You know, ladies: We talk about a lot of stuff, here on the Tiger Beatdown. We talk about rape culture! We talk about reproductive rights! We talk about who is The Best Feminist on TV! But there’s one serious issue we haven’t talked about: How are you ever going to get a MAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNN????
No, for real. We want to talk about how you are ever going to get a man, today. It’s a more serious feminist issue than you might think! Or: I pretend it is, and then Amanda Hess of The Sexist plays along with me! For we were inspired — INSPIRED, I say — by Jaclyn Friedman’s excellent interview at The Sexist (hi!) on Fucking While Feminist, and Jill Filipovic’s equally excellent follow-up at, uh, Feministe (HI) on Dating While Feminist, to discuss the pressing matter of the Feminist Dating Litmus Test. And then we talked about hamburgers, and our boyfriends! FACTS: If two straight women convene together for serious and professional reasons of feminist analysis long enough, sooner or later they are just going to end up talking about boyfriends. It’s some hormonal thing. I don’t get it. Women, you know?
So, join us! For the most obnoxiously heterosexual Sexist Beatdown yet!
ILLUSTRATION: I think Amanda is “a Miranda.” Mostly because their “names” “rhyme.” I am expecting to receive an “e-mail” from her any “minute” now about how I am “fired” from “chatting.”
SADY: Why, hello! First, allow me to extend a brief litmus test to you, to determine whether we may chat.
SADY: My litmus test is: Rape Culture! Are you a fan?
AMANDA: Fuck, I know this one. I know this. I’m going to go with “not a fan”?
SADY: A-ha! We may proceed!
AMANDA: Great! Can I also request that we make this a speed Sexist Beatdown, because I reeeaaaally need to go eat this hamburger pretty soon?
SADY: Sure! The thing is, my own Litmus Test (which is not so much a Litmus Test as a Litmus GRE, I must admit) is not that much more subtle.
AMANDA: OK cool. So do you have an actual, like, question you will ask a potential boyfriend?
SADY: Personally, I just talk about feminism all the damn time. There are no questions! There are only answers! Answers provided by ME!
AMANDA: Right. Yes. That tends to be pretty effective in weeding out a whole lot of people.
SADY: I find myself a little unbearable. But I, like, hit on a guy and then transition into talking about Dworkin’s thoughts on the Tolstoy marriage in “Intercourse” (ACTUALLY HAPPENED; TRUE STORY TIME) and if their genitalia withers at the mention of the name of Andrea D, well, that’s when I find out!
AMANDA: And did it? Wither?
SADY: We are dating now! This man and I!
AMANDA: The genitalia doth not wither! I actually haven’t been on the market since I became insufferably outspoken on the issue of ye olde rape culture, so I haven’t been able to have that really fun experience yet.
SADY: Ha, yeah. Can I tell you it will be TERRIFYING? (Not that you are going to break up with your boyfriend. But! I am going to talk about me now, because that is my area of expertise and interest!) It is the worst part of breaking up. You are like, “but I can’t break up with you! I became a FEMINIST BLOGGER! Now I’m NEVER going to get laid EVER AGAIN!”
AMANDA: I have heard, “You talk about rape all the time,” from the significant other, who tolerates it. And he’s not wrong. I feel like there are feminists, and then there are professional feminists, and if you are lucky enough to get within genital-withering distance of a professional feminist, then you’re going to have to listen to a lot of theories about rape. But I imagine it’s kind of like a lot of things? For example, I often have to silently log government acronyms in my brain that I will never understand, and it is something that I generally tolerate. But I feel like it’s made out to be scarier or more annoying when the shop talk that is boring you to tears on your first date is of the Feminist persuasion.
SADY: Right. Because you have to navigate it. It actually has to be a topic of conversation, like: “Look. Look at me. This lady right here? Feminist. We can’t avoid that. Let’s talk about how I won’t genitally mutilate you over a disagreement, as you may have heard The Feminists enjoy doing from time to time.” But when you are not a Professional Feminist, when you are just Regular Feministing It Up, I feel like it is almost harder.
