The F-word: is feminism really a dirty word in online dating?

Creating an online dating profile is much like marketing or shameless self-promotion. You have your product (that’s you), the promotion (the ‘About me’ section in your profile) and you provide physical evidence to support your claims (your photos). While there is perhaps a little more art than science involved in creating a ‘good’ online profile, the aim of the game is ultimately to differentiate yourself from comparable products in the market.

It’s a crude analogy likening people to products but as a marketer by trade I’m a firm believer in comparative analysis and so earlier this week I jumped online to peruse the dating profiles of other single women my age – purely in the interests of market research of course.

It’s fair to say that what I discovered ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.

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However, there was one profile that really stood out. So much so that I have not been able to get this woman off my mind, she’s been driving me crazy! But not for the reason you might think:

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Say what now?!

Since when did it become attractive to oppose equality? Is this what women think men want to hear?

Clearly I must have missed that memo.

Best-Funniest-Mean-Girls-QuotesWhat really got under my skin about this flippant comment is that without feminism women wouldn’t have the liberty to describe themselves as ‘independent’. Female independence is, historically speaking, a relatively new concept and has been strongly fought for (and opposed).

While many of us take our independence for granted, let’s not forget that there are still women all over the world living their lives at the mercy of the patriarchy. Women who don’t have the freedom to be independent because they are still treated as second class citizens. Women who don’t get the option to go to school or work, and who certainly don’t get to choose who they enter a relationship with or at what age.

When did feminism become a dirty word?

Women_voter_outreach_1935_English_YiddishWhat is it about the F-word that some women find so offensive?

Is it having the right to vote that you object to? Or is it being entitled to equal pay that bothers you? Or are you uncomfortable knowing that should you ever choose to marry a man that it’s now illegal for him to force you to have sex?

Damn, that feminism sure has a lot to answer for.

*Note: it wasn’t until 1976 that marital rape first became a criminal offence in Australia.

When explained in this way, most women (and men for that matter) would not be opposed to these rights and liberties. Perhaps then it’s not the feminist ideal of equality that people find so problematic but rather the imagery and symbolism that have come to be associated with the feminist ‘brand’. And to be fair to my online dating counterpart, it’s true that feminism has been tarnished at times by vocal radicalists and inaccurate stereotypes.

so What exactly is feminism anyway?

Let’s take a moment to clear to clear up any confusion with a quick reference from our trusty Oxford English Dictionary:

Feminism (noun): the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

What feminism is not…

feminist1As a proud feminist let me assure you that my armpits are hair-free, I do not hate men or attractive women, I wear make up and I have never once felt the urge to take off my bra and burn it in the street. I have even on occasion let a man open a door for me.

Feminism does not mean anti-men or anti-feminine. Rather, it is the radical notion that women are people and should be treated as equals.

Now what could possibly be so offensive about that?


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