dating, feminism, relationships, sex

Dating as a sex-positive feminist

Feminism. The buzz word that is as ubiquitous on the internet as a cat is in a bodega. I’ve probably come across hundreds- no- thousands of listcles and videos and articles about feminism. So much so that the word has almost lost its meaning in certain circles. But for better or for worse, it gets people talking. It’s controversial enough to reveal the ugly side of people yet daring enough to embrace those like me. It is a community that is loving, resilient, and sex-positive. And the last bit is what I have a hard time with- even though I shouldn’t.

I have stated openly that my brand of feminism is an amalgamation of traditional nuclear family ideals and radical sex-positivity. It’s liberating and safe and exactly what makes me love feminism to its core. I have the freedom to do what I choose regardless of my gender. Yet dating as this type of feminist woman has particular challenges that I continue to struggle with.

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I am not interested in dating men who try to debate the validity of feminism with me. I’ve been in this game for a few too many years to explain to a grown ass man why the sexes should be politically, economically, and socially equal. If I could get “it” my sophomore year of undergrad, then so could anyone. I come from an uber-religious West Indian home where I was taught things like “women shouldn’t whistle” (I whistle) and “women should play hard to get” (the only game I truly enjoy is Taboo). By age fifteen, I was a bible quiz winning, Catholic-school going, “homosexuals are going to hell” zealot. Then one of my best friends told me she was bisexual. And I completely lost it. Everything I knew about the bible came in direct conflict with everything I knew about my friend. And so that revelation- along with years of intense study of other religions (Judaism, Islam, Baha’i, etc) led me to expand my thinking in ways that I was previously afraid of. Now fast forward a decade and then some and here I am- a Christian spiritualist with an affinity for tarot and deep interest in astrology. And a *gulp* sex-positive feminist.

I encourage my friends to embrace the freedom that comes with sex-positivity. I believe that people should engage in sex that is safe, sane, and consensual. I’m just as much of a supporter of a couple who chooses to wait to have sex until marriage as I am of a couple that gets it in right after the first date. But when it comes to MY personal actions- I struggle with operating within the confines of society, my traditional beliefs, and sex-positivity. How can I be conservative and sexual? How do I convey that to men I’m dating? How can I be certain that the men who claim to understand won’t simply relegate me to “hoe” or “frigid” status? Women have yet to escape these harmful “hoe or housewife” binaries and many men are unable or unwilling to catch up.

Yes, I know that I should be able to do or not do whatever the hell I want. I have never been forced or felt pressured to do otherwise. But conversations get murky. Dating is difficult. Men typically throw out the “oh so you’re sex positive?” as to a way to determine just how soon I’m going to put out. In many spaces, feminist = hoe OR lesbian. And so my solution, as of late, has been to simply disengage. I think women are trying so hard to eradicate a system (patriarchy) that we didn’t create in the first place. Can we truly shift the tide?

I’m not sure if we can do it alone but I’m hopeful. After all, I’ve never seen a mouse in a bodega that had a cat in it.

music photos by clayton hauck for claytonhauck.com / everyoneisfamous.com
music photos by clayton hauck for claytonhauck.com / everyoneisfamous.com
break ups, dating, relationships, self awareness

For Chosen Girls: When You Are Enough

Boy I gotta shake it off

Gotta do what’s best for me

Baby and that means I gotta

Shake you off

I have never outright told a friend that they should break up with their boyfriend/girlfriend until very recently. And even in that case, it wasn’t a direct “girl, you better drop that fool”. It was more like “this isn’t healthy for you. It seems like it would be best for you if you ended it.” I try to be balanced. Few things are more aggravating than being a staunch supporter of your friend’s breakup, only to have her mend things a few days later. So I play it cool. Only she knows when enough is enough. And that’s what I wanted to discuss.

Sometimes, the instincts that tell you to blow that popsicle stand are right. And they don’t have to kick in due to mistreatment, abuse, or infidelity. Far too many of us have been conditioned to believe that those are the only reasons to end a relationship. In my experience, I’ve seen more women stay in dead end relationships because they cling to the title of being someone’s girlfriend/fiance/wife. Being “chose” is something too many of us view as an honor. Like damsels in distress- we wait to be selected and ultimately base our sense of value on how often it happens. And because of that, we hold on to dead, toxic, or unsatisfying relationships for way too long.

“He may bore me to tears but at least he treats me right.”

“We’re worlds apart and don’t have any of the same passions but he spoils me.”

“He may be emotionally detached but I can count on him.”

Enough.

Sometimes, the “fight or flight” instinct is activated for a pretty damn good reason. It’s up to you to know whether the situation is worth fighting for or if you should flee from it. Now, I know some of you will take my view with a few grains of salt. I’ve already shared that I tend to end things, sometimes prematurely. But what I haven’t shared is that I spent my early twenties holding on to dead situationships as if it was a sport.Red flags would be in front of me like a full blown color guard routine and I remained blissfully stuck in my ways, with rose-colored glasses super glued to my face.

I know what it’s like to be on the other side.The gut feeling you have that you push to the recesses of your mind when he dismisses your ideas, or ignores your call, or simply annoys you by being around- it matters! Address it all. Women sometimes fight desperately to ignore the red flags because we don’t want to have to start the search all over again. We don’t want to have to ceremoniously take down the “coupley” pictures on social media. We don’t want to explain to our loved ones about what went wrong, yet again.

I’m not here to break up a happy home or make you cast doubt on your relationship. I just happen to know how difficult it can be to end a relationship with someone, who for all intents and purposes, is a good guy. But you’re not looking for someone who’s “good enough”.

 

You are good enough.

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