The F Word

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Before you start to wonder what I could possibly write about the word fuck, when I talk about the F word, I'm talking about feminism. And what a funny little thing it is. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great in terms of equal pay, equal status and equal rights, but one of my good guy friends recently said something to me which stuck. It must have been somewhat significant because a lot of the other stuff he says I tend to ignore because he's a typical lad. With a quiff, in case you were wondering. Or handsome and bearded as he likes to describe himself. Whenever the word feminism is mentioned, he repeats the same point each and every time. That girls want the best of both worlds. They want to be independent and self-reliant, but when it comes to dating, they expect the guy to pay. Total emphasis on the word expect. He's adamant that girls advocate feminism and equality, but purely when it suits them. 

Credit where credit is due, I agree with him. Not whole-heatedly, but to a certain extent. I'm an independent 20-year-old. I've had a job since I was 16. I work every summer between academic years at University and I have more than paid my way independently and within relationships. It's not that girls can't afford to pay or don't want to pay, but if a guy asks to take you on a date, it isn't entirely wrong to kind of expect him to pay. You wouldn't ask someone what they want for their birthday and then make them pay for their present. Would you? In all honesty, I think girls like to cling on to that little bit of hope that romance isn't completely dead. Paying, or at least offering to pay demonstrates good manners. With the modern hookup culture so prominent in today's society, the idea of actually being taken on a date instead of being invited to a guy's room to watch a film, is actually quite nice. I mean, I'm a self-confessed Netflix addict but sometimes, a large pepperoni and an episode of Breaking Bad doesn't quite cut it.

There's a difference between feminism and chivalry, so let's get that straight. We have the independence and financial stability to support ourselves, but being taken on a date shows a little bit more seriousness. Unfortunately, most young guys are renowned for being heartless players, always on the lookout for their next hook-up so please, forgive us for actually wanting to see whether someone will make the effort to pay. Let's call it an initial indication to separate the ones who just want to get their leg over and the ones who want to get to know us. And if you're only paying to get your leg over - you're stupid. I don't think a guy getting his wallet out is an indication that the girl can't afford to pay. I think it's an indication of wanting to make a good impression. And if and when a relationship is established, it's a completely different story. Most girls will be happy to  split the bill, take it in turns or even pay for the bill. Not because she's a feminist, but because she's as committed and as selfless as her respective other half.

There's no disputing the fact that feminism is highly controversial. And my friend's right - some girls harp on about feminism and still expect guys to pay for absolutely everything. But I think you can have certain feminist views and still hope for chivalry too. Ultimately, it's about being realistic. Yes, a guy should hold the door open if he walks in first. But so should a girl. I think that women can be as successful, if not more successful than guys, but I also think that each gender is better suited to different job roles. If somebody told me to get a job as a builder, I'd probably argue that I couldn't as I don't have the strength and stamina to complete the job to the best of my ability. So how can I argue that I'm a feminist and everything should be absolutely equal? I can't. I know it's more about the notion of having the opportunity, but that's a little unrealistic. I totally couldn't deal with the hard hat ruining my hair which I paid for with my hard-earned cash. Contradictory and controversial, isn't it?

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