Ask Ada: How Can I Tell If He’s Not A True Feminist?

Welcome to “Ask Ada,” a weekly series in which we answer all those burning questions you’d rather not share aloud. Buckle up for some brutally honest advice! This week, we’ve got some dating advice for all you feminist types out there!

I’m done dating assholes, but I have a hard time finding feminist men. Every time that I think I’m dating a “woke” man, he turns around and disappoints me. How do I spot fake feminists? 



Hi L,

Back when I was dating online (a phrase every advice columnist utters at some point), I actually wrote, “Message me if you are feminist” directly in my profile. What I got were friend requests from a bunch of dudes who didn’t want to fork up the site fee, messages from a few dudes who were looking for “aesthetically pleasing” women, a couple of direct insults… and a note from someone who became my partner.

I mean, you can look for feminist men, L, but it might speed things along if you advertised yourself as feminist, too. The minor assholes will remove themselves from the equation, and you’ll find the obvious assholes, along with a handful of truly cool people.

Of course, I could be wrong. You may be the most outspoken feminist in the Land of Feminists and still struggle to find a perfect match. To this end, here are a few totally unscientific red flags for you to watch out for:

  1. Guys who use the word “Ladies” to address a group of women.
  2. Men who rely on racism, homophobia, transphobia, orableism. If he’s not intersectional, then he can GTFO.
  3. Guys who body-shame, especially if they try to dress it up as “concern for your health.” Keep your eyes on your own plate, dude.
  4. Guys who say, “Asexuals just haven’t met the right person.” That basically means, “I only accept sexual boundaries when they’re convenient for me.”
  5. Men who claim, “You’re not like other girls.” He definitely means, “My ex-girlfriend had a spine and stood up for herself. You won’t do this to me, too, right?”
  6. Men who use “basic bitch” as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with your likes and dislikes, and he can come up with a new insult or STFU.
  7. Guys who claim to be all for equal rights, but who are rude  to wait staff. 

Finally, and this is a general rule of thumb, be very careful if he ignores the word “no” or pushes your boundaries early on, sexually or otherwise. Early on in dating, when someone says, “I’m not sure about this,” the only acceptable response is, “Cool.” Not, “But you must!”, or, “Come on, just a sip”, or, “I thought you were braver than that!” You should also watch out for“Wait, you’re ordering that?”

Feminists don’t push your personal boundaries. Assholes do

Manipulative people are exceedingly good at negging. When an asshole “woke-washes” his dating profile, he draws in the marks… er, I mean, dates. The neg helps these jerks identify which women can stand up for themselves and which ones will easily submit to them. Tearing down a confident, self-assured person with a big friend group is too much work. Tearing down someone who is a bit of a people-pleaser and doesn’t like to rock the boat too much is far preferable.

Unfortunately, this means that you’ll have to enter the dating scene with a strong sense of self. You’ll need to know exactly what you’re worth and refuse to settle for less than you deserve. 

The real feminists will find you themselves.


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Feature Image by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash


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