There are many things that men consider so-called turn-offs — snapping gum, cursing like a sailor, picking wedgies, off-color jokes. It’s common knowledge that a racist quip or ungraceful motion might keep a man’s romantic interest at bay, but who knew feminism could have the same effect?
Recently, I’ve discovered that revealing my feminist beliefs to a guy isn’t necessarily the greatest way to get their number. I say I’m a feminist and their hands fly up in condescending mock defense as if I’m threatening them. I find myself having to degrade my beliefs by quickly adding, “Oh no, it’s okay, I’m a cool feminist.”
It’s both sad and hilarious that, in the moment before I throw in the cool, they seem to sincerely believe I’m going to strangle them with my bra — if I’m even wearing one — while I recite “The Feminine Mystique,” which I must have memorized, with the intensity of a thousand suns. If I didn’t feel so self-conscious, the panic in their eyes would be exhilarating.
I don’t believe that all men actively despise feminists. I think they’re simply uncomfortable because they know very little about modern feminism.
Many men that I’ve encountered seem to believe women achieved the rights they desired in the feminist movements of the 1960s and ’70s. This ultimately leads them to conclude that modern feminists are simply overly emotional girls who had a bad breakup and now harbor a deep, throbbing hatred for men and want to find some way to stick it to them.
This is completely misguided and incorrect. My emotional stability and romantic history have nothing to do with my decision to embrace feminism. I don’t hate men. I love men. I love men so much that I want to be their equal.
The reason I became a feminist was because I wanted to preserve and push for gender equality. I’m not looking to degrade the male population and prove women superior. I’m simply lusting after the idea of women and men being on the same level for once.
To the men I may or may not converse with this weekend — I’m not a crazy man-hater. I’m simply an independent woman with a dream of gender equality. So don’t look at me like I’m going to kill you.
Lena Rawley is a contributing columnist. Email her at [email protected]