Trying to predict a romantic partner’s true intentions is one of the biggest mysteries one encounters when dating. But one big question many women must ask themselves in the year 2022 is this: are they an ally?
Finding some kind of compatibility when it comes to political or social beliefs is an important requirement within the dating world. It’s been made more complicated, though, by the smoke screens created by “fake feminists” – who may boast a cringey “smash the patriarchy” t-shirt while mansplaining political correctness on a first date.
The further I’ve embarked through my twenties, my attitude towards this particular issue has changed. In previous years, if I felt someone I was dating didn’t quite understand a nuanced problem for women or the distinct privilege that someone holds by, you know, just existing as a cis male member of society, I would simply voice my initial thoughts and then just end the conversation with an eye roll if I didn’t like their response.
Women do not have to blindly support other women.
One experience that stands out in my memory was a bewildering conversation with a guy I dated a few years ago. He talked a lot about his boss, who happened to be a woman. He had a lot of respect for her – her ranking at his company, the way she conducted business and the fact she was incredibly successful in spite of, you know, having ovaries. It seemed to him that because a woman could hold a top-rank position at a company, gender equality had been pretty much achieved.
Cue the eye roll. It takes a stunning amount of privilege to not see the need to look at the complexities of gender inequality. That one successful woman does not equal complete change, and that unless this individual was working to put their power forward and insisting it trickled down throughout the rest of the company, the “girl boss” sentiment amounted to next to nothing.
So, at that moment, I barely argued back. Even though I have a degree in political science and a pretty confrontational personality – a lethal combination, some might say. And why not? I didn’t deem interrogating his privilege worth it. I knew I was right – I knew the complexities at play. Who cares if he didn’t?
The allegations against Chris Noth show that #MeToo is far from over.
But half a decade later, the world has changed, and I’ve changed. The shock, fear and heartbreak surrounding the murders of women such as Ashling Murphy, Sarah Everard (Sabina Nessa’s murder occurred months later, not far from where Everard disappeared) brought the dangers that we face just by leaving the house into even sharper relief.
This problem is as complex as it is tragic. Just because someone you’re dating claims to be an ally – in the aftermath of quite a social shift in conversations around male violence against women – doesn’t mean he’s being genuine by any means. It may be that they use their “wokeness” as a means to appear attractive to you, and for no other reason.