I don’t mind if the man pays on the first date… Does that mean I’m not a feminist?

Having recently downloaded Tinder for the first time, I was thrust into the muddy waters of creeps, “nice guys”, cheesy pick-up lines and illicit photographs. With the occasional rare gem who actually wanted a deeper conversation than an aubergine emoji or ‘DTF’ message sent late at night; a date eventually ensues. Whether it goes well or disastrously, the awkward moment with the bill is guaranteed to emerge. But why should it be awkward? I’m not obligated to do anything… am I? Some say if you let them pay it’ll give them the wrong idea or give them unfair expectations, but if they think that paying for food and a drink is the equivalent to saying yes, I’d say they’re something of a red flag anyway. Should a man always have to pay? No! It’s a two-way street, but if I’m ok with men paying for me, it definitely doesn’t mean I’m not a feminist!

Our lady and saviour Emma Watson summed up feminism in her UN speech as “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes”. Contrary to popular belief, feminism isn’t all about chaining ourselves to buildings and burning bras (though I don’t blame anyone for roasting an uncomfortable underwire or two). It’s about equal opportunities and expectations, so if he offers to pay and wants to treat me, that’s great! The same goes if I’m feeling generous and the bank account hasn’t been too battered by a Timepiece night out. It’s my choice to charm him with a good-looking dessert or cocktail. And that’s what it’s all about: having the choice to do what makes you comfortable and happiest while spending time with your next potential beau or belle.

I believe it’s all tied up with the idea of chivalry, alongside holding doors open and offering seats on public transport. It’s less a matter of gender and more that of manners and human decency. I don’t believe, nor would I expect, a man to have to vacate his seat for a woman just because of her gender. I also wouldn’t expect him to hold doors and pave the way forward, though I have to confess I’ve had one or two bruises and brushes with death thanks to the flying, heavy doors in the pubs of Exeter. I believe if someone is struggling to stand, whether a pregnant mother, an elderly individual or differently abled person, we have a duty to offer up our seats regardless of gender. It would be just as much my duty to stand, in these scenarios, as any man. Plus, any excuse to fit in those 10,000 steps… 

None of this is to say that we can’t dream of that white knight on the horse from time to time. You’re allowed to feel differently! It is a common misconception that you have to be totally independent with a disdain for all the male species to be a feminist, and while that’s the outlook of a small minority of people, it is just not the case. While the Mr. Darcy’s and Anthony Bridgerton’s of the world are sadly, for the most part, fictional, it’s not an indictment against your values as a woman to want that picture-perfect, chocolate box lifestyle (minus the sideburns). You’re allowed to want to be swept off your feet, but be sure when you find your Darcy to spoil him right back. He may need praise, flowers and compliments just as much as you do! 

So, don’t let the gaslighters get you down and be sure to stick to your guns! Do what feels right to you and never surrender your comfort and happiness for the sake of the ideal date or person. Communication is key, so be sure to talk! Tell each other what you want and expect. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised by their response. 

Gwen Page-Gibby

Featured Image Source: Pexels

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s