Blogging as Therapy (Cont): The Feminist Friend Zone

July 16th, 2010 § 4 comments

Liz,

I can relate to your story all too well. If I had a dollar for the number of conversations about “Feminism” that I’ve had with men in the past couple years, I would be one wealthy sista…ya dig? They are conversations that need to happen and many times when both parties are “trying to understand, [them] listening to you and [you] to them” it can be very fruitful and a lot can be learned.

BUT, my friend, how does all of this translate when it comes to dating these men?

I thought that I had put this topic to rest (at least for a little while) and found peace and contentment in seeking my “wholeness.” As you may recall, in my earlier “Blogging as Therapy” post, I emphasized that “wholeness” is the ultimate goal—but let’s be real. Getting there is a journey all on its own that is much easier said than done. So as I continue to tread along this path, how do I deal with all the obstacles (to achieving said wholeness) along the way?

What reopened this pandora’s box (of sorts) was a blog post that I read on The Crunk Feminist Collective entitled, “Dating While Feminist: Anatomy of an Intellectual Affair,” which I found via my boyfriend in my head, Marc Lamont Hill’s, twitter page. This post is completely different from the “F*cking While Feminist” interview with Jaclyn Friedman that I posted on several weeks ago. Although I found Friedman’s interview entertaining, I must admit that I didn’t really identify with it. While reading this post on the CFC, however, I found myself rolling my eyes, laughing out loud, and giving the author, Crunktastic, a fierce, “Okkkkkaaaaay….” *snaps*

In the post, Crunktastic shares a snapshot of her own experiences with dating and in effect, highlights what many single, successful, educated women who identify as feminist go through on dates with single, successful, educated, brothas who identify as the same. She writes:

You and a brother meet at an academic event. Perhaps you’re both guest panelists on some discussion about Black life, culture, or politics. You hear what he has to say and think to yourself depending on your needs at the time, “The brother is intelligent, articulate, and cute to boot. I wanna get to know him better.” And if you’re honest, you probably also think, “Wow. He could get it.” The brother sees you and thinks (apparently, and I’m most certainly speculating), “Wow. She’s attractive and really, really smart. Probably couldn’t pull her though. I don’t have enough degrees [money, etc, etc]. There are basically three types of dude reactions in this scenario: dude A will ignore you entirely. Dude B the educated, but intimidated jerk will attempt to diminish you to make himself feel better. Dude C has home-training and considers himself progressive. He respects strong, intelligent women. His mama probably is one. So he befriends you. For you, it’s the start of a beautiful friendship with tantalizing possibilities. For him, it is and will only ever be friendship, because he perceives that you are more intelligent and accomplished than he. And that makes you friendable, but not datable, and certainly not f*ckable. Why the two are mutually exclusive is absolutely beyond me.”

Gaaah. So deep. Friend Zoned Feminist = no fun. I must say that I have seen this time and time again–guys who are interested in working out all of their personal ish with you (the stuff that they don’t really feel comfortable talking about with their boys, i.e. emotional baggage, insecurities, and vulnerabilities) and fostering a deep emotional connection without the committment or much reciprocity. As one commentor put it, “Doing girlfriend duty, without the girlfriend benefits.” Hmph.

So, what is a feminist to do? And more importantly, what is the real conversation that we need to be having here? Successful, motivated women aren’t the problem. It goes much much deeper than that…

Ugh. All I have is questions and very few answers. But, at the end of the day, I can honestly agree with Crunktastic–“Dating While Feminist*” is DEEP, to say the least.

*Sort of

§ 4 Responses to Blogging as Therapy (Cont): The Feminist Friend Zone"

  • things are always going to be a drift, when we have to depend on self or others who put you second….But good news is that God loves us and His son Jesus the Christ died for our sins so we would not have to pay the price. Check out the book of John in the Bible to find out how to have personal relationship with God through Jesus. All must chose and none can afford to make wrong decision. Life is short and eternity is forever.

  • Liz says:

    I was unsure of what to make of your comment. You made no explicit connection to the post. But clearly, something from our posts inspired you to share. Perhaps our discussion of wholeness. My own faith in Christ assures me of who I am and who God sees me as – and because of that, I am able to examine the brokenness I am a part of and that is around me. Feminist thought is rich with analysis and questions about society. I do not believe it answers all the questions, but it does explore the problem. Learning more about myself and others (and how we are a drift), I believe, is a gift from God.

  • Amber says:

    I completely agree, Liz. Wholeness can only come through liberation from the brokenness that we are all a part of, contribute to, and experience (to varying degrees) everyday. Luke 4:17-21

    “If the gospel has nothing to say to people as they confront the daily realities of life, it is a lifeless message.”

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