Feminist writer Lauren Duca, who pens political opinion pieces for Teen Vogue (between the publication’s other hard hitting articles like, “Bella Hadid Walked Gigi Down the Runway After She LOST Her Shoe at a Fashion Show”) has advice for all you single men, women, and non-gender associated individuals out there: never date anyone who doesn’t consider themselves a feminist.
At first glance the advice seems particularly woke. After all, who wouldn’t want to date one of today’s outspoken feminist leaders — or better yet, one of those gender studies majors we’ve all been hearing so much about? It would be so fun you guys. You could listen to abortion rights rants for hours, be routinely accused of misogyny or heteronormativity for merely using the wrong pronoun, and still be forced to pay the bill at the end of the evening (because, as it became clear just weeks ago, splitting the bill is actually also problematic).
But there is, of course, a problem (isn’t there always?). A whopping 62% of women don’t identify as feminist, not because they don’t believe women are equal to men, or because they’ve been cowed by the Patriarchy, or hoodwinked into submission by Mike Pence, but because feminists have some serious branding issues. What used to be a movement of strong women seeking recognition by society is now mostly a club of people who whine to each other on social media.
It’s gotten so bad even celebrities the world loves to hate, like Kim Kardashian, won’t risk ruining their own brands by being tied to whatever passes for feminism in the pages of Teen Vogue.
That’s not even it, though; the tweet’s instructions are at odds with the values of third-wave feminism, which indicate that women are free to choose to be, do, and date whatever and whomever they like. If you’re a feminist, is it really feminist to mandate that others only date feminists? Probably not.
The weirdest part of the edict may actually be the responses — not the weird ones, of course, but the feminist ones. In one case, a responder even suggested that women might try to pass themselves off as “feminists” even though they really don’t strictly ascribe to the platform of the Democratic Party (or an even more progressive slate of ideals). It was up to the date-or to “check the receipts” on the date-ee’s feminist bona fides.
How unfeminist is it, really, to rely on men to double check whether a woman is a feminist? Nothing says “empowered” like having to pass a checkpoint with the male feminist Patriarchy.