I am a psychologist, dating coach and a feminist, so of course for me this was a ‘Yes!' from the start…but…surprisingly, many feminists seem to think that dating is too light an agenda to be seriously entertained as part of Feminism.
I wrote my recent book, ‘When Mars Women Date: How Career Women Can Love Themselves Into the Relationship of their Dreams‘ while I was finishing chemotherapy for breast cancer, so I did not market it much. Yet, I did approach a women's studies professor for a review. She liked the chapter I gave her but said that she only reviewed academic feminist work. This seemed to be the case for much of the Feminist community. My book is fairly academic (it's full of research) and I really feel that dating is the next wave of Feminism.
Who you date and marry affects your lifestyle, schedule, children, finances and so much more. Our romantic relationships are no longer how we define ourselves as women, but this choice is an extension of who we are and what we want in our lives. And while it is a valid choice for Feminists to live life without a mate, many women may want a life partner, so it is helpful to discuss how others have successfully created a work-life balance with their mates. This is what my book attempts to do by interviewing career women and their mates about how they've made it work in the areas of dating, sex, parenting, domestic chores etcetera.
Feminism is about women's rights but it no longer needs to be about men versus women. Today, many sites are popping up with male feminists and I know many men who would love to date an outgoing, confident, successful woman. This is an opportunity for both men and women to authentically join together to have more conscious discussions about love, gender roles in relationships and what it means to have whole, loving partnerships for us and future generations.
I was happy when I googled my book title the other day and came across it in a Feminists For Choice Book review (on http://feministsforchoice.com/feminist-book-list.htm ): It said, “Even though we are not big into dating books, ‘When Mars Women Date' is quite different. It questions and takes a critical look at gender stereotypes and dating tips that are often aimed at women. Paulette Kouffman Sherman writes that: “These dating rules proposed by female authors include things like telling women not to talk too much, not to return a man’s calls or ask him out, only to see him twice a week, not to have sex too early, not to go dutch on dates, to ignore your dates and seem disinterested, never to be overweight, to always wear makeup”. (p. 36). The book is refreshing because it tells women that they do not need to “act” in order to find a good partner and that men do like strong, independent and successful women.”
I thank them for being open-minded and supportive.
Again, these are seminal discussions to have with ourselves, our daughters and sons (and of course future and current husbands) if things are going to change. We can't just “overlook” dating because it's been too central a subject to women and now we want women to focus elsewhere. Yes, that's important too, but our life mates and future families are the pink elephant in the room and for the most part, it seems like that's here to stay.
Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist and the award-winning author of ‘When Mars Women Date: How Career Women Can Love Themselves into the Relationship of Their Dreams.' She coaches career women to find a mate who supports their dreams too. See: www.whenmarswomendate.com