Opinion: Feminism has destroyed college dating for women

Feminist ideas make navigating the dating world almost impossible

Since the first-wave of feminism in 1848, the word feminist has taken many forms to back civil rights movements and political agendas. 

Being a college feminist has destroyed the chances of ever looking at dating the same way again. 

Each new feminist puts on their "violet tinted glasses" and their view of the world is forever changed. 

Women become aware of the socially constructed ideas that play into dating and the hook-up culture in college and it scares them into believing all men have the same agenda.

In an opinion column for HeadStuff, Aisling Walsh wrote, “Once you put on the ‘violet tinted glasses’ (or had your ‘feminist awakening’) there is no going back. You will not be able to enjoy popular culture, politics, sex, motherhood, relationships or just about any other human, social or cyber interaction without dissecting the gender inequalities or other oppressive intersections such as homophobia, transphobia or racism." 

While awakening these ideas in people across the globe is important, for women in college who identify as feminists, these ideas have made dating that much harder. 

Lisa Anderson, an associate professor of women and gender studies in the School of Social Transformation at ASU, said, “(Feminism) makes (college women) a little more aware of the things in the past they might've just passed off as ‘Oh that’s just guys’ and ‘Oh boys will be boys.’ And they become a little bit more critical of things and think well boys just don’t have to just be boys. Boys can be better than that and just be able hold them to a higher standard.”  

In an article written for Cosmopolitan by Charlotte Lieberman, she explores the feminist idea that author Hanna Rosin highlights in her book The End of Men: And the Rise of Women. 

“Rosin argues that hookup culture marks the empowerment of career-minded college women … But Rosin doesn't acknowledge that there is still sexism lurking beneath her assertion that women are now able to "keep pace with the boys," wrote Lieberman. "Is the fact that some college women are now approaching casual sex with a stereotypically masculine attitude a sign of progress? No." 

Across the board, many perceive a feminist as independent, career driven, accepting and free; among a long list of traits. Among these expectations, feminists are urged to be sexually free. 

In college, the hookup culture has mirrored Rosin's argument and many women feel the need to conform. However, the shift toward equality should not require women to feel empowered by sexual freedom, but to urge men to not take sex as an act but as an expression of emotion. 

The feminist idea of the Madonna-Whore Complex explains how men seek a partner who is degraded rather than seeking the respectable partner. This can be the topic many young feminists need to spark their disinterest in dating.

In the constant battle for college women to define their feminism as wanting chivalry or owning their sexual energy, the MWC can leave some feminists torn between two ultimatums, whether to gain respect by not seceding to hook up culture or by being emotionally uninvolved in sexual interactions. 

Many college feminists choose neither. They stay out of the dating pool because navigating between dating and being a 'true feminist' is a terrifying journey to embark on. 

Feminism, as empowering as it may be, has had a negative impact on the current college dating climate.

Reach the columnist at psaso@asu.edu and follow @paytonsaso on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the authors’ and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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