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People are writing ‘feminist’ in their dating profiles to perfect their matches, and you should be too

PHOTOGRAPHY BY HAYLEY PEASE

WORDS BY EMMA ANVARI

Feminist is in my bio to stay.

At one point or another, you’ve likely heard the common saying that you should never discuss politics on the first date. Whether you agree or disagree with that sentiment is a different matter, but what about talking politics before the first date? Or before you’ve even matched?

The detailed nature of online dating profiles nowadays means you can discover a lot about a person before you ever actually swipe right. From obscure interests to political stance and even their views on recreational drug use, the changing nature of the dating landscape probably makes statements like “Never discuss politics on the first date” seem kind of archaic.

Not only are young people in the dating pool disclosing their political affiliations, but some are choosing to include one surprisingly divisive word: “feminist”.

As someone who identifies as a feminist and feels like equality for everyone is a bit of a no-brainer, I was honestly shocked when I took a deep-dive on Facebook one evening to discover that apparently, the word ‘feminism’ is really divisive.

Let me explain.

It all started after a young male Instagram follower of mine replied to one of my stories. Amongst other things, he said, “Despite sounding like a feminist, you’ve made some good points”. I was outraged! Sorry, sir, I didn’t realise feminism and being able to construct insightful and intelligent thoughts were mutually exclusive. My bad.

In my absolute shock, I turned to a podcast Facebook community page with the screenshot and was intrigued when some of the womxn said they included feminist in their dating profiles. Their reasoning was that it ‘weeded’ out the people they wouldn’t be compatible with.

While some recounted really positive experiences, others explained the blatant sexism they received as a result of the inclusion. These more negative encounters convinced some to resort to removing the word from their profile altogether. This is what some of them had to say about their experiences:

“I had [feminist] in my tinder bio for maybe three minutes? I got SO many messages that mentioned kitchens and making sandwiches i had to delete it i was just so triggered”

“Within genuinely five minutes of me putting feminist in my tinder bio a match messaged me ‘I think you owe me a meal’”

“I’ve had a guy say ‘you seem really reasonable, normally my conversations with feminists don’t go this long’”

“I have in my hinge bio question thing that you must be ‘funny, self aware and feminist’ in order for me to engage with you. You wouldn’t believe (actually you would) the amount of guys who feel the seemingly uncontrollable urge to respond to it with: ‘depends on your definition of feminism’ or something along those pretentious lines. It’s serving as a great filter for idiots.”

I don’t know about you, but I think this idea of weeding through the incompatible potential matches makes a lot of sense. Why would you want to go through the whole ‘getting to know you’ stage, emotionally invest and even spend time and money on developing something only to discover your views and values are entirely incompatible?

Naturally, not every inclusion of ‘feminist’ in the bio will result in these more negative encounters. After seeing these comments on my Facebook post, I decided to include ‘feminist’ in my own Tinder and Hinge bios. To my (pleasant) surprise, not one person I matched with commented on it.

Further to that, the guy I went on a date with after Melbourne’s lockdown actually discussed religion, politics and even some gender politics with me before we had even met. He was raised in a conservative, religious household in the country, whereas I don’t identify as religious at all.

Not only did it solidify for me that our values aligned (he was no longer religious) and we had similar outlooks on life, it meant we could ascertain whether we were a good fit for each other in general.

Discussing this type of thing has not been a priority for me in the past. In fact, I didn’t discuss feminism with my ex until a good month into the relationship (turned out he was raised to be quite the feminist). Delaying this conversation was not for any reason other than it just did not occur to me to bring it up. But after my recent experiences, I will be bringing up more controversial topics right at the beginning.

That’s not to say being on opposite ends of the political spectrum would be a deal-breaker – not at all. But I know I personally do not want to be with a conservative man who expects a dutiful housewife, someone who wants me to adopt their last name without discussion, or doesn’t respect that certain things to do with my body ought to be my choice.

I want someone open-minded to form a partnership with, where no decision is made without discussion or consideration. You may think the things I have listed are out-dated and conservative, but these old-fashioned ideas are things I have witnessed growing up. If I can save myself from developing a relationship with someone only to find out later on that our values are incompatible, I will.

On the other less extreme side of the coin, these types of politically-charged conversations can be incredible learning experiences. How often do you sit down and have a civilised conversation with someone with an opposing view to yours to just listen to what they have to say? To ask questions and to understand their point of view and their reasons for that stance? 

I’m a firm believer that you become a much more well-rounded, understanding and generally better person if you engage in these types of conversations. Understanding your fellow humans – be it friend, foe or Tinder date – is so important and vital to being a better person yourself.

I’ve now had feminist in my dating profiles for just over a month, and I am happy to report that I’ve only received a positive reception.

I am yet to decide whether what was described in those Facebook comments or my personal experience is the standard, but either way, if something political is important to you or is a deal-breaker, you should think about including it in your bio. Being on the same page is important.

If not in your bio, perhaps consider bringing it up nice and early. It’ll do more good than harm, and if it does do ‘harm’, then I say good riddance! Feminist is in my bio to stay.

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