AMANDA: Because it’s not necessarily the first thing that a potential partner knows about you?
SADY: Yeah. And because you can’t be like, “but actually I know my shit on this topic, enough to get paid for knowing it from time to time.” You are just a wacky lady with a cute little hobby of thinking she’s a person and stuff, and people don’t treat it with the same level of respect.
AMANDA: Oh word. God getting laid is so hard.
SADY: It really is! It amazes me that people ever manage it! And (FOR ME!) I didn’t have the same level of confidence, Back in The Day, so I’d try to slip it in there on like the ninety-seventh date and in a very quiet way, whereas now I am like, “oh. Right. I got this.”
AMANDA: The only thing I truly remember addressing in previous relationships is the pro-choice thing, which has direct and immediate application to having sex with a person.
SADY: Ha, right. I was very up-front about birth control. Still am! Still talk about it! Because, that is my own personal body we are discussing! But also I would go to ninety-seven Judd Apatow feature films with you and sort of quietly stew and not tell you what was wrong. You know what I recommend though? Is, like, looking around for dudes who do the feminism.
AMANDA: But where?
SADY: Uhhhhh… the Internet? I think a lot of feminist ladies who blog on the Internet date or have dated or are currently dating feminist or political dudes who blog on the Internet. Seriously like three separate feminist ladies I have talked to have been like, “and we met through work.” Or, “and we met because of The Blogs.” And I totally recommend that! Actually! Because like more or less all your junk is out there already, and that is easier than doing your Missionary Work (ZING PUN BLAM) and trying to convert anybody. So, Step 1: Start feminist blog. Step 2: Meet dude who runs feministish blog. Step 3: Scientifically determine dude is awesome. Step 4: PROFIT??? IN THE ROMANTIC ARENA????
AMANDA: I have this hilarious image of a single lady like walking into a Men Can Stop Rape meeting and being like, “well HELLO feminist allies,” all sexy like. Kind of like That Guy who shows up at a pro-choice rally in a “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like” t-shirt in an attempt to get some ass.
SADY: Oh, dude. If they figured it out, it would be OVER. It would be like the weird guy who walked up to you after Women’s Studies classes to say you’d Opened His Eyes, creepily, times a thousand.
AMANDA: I think I’m still at a stage in my Comfort With Internet where when I am going out with a person I met over the Internet, I’m really self-conscious about it. Like, “Oh, I’m going to get a drink with someone. YES WITH MY INTERNET FRIEND. WITH MY INTERNET FRIEND OKAY.” But I’m realizing that the Internet is becoming more like Real Life now so it’s not so tortured. And why not cultivate sex partners that way, I guess! I just wonder if being a feminist and dating requires more of a premeditated campaign than having some other particular hangups and dating… I mean, I think it can just happen naturally, like anything else. Not that the Internet is unnatural! Oh god! Oh GOD.
SADY: JUDGER. Yeah. I mean, I always want to meet people From The Internet if I work with them, to REMOVE that creepy “it’s like a friendship, but on the Internet” feeling. Then it’s just a friendship. But maybe there should be like a feminist J-Date! Oh, my God, I just became an online dating entrepremillionaire. Just by typing that sentence.
AMANDA: F-Date. F-Fuck.com. There are possibilities.
SADY: YES. GOOD. MARK THE DOMAIN NOW.
AMANDA: It is shockingly unclaimed!
SADY: NO TIME FOR CHATTING! GOT TO ESTABLISH ONLINE FEMINIST-EXPLOITING CAREER!
AMANDA: I only date other professional exploiters of feminism, personally.
SADY: And at last, we discover the true purpose of both feminism and the human desire for companionship: To Make Us Money.
AMANDA: Excellent! So now that we’ve solved the Feminist Dating Dilemma, I guess I can go eat a burger now?
SADY: You eat that burger, my friend. And I myself will be making some pasta and cashing in harder than you’ve ever seen. The next time you see me, I will be eating a burger made from a cow cloned for me personally. Because that’s how feminism works.