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SEXIST BEATDOWN: What We GChat About When We GChat About Love Edition

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.”

AMANDA: Hellooo.

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. There are possibilities.


AMANDA: It is shockingly unclaimed!


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.


  1. vertigo29 wrote:

    This is hilarious!!! I do like the Roe litmus test before going to third base.

    Friday, April 2, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
  2. Robin wrote:

    I always made it a point to say, “I’m a feminist” on first dates. I think it is good practice to say it plainly like that. Looking back, I’m not sure if it was harder because I wasn’t being paid to be a feminist. But I do think it was harder when I was in college, because a lot of people think feminism is just a blip in a young woman’s “post-adolescent idealistic phase.”

    Friday, April 2, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Permalink
  3. Amanda Hess wrote:

    ladies on the subway say I look like Miranda. I have short red hair! It is my destiny!

    Friday, April 2, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Permalink
  4. Sady wrote:

    @Amanda: My mother compared me to Carrie once. “You’re such a Carrie!” Were her words. Was it as traumatic and I-need-to-revisit-my-life-decisions as you’d think it was?


    Friday, April 2, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Permalink
  5. Gayle Force wrote:

    I also have the pro-choice test! If you are not pro-choice, I miiiight make kissy-faces with you if you are lucky, but doubtful.

    It’s weird now, having a blog, which is not my profession or anything, and men have asked what I’m up to when flirting, and I say law school, which I am, but then if they ask what else I do, I blog pretty seriously? Considering the law school thing. And I like my blog! So I finally admitted I do this to a guy, but then said gentleman asked what the blog was about and I froze.

    Because . . . you know? I blog about my rape and often feminism! I don’t really want to share that all the time with a strange man! I was totally suave (no, I was not) and said, “Whatever I find interesting.” Which, turned out ok not to have told him, because any guy who uses the terms “slut” and “whore” to often describe other women is just not really someone I want to have to try to tolerate over coffee.

    Thank you for this, ladies! I laughed.

    Friday, April 2, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Permalink
  6. laura k wrote:

    I don’t think anything in the world has made me compromise my feminism more than men and heterosexual dating. I’m not saying that as something to be emulated, or like it’s ok or anything, I’m just saying it because it’s true and it’s a bad thing, and I know I’m not the only person who experiences this in the realm of dating.

    I’m glad you brought it up as a general topic, though, because it’s prompted me to do some Big Thinking about this and perhaps that will actually prompt me to do some real live writing about it. Perhaps.

    Friday, April 2, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Permalink
  7. Stephanie wrote:

    I seriously snorted at the men can stop rape pick-up and dude after women’s studies class.

    As, always thank you. I’m going to go hug my totally feminist husband right now.

    Friday, April 2, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Permalink
  8. Nikki wrote:

    It might really be harder as an Amateur Feminist. I feel like I’m never taken seriously, like it’s just a student phase, like it’s something I’m supposed to say because of my uterus, but what it comes down to is dudes either padding me on the head and going all ‘That’s right, that’s my little feminist!’ or just looking me in the eye and saying ‘Your only right is the sink’ (sounds better in Dutch, as we call the sink ‘toright’).

    And also, as a feminist who does not blog that much about feminist things; I don’t think I’ve met any feminist guy yet.

    Friday, April 2, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Permalink
  9. Miss Smog wrote:

    Holy god. SO good.

    Friday, April 2, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink
  10. Citizen Taqueau wrote:

    Sady, as long as you’re not a Scary Sadshaw! Which I don’t think you probably are. She probably only called you a Carrie because you live in New York and write personal essays for a living. And I dunno, maybe you like shoez? I DUNNO!

    Friday, April 2, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Permalink
  11. Sady wrote:

    @Citizen: I DON’T EVEN KNOW OR CARE VERY MUCH ABOUT SHOES. I really cannot underestimate the importance or terribleness of this comparison in my life.

    Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Permalink
  12. SA wrote:

    I would totally sign up for a feminist dating site.

    It is tragic how doubtful I am about the (few) men that would sign up, though.

    Friday, April 2, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Permalink
  13. sarah wrote:

    i know a long time married couple who met because the dude put out a personal ad in a newspaper(before the internet!) that read “bicycle seeking fish”

    Friday, April 2, 2010 at 9:59 pm | Permalink
  14. Erin wrote:

    I have to say that before I got all sexy with my current boyfriend of six years, he thought I was a lesbian b/c he really really really thought feminist = lesbian.
    And, for whatever reason, I still slept with him….O_o

    Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Permalink
  15. vertigo29 wrote:

    “bicycle seeking fish”… ok, that is totally sweet and made me smile. 🙂 Guys take note.

    Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Permalink
  16. Michelle wrote:

    This was hilarious and amazing. I don’t know how often Matt thought about feminism or other issues of privilege before we started dating, but he’s been very open to learning about them, which is pretty awesome.

    Just discovered this blog the other day and it is fabulous, by the way!

    Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Permalink
  17. Gnatalby wrote:

    It is tragic how doubtful I am about the (few) men that would sign up, though.

    I feel like 98% of the guys who signed up would be bitter angry Nice Guys who would use their lack of success on the site as more wood for the fire of their indignation at not getting the pussy they so richly deserve for pretending to think women are autonomous people.

    The last person I dated seriously was not a feminist and was, in fact, an all around jerk in ways of sexism and also racism. It’s part of why I haven’t dated anyone since, and it’s been years.

    I might feel differently in the future but right now I sort of feel like compromising on the feminism just leaves you feel compromised as a person, and I don’t want to deal with the hassle, and if that means being alone then I’m fine with that, I have friends.

    Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Permalink
  18. Gnatalby wrote:

    PS I hope you revisit this topic in more depth when burgers aren’t looming deliciously.

    Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Permalink
  19. I like “bicycle seeking fish,” it’s clever, but at a certain point, it starts to sound sarcastic. It is after all, strawfeminists far more than real feminists who demand that men apologize for their terrible maleness at every turn.

    I mean, that’s not an apology for being male, but I can’t imagine a guy who keeps saying, about not-specifically-feminist things, “oh, I’m sorry, I’m a man, I fail at life” being less annoying than a woman saying the same thing, and if he’s doing it because he claims to think that’s what feminism is about I’d think it would be worse.

    Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Permalink
  20. Fred wrote:

    Working the word ‘feminism’ into a conversation on the first date is a litmus test, and a good one: just to see if they are clueful enough not to grimace or whine.

    But namedropping Dworkin on the first date? That’s got to be the educated ladies’ neg.

    Sunday, April 4, 2010 at 5:42 am | Permalink
  21. JMS wrote:

    The douchedumplings showing their privilege in the comments at The Sexist and Feministe have made me cling to my Largely Mythological Husband more fiercely than ever, because ugh.

    I have also never dated a non-feminist man, but I did once date a fairly non-feminist woman (she didn’t believe in “Ms.” for instance, and identified herself as “Miss” to which I was all WTF?)

    Sunday, April 4, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink
  22. Citizen Taqueau wrote:

    @Sady — Argh! And now it’s occurring to me just how odd it must be to be compared to a SATC lady by one’s own mom.

    Sunday, April 4, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Permalink
  23. Queen_George wrote:

    Thanks, ladies. I laughed out loud at least twice, and I totally needed that.

    @gnatalby: I completely understand where you’re coming from. I too most recently dated a guy who turned out to be the furthest from feminist I could possibly get, and it left me very cautious about who else I let in.

    Also, I live in a smallish metropolitan area – it isn’t a little town, but it’s not New York or L.A. either. Sometimes I worry that my locale limits the possibilities of my finding the truly feminist man. *sigh*

    Sunday, April 4, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Permalink
  24. alanna wrote:

    I love this! Also, I have definitely (well, not provably, as I didn’t ask for an itemized list of reasons after the fact, but I’ll stick with “definitely”) scared at least one guy away with talk of feminism.

    And “entrepremillionaire” is my new favorite word.

    Monday, April 5, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Permalink
  25. Lily wrote:

    why preach to the choir? is it not a noble thing to go, yea unto the very threshold of Hooters, and convert the unconsciously misogynistic masses?
    Actually no, that would be a pain in the ass.

    Monday, April 5, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Permalink
  26. Oh, so true, all of this. I love my husband, he is an uber-ally, the kind of guy who in the late ’70s was all “women where I work have a glass ceiling! How can I, as a man-person with the ability to influence things, change this?” And he did! And still does! But! At the same time, he gets annoyed at me always pointing out sexism in ads and TV programs, and wishes I would give it a rest, and then I feel sad, and like he doesn’t have to acknowledge this thing that hurts me all the time.

