“Are You A Raging Feminist?”


Things were going too well. I had a job in the bag AND I’d found someone awesome on OK Cupid.

I find I am very critical on dates. I used to talk a lot about it on Sherbet and Sparkles (the posts of which have disappeared in the jump to selfhosting 🙁 ) but being in online dating makes a person really superficial. You have a whole catalogue of people right there to scroll through, so you kinda become an arse. I have been an arse for a while, but I think, after the past 3 years of dating and all the lessons it’s taught me, I know exactly what I want – someone who is funny, has something to say for themselves, who has experience of world travel (or is, for want of a better term “world smart”) and is nice to look at. I put the visuals last because honestly, if a guy is funny and clever then looks don’t matter as much to me.

So this guy has been to 51 countries. 51! Including North Korea! Plus, it was so much fun chatting to him and I think we blew each other’s Whatsapps up every day.

I was all prepared to buy a car so that I could drive back home and meet up with him as much as possible. I wanted to sign up to a relationship with him.

Until we went for a few beers. It was the 5th or 6th time we’d met up and we were very relaxed with each other. He’d told me to stop wearing heals and his own date-night ensembles had become a little less high-maintenance. It was good.

Working as a carer, he’d worked a shift the previous day that would be illegal normally – 8am – 8pm without any breaks. I told him he really deserves the drink after all that.

“Haha yes, it was a pretty hard shift. I mean, it wasn’t a shift a woman could have done!”


I let it go because sometimes people get nervous, I guess, and say crappy things. But I didn’t laugh.

He noticed that his sexist remark hadn’t impressed me, so went on a prodded a bit more – making a few more sexist jokes, until I snapped and asked him why on earth he was doing all that.

“Wait, you’re not a raging feminist are you?!”

Am I a…what?! No! I’m just a person who thinks that people should just be NICE to people and not say shit things! I mean, you wouldn’t say “ugh, that’s gay”, would you?!

“Well actually, I do say that”

This is EXACTLY the kind of person I was scared of coming across after coming back home. Why must it be that we say shit things like this?!

We discussed feminism for a few hours, we with me explaining what it’s like as a woman dealing with guys saying shit things to me, not feeling as confident as a guy to ask for a promotion and all the rest, and he explained why he doesn’t really think it’s an issue, and anyway it doesn’t affect him and his situation.

We parted cooly.

I started off thinking that I never wanted to see him again, because I wouldn’t want such a narrow-minded person in my life, but then I thought about how happy I’d been before that – someone had liked me, someone who ticked the right boxes. Could I overlook the kinda-sexist-is-a-bit-shit thing just so I can be in a relationship with a person who was alright otherwise?

I’m reading a book called Be Awesome: Modern Life for Modern Ladies by Hadley Freeman right now. It’s one long glorious feminist rant and while she does lose me sometimes, on the whole it’s things I love to read – wear what you want, do what you want, don’t be controlled by media, you are awesome as you are! Tumblr, with pages.

As I was reading today I came to a section listing the “Hadley Test” which should be (according to Hadley) applied to any new relationship (or pre-relationship):

1. Do you actually like this guy as a person or just the concept of a generic boyfriend?

2. Does he make you feel happy in yourself or are you slightly hysterical with insecurity? (And if the latter, do you know that’s a bad thing and life doesn’t have to be that way?) 

3. Do you like him so much that it doesn’t matter to you that you need your friends to translate his messages for you? 

4. When you are asked ‘what do you want’ is your first instinct to think ‘what does he want’?

5. No. What do YOU want?

I want to date someone who doesn’t use “gay” as a negative adjective.

Some of this doesn’t apply to me and my situation. I don’t have to get a bunch of friends over to translate his texts (although his behaviour did confuse at times) but I was thinking of this guy as a concept – a nice guy who could be a nice boyfriend for me, as opposed to me wanting a relationship with a guy who says “that’s gay”.

This has been a rambling post. Do you have relationship rules? What are your deal-breakers?



  1. Main rule: Never settle. I didn’t. I found the right guy. And the only advice I can give is that with the right guy it should be easy and uncomplicated. He should make you laugh your ass off. He should have values that uplift your values. You don’t always have to agree, but he should respect the core of who you are.
    Kathleen (Lehrer Werkstatt) recently posted…Germany vs. the USA: Flag Waving and PatriotismMy Profile

    • Charlotte says:

      That’s some excellent advice! Thank you! PS I posted your flag waving post on my Facebook and got an interesting comment from a friend of mine… If I remember I’ll C&P it into your comments in a bit.

  2. I’m not defending this guy, but maybe he just needs some educating? My boyfriend was pretty clueless about all that stuff until I explained certain things to him. (He doesn’t call things ‘gay’ though. That’s not cool.) Although sounds like you tried to discuss it and he dismissed it as ‘not his problem’. And the ‘gay’ thing is pretty big red flag. Well, his loss!

    Never settle, but also don’t give up on people after one hiccup. Sometimes men just literally know nothing about feminist stuff, because they’ve never had a reason to think about it.

    If he wants to see you again and you say no and explain to him why, maybe he’ll be more open to listening to your side of things?

  3. I hope your quest to find the right man for you goes well. The most important thing is to be true to yourself and your values. Don’t compromise for the sake of a concept, it won’t make you happy.
    Steph recently posted…1 Food, 1 Drink for the rest of my lifeMy Profile

  4. Saying “ugh, men” makes me feel just as sexist as him.. but in a way it seems to be true! I don’t know anybody who calls things “gay” as an insult (although that may be because that’s not so much of a th9ing in Germany?) but SO many men who are otherwise really nice just CANNOT understand why saying things like someone throws like a girl is just NOT COOL.

