For example, I was recently asked whether it's sexist for women to expect to be entertained by men -- and it seemed like the asker was hoping for a definite yes. But the real answer... is maybe.
It’s sexist if the woman believes women are incapable of entertaining themselves, and therefore must be entertained by a man. That may be true for her, but it’s definitely not true for all women.
It’s arguably sexist if the woman feels entitled to the man’s entertainment — but it might also mean that she has a crappy or boring personality.
That said -- and here's the part where I have to reevaluate and refine my own viewpoints -- I once wrote a blog post called I Judge Guys Who Ask Me Out For Coffee. In it, I wrote that I only have 52 Saturday afternoons (or Thursday nights, or Monday mornings) per year, so I would prefer to spend my time doing something memorable and exciting: going for a hike in the foothills (which can take anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours); slacklining; skateboarding through the neighborhood; playing ultimate frisbee; or mountain biking.
But the reason I judge isn’t because I expect the man to "entertain" me — it’s because, if we’ve been talking long enough for him to want to ask me out, he should know that we have common interests (skateboarding, basketball, dogs, hiking), and that I am an energetic and excited person. Asking me to coffee is applying a one-size-fits-all mentality to dating, which I don’t like.
Like, did you not listen to anything I just said about all the activities I like? How I just read a book about why sitting is the worst thing ever for you, and I’m trying to cut back by two hours a day? How there are all these things I'm excited about?
Critics of my post have said if I want to do fun activities, I should suggest them. That’s a good point — and I do. If I like someone and he asks me out for coffee/dinner, I say, “Can we play basketball instead?”
“I’m busy that afternoon — but do you want to go to a talk about woolly mammoths later?”
"I normally go rock climbing at that time -- but you're totally welcome to join!"
Or perhaps I initiate a date with them:
“This was a fun -- and I know I already said this, but you should totally come to the rock wall with me this week!”
“I know this is random... but do you want to go to the Obesity Summit with me this weekend? I've read some really crazy stuff about fat cells -- like that they're basically immortal -- and I definitely want to learn more.”
(And, it should go without saying, whoever initiates the date should pay for the date -- unless they tell the person ahead of time how much it's going to cost, and that you want to go Dutch. It's called "basic human communication." Read more >)
I’ll conclude by saying that, although I’m a feminist, I’m not one of those regressive types who thinks that there is only one way to be a feminist. In Dear Feminists: You Don't Have to Ban, Censor, Disinvite and Unfriend People Who MOSTLY Agree With You, Except On One Little Thing, I wrote:
"No one has a right to tell you how your relationships “should” work. No one has a right to tell you what social issues you “should” care about or how you “should” live.
To do so would be the opposite of feminism."
If your expectation for your personal relationships is to be submissive, maternal, traditional, or whatever, that’s your business. As long as you make your expectations clear to your partner and he is on-board with it, the only thing you "should" do is what works for you.
Want to know more? Check out:
- FINALLY! A Definitive Way to Know Who Pays for the Date
- Advice for Asian Men, Black Women, and Other People "No One" Wants to Date
- Why a Terrifying First Date is Better Than a "Nice" One - Misattribution of Physiological Arousal
- Serious Question: What Rigors, Methodologies and Scholarly Qualities Characterize "Feminist Studies"?