    And I don’t have the words to tell him this, because I don’t want to hurt him, and it just sort of sits like a lump of cold oatmeal in my stomach. But then, he comes home and tells me that he’s re-writing company policy to ensure that women who do not have degrees but do have work experience, can be promoted, whereas before they were barred from advancing, even if they knew how to run the company better than the CEO, and I love him.

    It’s hard, this heterosexual thing.

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Permalink
  27. Oversharing Girl wrote:

    And, as if Dating/Fucking While Feminist, weren’t complicated enough, try Dating/Fucking While Feminist AND Kinky. Right?

    Although there is one up side to the kink part of it, because lots of kinky people are all about comparing notes and negotiating about what you might or might not want to do in bed. And it is sometimes possible to make The Feminism clear during that phase of things, while still coming up with plans for sexytimes!

    For example (this is where the Oversharing comes in) I was recently doing the Nookie Negotiations with a dude who listed “rape fantasy/being taken” among his interests, and I was all “Okay. So rape fantasy? Not my thing, because that is all about having my wishes ignored, which is NOT fun, but? Being taken? When the guy knows I like him and want him already?” And then I went into an elaboration of that scenario, which even Oversharing Girl does not feel like oversharing, and ended with “Oh HELL yes.”

    We wound up having a Very Good Time.

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Permalink
  28. maggie wrote:

    This is why I like the internets; I have no idea how to meet guys in real life, and frankly it sounds horrible because you don’t know anything about them!

    But on the internets dating, you get to see that they’ve got some checkpoints that suggest they may not be horrible. Plus, I have “humourless feminist” listed in mine. So they see that right up front too!

    Friday, April 9, 2010 at 7:47 am | Permalink
  29. Anodyne Lite wrote:

    Oversharing girl- I hear ya.

    Thing is, when you deconstruct the language used to articulate what’s commonly called a “rape fantasy”, you realize that the fantasy has nothing at all to do with rape. (There’s been real scientistical research on this that I won’t bore anyone with- just be comforted to know it’s there.)

    Unless you’ve already experienced rape, there’s no possible way you could know what it feels like, in sort of the same way that you couldn’t possibly know how horrific and traumatic war is until you’ve lived it. By definition, rape is something you can’t fantasize about, because if you actually consented to and orchestrated a given sex act, no matter how frenzied or rough you prefer your sex, it wouldn’t be rape.

    What most people are really saying when they say they have “rape fantasies” is that they have fantasies of being consensually dominated in bed (or in the alley, in the broomcloset, wherever). I suspect for some people, this involves a rougher dimension than it does for others, and some like to feel that it’s all happening very spontaneously and impulsively.

    It seems to me that the point of this kind of fantasy is more about wanting a passionate sexual experience that feels spontaneous and impulsive and ellicit than anything else. Maybe it’s about giving in to feelings that you know are irrational but that are still beyond your control. So what’s actually being eroticized in these kinds of fantasies are the intense, overwhelming and sometimes confusing desires the person has for another person whom they know they can’t have or shouldn’t want.

    Women have these fantasies more than men, I imagine, because 1) the typical (and mechanically more convenient) role of women sexually is ravishee rather than ravisher, so female sexuality is already coded this way, and 2) because women are more burdened by inner conflict when it comes to their own sexual desires, due to the efforts of patriarchal societies to control female sexuality. For women, esp, fantasizing about being physically overtaken by someone has a lot to do with the fact that women aren’t supposed to want to have sex– so allowing the man to be the aggressor in the fantasy absolves the women from the guilt that society heaps on her for being aroused and wanting a good fuck in the first place.

    It can all get very complicated, though. Much more complicated than I’ve allowed for here. But as someone who’s been immersed in kink, I get pretty heated when the usual fellow-feminist suspects browbeat women who enjoy kink and/or being dominated in bed.

    Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink
  30. Anodyne Lite wrote:

    And yes, the comment above was written with a bias toward heterosexual kink… I realize the dynamic can be quite different for kinky non-het.

    Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink
  31. Delalyra wrote:

    “And, as if Dating/Fucking While Feminist, weren’t complicated enough, try Dating/Fucking While Feminist AND Kinky. Right?”

    OMG for srs. It gets even more complicated when, like me, you have a *very specific kink* (hypnosis, I’m a sub) that requires any potential sex partners put effort in. I haven’t yet figured out if it’s easier to look for feminist dates and see how up they are for kink, or to try and search for kinky people who are feminists. Le sigh.

    Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

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