A low-down on feminism & relationships
Being a feminist and having a healthy relationship with your partner should go hand in hand. Feminists may worry that letting their guard down goes against their beliefs, but I’m here to tell you that you can have your cake and eat it too.
I’d like to throw a disclaimer in this article straight away, and state that I am in no way, shape or form a relationship expert. Over the years I’ve had a handful of relationships that didn’t last any longer than 2 weeks, and have had only one relationship during college that I consider somewhat consistent. I have also actively been a feminist for a couple of years. Now moving into a new relationship, I have already started to feel the tension between feminism and being with my partner. So, here are a few of my thoughts on the matter.
1. Chivalry is OK
An act that was common amongst men in past was chivalry towards women. You can find this quality in men of the 21st century, but there is a fine line between being chivalrous and patronising. Holding a door open for you is acceptable, offering to pay the bill is acceptable but being patted on the head and told ‘well done’ isn’t. Chivalry is just a way of men showing their appreciation and kindness towards their preferred gender, and it shouldn’t be taken as a misogynistic attack.
2. You can be submissive in the bedroom
This most definitely does not apply to all women, but how you act in the bedroom is completely different to everyday life. I known women who are strong in person and are dominant in bed but I also know women who are strong in person but submissive in bed and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. Personally I feel like it’s a refreshing change from everyday life, to have the roles reversed for your own satisfaction. Again, just because you prefer the man to take control during your bedroom antics, doesn’t mean you’re going against your beliefs. It is your right to treat and fulfil your sexual desires the way in which you deem fit, and unsurprisingly feminism supports this. Everyone is each to their own, so don’t let your kinks get in the way of your pleasure.
3. Compromise is key
Healthy relationships rely on certain attributes: communication, trust, honesty and compromise. Both people have to make sacrifices and compromise when it comes down to tough decision making, after all. Sometimes in relationships we have to do things that we don’t really want to, (like attend a family member’s birthday) but this is part and parcel of life. Just because you’re agreeing to do these things, you have to remember the situation will soon be switched and they will have to endure a boring family event down the line. It’s only when this becomes one-sided that there will be problems occurring.
4. Pet names aren’t always derogatory
I love pet names. Whether it’s ‘darling’, ‘princess’ or ‘honey’ I’m a sucker for a good old pet name. I’m going to put this out there, having a pet name isn’t anything like cat-calling. Pet names in my experience, are nicknames for affectionate use only, whereas cat-calling is used to sexualise woman and demean them. I know some people can be picky on what pet names they do and don’t like, but because you like being called ‘sweetie’ doesn’t mean you’re threatening your feminist self. I definitely do not like being called ‘darling’ by some random guy I don’t know, but if it’s my boyfriend then I don’t bat an eyelash over it.
At the end of the day, every feminist is different in what they agree and disagree on in terms of relationships. I feel though some women do over-think and panic on the boundaries that have been set in the past. But as a guideline, if you feel comfortable in the situation and agree 100% with your partner, then there’s nothing to worry about.