few years now. However, it’s something I only very recently felt comfortable sharing with others, especially when it came to dating and relationships.

I have recently found myself in a relationship with a boy (the horror!), who couldn’t be more kind and caring to me. When we first began dating, obviously, the subject of feminism came up (on the first date in fact – something I’ll come to later). We discussed how much the movement has become part of my life and how it has formed my identity, which I’ve found it so important in having an adult relationship.

BEING ABLE TO DISCUSS IT OPENLY

I told my boyfriend on the first date that I was a feminist. Feminism is something that still has an alarming stigma attached to it, which just doesn’t need to be there. People have this inherently prejudiced belief that all feminists are going to shout at them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, when in reality, it’s only half that time…

My boyfriend recently reached out to me with an abundance of web pages that he’d spent time reading, all on the subject of feminism. He said it was very interesting and wanted to find out more, even asking for book recommendations!

He has also been so, so, so supportive of my new blog. It makes me feel really quite proud of my content, and that hopefully, I’m giving him an insight into feminism, and what it is all about. I believe in order to have a healthy and coherent relationship, teaching your other half about feminism is important and showing a willingness to learn about the subject is something we should all encourage in order for feminism and relationships to work in harmony.

We discuss many different topics openly, and occasionally I will send him articles I’ve read and vice versa. Often, we will agree to disagree and that is perfectly fine. We accept one another’s opinion and understand that we will obviously clash over certain things. That’s a relationship. And to have someone to bounce ideas and views off is exciting.

THE PAST FRUSTRATION OF FEMINISM + DATING

Admittedly, I used to find dating very frustrating, especially when I first started out early last year. Potential suitors would ask me a variety of questions and even challenge me about my beliefs, to the point they were shouting at me almost (cue the quick exit!). Often, I would feel threatened by certain dates, as though they would carry on their lives just ignoring the fact that feminism even existed. However, some dates were much nicer, and often guys would genuinely be interested in the movement, or at least, appear to be…

EDUCATING OTHERS ON FEMINISM

I didn’t want to discuss just educating on the topic of feminism with partners, but also bringing up the subject to family members, and friends too.

I think to some of my immediate family members, feminism is still a very new and confusing subject. Just recently, I was having a conversation with my sister about feminism, when she asked me what feminism was…

Immediately, I asked her the question, that I ask everyone. Do you believe in gender equality? To which she replied firmly “Yes…but, I’m not a hardcore feminist like you.” Again, this highlights the huge stigma attached to feminism as a movement and what it stands for, and more so, what a feminist identifies as. People do believe in equality, they just don’t want to be part of a community that they believe to be extremist or associated with a more radical approach. Please note, we must not forget that there are many types of  feminism under one huge umbrella such as eco feminism, marxist feminism and even cultural feminism. 

The main reason I set up my own blog, A Feminist Killjoy, was to educate others, and to set up a platform where I can share my own thoughts without being attacked. I want to try and promote discussion, and create a community of other feminists and people who are interested or are new to the idea.

Overall, I really believe feminism has come a long way when it comes to educating others. I feel that to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship (whether this is an intimate and romantic one, or even one with family and others) no matter your beliefs, you have to feel comfortable around them and often admit to the fact that people will agree and disagree with you.

That is unconditional love.

Do you believe that feminism and relationships can coexist? Let us know your views on hello@chapterw.co.uk

Piece by Georgia Shipley

Check out Georgia’s blog here!

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