Does Feminism Mean That You Shouldn’t Want A Man?

I thought this Modern Love piece from the New York Times was a really well-written, reflective piece about how one can be a feminist and still want to have a man.

Says the author, Alexandra Franklin, a sophomore at the University of Alabama, “I don’t mind being a part of a whole when Dan is the other part. I don’t feel like less of a feminist, or less of a person, or less in any way. I feel more complete, but not necessarily because of him; it is just because I have found a friend who makes me laugh and also happens to love me even when I’m not very lovable.”

This is great wisdom about what’s important in relationships. In laying herself bare, the author also briefly touches on how difficult it must have been to date her. Her fierce independence. Her ambivalence. Her intensity. Her work ethic. Her preference to join the Peace Corps and not have kids for a long, long time. Her bulimia and anorexia.

And that’s the thing that often gets swept under the rug by smart, driven, successful, women… There’s no crime in being any of those things, but there is very much a tradeoff for men who choose them. Most men choose to opt out because while the relationship is invariably interesting and challenging, it’s also tiring and difficult. The author seems to own this and is appreciative of her very patient boyfriend. (By the way, this is not a gender-based observation about smart, driven, successful people – there’s a similarly HUGE tradeoff for dating the Bill Clintons, Newt Gingriches, Salman Rushdies and Tiger Woodses of the world).

The question I have is whether you own your flaws or you expect men to not be bothered by them at all?

Personally, once I owned my flaws, I found the humility necessary to be a good husband. It’s a great improvement on thinking how lucky anyone would be to marry me, dontcha think?

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Kate

    What a lovely story from the New York Times! Thank you EMK, for sharing that. Her relationship with her boyfriend (I think they are in a relationship now!) reminded me of all the implausible but romantic things that happen in youth, sort of like a modern day The Notebook.
    Is it really possible to have a man be so patient and selfless, especially when he loves you but doesn’t know if you will ever come around? It also seems like there was something about him that she loved, but she had to reconcile with all her other priorities and values and dreams first. That is a complex psychological premise. I guess the beauty in the story is that it all worked so well.
    I understand that we can’t change other people, we can only work on ourselves. But is it possible to find someone willing to have that same patience to stay with us through the journey between first introduction and relationship, especially when dating at stages of life older than a sophomore?
    Can I have that patience when I don’t even know where things are going with me and anyone else? I don’t know.

  2. 2
    AQ

    I wonder if it is actually easier to be with her because she is not demanding to be called or feel connected and she is not wondering where the relationship is going? Just sayin….

  3. 3
    Laine

    @ Kate-yes you can, its called living in the present. This is what AQ is alluding to in #2.

  4. 4
    Trenia

    It’s a lot easier to see and work through all of those issues and admit to all of your faults, when you have the evidence that someone is present and loving you as you are and in spite of yourself. I wonder if the author would’ve felt the same way if she was getting rejected by guys when she revealed her true feminist self?
    I’m sure this happens with some men too, but what I see more often than not with a lot of strong, independent women is if they don’t fit what a man thinks she ought to be, he just moves on without trying to understand her or accept her as is, men don’t build a case for a woman and why he should get to know her, (either he’s interested or he’s not) even though she admittedly is not making him a priority in her life. He will likely just move on to a woman he finds to be “less challenging and complicated”.
    This is the challenge for today’s modern woman, wait for a man who will accept what she may consider to be essential components of who she is (this could be a really LONG wait) or perhaps placate and back-peddle with a man so that you don’t end up alone. 

  5. 5
    Dan

    @Trenia (4) -
    “what I see more often than not with a lot of strong, independent women is if they don’t fit what a man thinks she ought to be, he just moves on without trying to understand her or accept her as is, men don’t build a case for a woman and why he should get to know her, (either he’s interested or he’s not) even though she admittedly is not making him a priority in her life. He will likely just move on to a woman he finds to be ‘less challenging and complicated’.”
    Your presumption has not been the case as I and two of my close single male friends have experienced it. We have made the effort. I know in my junior, sophomore, and senior years, I spent just as long as the guy in the story. And I also did that in my 20′s and early 30′s. It didn’t work. It turned out to be a big waste of precious little dating time I had in that window of age opportunity.
    When she’s just not into you, sticking around isn’t helpful, even though I naively thought it would. 
    In the story, I see that she gave signals that she liked him, and she likely reciprocated in some of his efforts. That’s not the case in the vast majority of situations.
     

  6. 6
    Germaine Raquel Beuviere

    I’m like she is and I have no problems owning up to all my flaws =) Once I also owned up to them it put my dating experience in a whole new and positive light. I’m enjoying the journey and also working to help others find what they’re searching for with my own AMBW group.

  7. 7
    HappFace

    @Kate She interprets “Is it really possible to have a man be so patient and selfless, especially when he loves you but doesn’t know if you will ever come around?” how a man interprets this is that he is crazy about her even with her signs of “i am not that interested in you” he still went on and on until she fell in love with him.

    Men who are patient/crazy enough about her to stick around is getting thinner and thinner.

    To me the women sounded impossible to deal with not just for men but for women too. 

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