    And by the way, my mum used to work in a care home (she’s now a nurse) and regularly did 12 hour shifts without a break. Try telling HER a woman couldn’t do such a shift! (Now she’s a nurse she works both her actual job and does bank shifts on the side… the last time I was home she’d just worked a 52 hour week).
    bevchen recently posted…Pearl Jam in ViennaMy Profile

  5. I love those Hadley test questions. Would have saved me from some bad choices. The fact that that guy responded to your question with, “Wait, you’re not a raging feminist are you?” kind of says it all. MAYBE he didn’t realize he was being sexist, but he also didn’t care to have it pointed out, or that he was, or try to approach it with any understanding. Bullet dodged, my friend.
    Marielle recently posted…Katrina from Auburn & IvyMy Profile

    • Charlotte says:

      You really should read the book -you’d love it. I’ve not finished it yet, but I’ll do a write-up when I’m done.

      Also, regarding bullet-dodging, you can’t see me but I’m Matrix dodging right now 😉

  6. My biggest “rules” were that the guy had to like cats, read books, and be able to carry on a conversation. I also never had second dates with a guy if he was constantly on his phone during the first date. I had a guy play words with friends all through dinner…LIKE WHAT?!?! I’m really glad I found my current boyfriend, and though we have opposing viewpoints, we can debate them in a mature way and sometimes he can show me that maybe I was missing some points on my side and sometimes I can prove my side to him.
    Jess recently posted…The Bookworm’s Writing ProcessMy Profile

    • Charlotte says:

      During dinner??!!! He must have issues…
      I’m totally up for different opinions on things – as long as it’s not, like “feminism is not a thing” or something like that. Your boyfriend sounds awesome!

  7. My first boyfriend and I had a whole bunch of issues by the end, but one that sticks out in this case is the way he would use the word ‘rape’ to mean totally defeated or destroyed in the context of video games and competitive tests. “Man, the last question totally raped our team.”
    I’m not sure if I am justified in it upsetting me but I said as much and I asked him not to use it, at least not around me. But it kept coming up. You’d think even if I was totally unjustified, he’d make an effort to not use a word I hated when he was around me.

    • Charlotte says:

      Oh yes! Rape is another one! It’s just such poor taste, using that in normal conversation.

      At the end of the day, it’s about respect. If this guy could see that his use of rape upset you, but still kept using it, then he is not respecting your feelings.

  8. Oh my, sounds like you had a lucky escape. I would have been sorely tempted to answer the, “you’re not a raging feminist are you?” question with a shouted “YES!” as I punched him in the face. I agree with the commenter above, don’t settle. I was horribly, ridiculously picky for years and years of dating and when I met my boyfriend (thanks to OkCupid) he turned out to be utterly perfect for me. And he’s is a raging feminist just like me.
    Janet recently posted…List #29: My favourite booksMy Profile

  9. Ugh, why do people say such stupid things! Seriously do some people not consider what they say before actually saying it aloud? And ew, I hate that he said, “You’re not a raging feminist are you?”

    And I love Janet’s comment above!
    Sara Strauss recently posted…Sponsor Spotlight: Jess of Bookworms in DressesMy Profile

  10. Deal breakers: Racism, homophobia, severe addiction.

    And it really isn’t about looks- I’ve learned that no matter how hot someone is, if I can’t have a good conversation with them, it’s no good. Brains, a sense of humor, and at least some shared interests.

    I’ve also learned that dating someone who’s *too much* like me is bad also. I don’t want to date a female me; there’s gotta be some variance.

    Stay picky, Charlotte- you don’t ever, ever have to settle.
    Steven recently posted…Functionally StupidMy Profile

    • Charlotte says:

      I totally agree. Pretty people aren’t pretty to me unless they are interesting.

      Hehe thank you – I will stay picky!

  11. What an arse! Like seriously – A R S E! That conversation would have turned me off so badly, i wouldn’t even have bothered with the Hadley test. Even though it’s informative and I agree that people, especially women, tend to give themselves up when it comes to new (and old) relationships. It never goes well. My longest relationship only lasted so long because I felt 100% comfortable in who I was and what I was doing. I’ve been on 11 tinder dates (do you know that app?) in the past month and feel that dating is simply shit. Especially the guys, who think they can pull off a whole lot of bs.
    Anyhow, this makes me mad that you wasted 4 -5 dates on this guy but alas, sometimes crushes can be blinding. At least he showed his real face early-on. Be happy for that.
    Laura4NYC recently posted…Fleet Week 2014: The Fun Has Returned!My Profile

    • Charlotte says:

      I used to use Tinder but I read about the people who made it and they are super sexist, so I deleted it. I’m using OK Cupid instead. Yup, dating is the worst. 🙁 I wish you luck!

  12. Oh wow – my first boyfriend was like that and I let it slide because I was young and he was kind of great in other manners, and he liked me. However, since I’ve become an ‘adult’ (or whatever you want to call someone who is 25 and studied feminist literature) I’ve met a lot of men who assert themselves as feminists and it became a criteria to me: I could not date someone who didn’t think we should be equal. And then I found the best guy ever who shares my values! We don’t have much in common (he’s a science nerd and I’m a literature/film nerd) but our values keep us very strong. And you’re definitely right not to settle for someone who says ‘gay’ as an insult…
    Camila recently posted…Country Home: Rustic DecorMy Profile

    • Charlotte says:

      That’s so nice that you found the right guy in the end. I agree – things in common isn’t as important as having the same values.


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