How To Spot a Potential Feminist Boyfriend (and Then Run)

January 5, 2015 | Karin

“But how do you spot a male feminist if he’s not at an abortion rights rally wearing a ‘This Is What a Feminist Looks Like’ T-shirt?”

This isn’t the opening line to joke. It’s the central question in a Washington Post column, How to find a Feminist Boyfriend, by Lisa Bonos. What’s the secret?

Is he a feminist if he proclaims, on a first date, that he could see himself taking his wife’s last name? (Maybe his own name is pretty generic.) If he insists on doing the dishes after you’ve cooked dinner together but proceeds to whip the dish towel at your ass, is that playful or objectifying? (Both.) Is he sexist if he cancels an Uber ride because a female driver is on her way to pick the two of you up? (Definitely.)

The column includes some specific advice. For example, don’t be afraid to make the first move.

I’ve long believed that dating like a feminist — which often involves making the first move — will weed out many of the guys with more rigid ideas about gender and relationships. It might also help identify the feminist man who doesn’t want to come on too strong or who feels it isn’t necessarily his responsibility to signal interest.

Downey, for example, asked her Marxist feminist out on their first two dates. And I interviewed two 24-year-old men — they consider themselves feminists — whose girlfriends either asked them out first or sent the first message on Tinder. “I’m not good at reaching out,” one of them told me.

I wonder what other things he isn’t good at—calling her, telling her she is smart and beautiful, and and eventually committing?

The author acknowledges a downside to dating feminist men:

“If you’re a woman who wants a man to grab you and kiss you because that’s what sweeps you off your feet, realistically, a feminist man is not going to do that,” says Rita Goodroe, a 38-year-old life coach in Northern Virginia who works mostly with singles. “He’s going to ask for permission.”

For an author who appears to eschew gender roles and seems to want women to find empowered relationships, she sure insults those women who look for more traditional relationships. Is it that bad if a woman finds a man who pays for the first date, is sensitive enough to tell when the moment is right to kiss her, and then provides for his family?

She makes these men out to sound like monsters. I’d say finding this man would lead to the woman having a more empowered life compared to the guy she has to ask out and with whom she has to foot the bill. Feminists, you can have your “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” t-shirt-wearing men. I’ll take mine in a suit.


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