The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Dating While Feminist: Students see how it’s done

As the battle for equal rights for all continues in today’s social and political sphere, sexual orientation also remains to be somewhat of a touchy subject for many Americans.

Feminine or masculine? Asexual or pansexual? Monogamish or abstinent?

The list goes on and on when it comes to describing one’s sex, gender, orientation and relationship status. But according to Harmony Eichsteadt, regardless of whether you’re chromosomes depict XX, XY, XXX, XXY or even XXO, what’s most important is establishing “loving, caring, fun, fabulous and sexy relationships.”

Blogger, writer, poet, activist and teacher, Eichsteadt describes herself as a “feminist scholar and theorist with a focus on sex, politics and creative writing.” The University of Texas Austin graduate utilized her BA in Women’s and Gender Studies as she spoke to an intimate group of SMU students and community members Wednesday night in the Hughes-Trigg forum.

The Austin-native flew in from her hometown prepared for the discussion with interactive activities and a list of relationship tips for feminists, or those who yearn for a better understanding of feminism.

“I teach men how to pick up women with a feminist spin on it,” Eichsteadt said as she explained the concept for her new book—a concept that she admits has traditionally been contradictory to feminist beliefs.

Most people would agree talking about sex, especially in a room full of strangers, is awkward and often avoided. But Eichsteadt made it clear that this experience was a group discussion, and she wanted to hear everyone’s thoughts on the topic.

“I think dyke has a much different connotation, like I personally have grown to hate the word ‘lesbian’,” Eleni Brooks, a member of a Dallas organization called Young Fem Professionals who was invited by a friend who works in SMU’s Women’s Center, said.

“It reminds me of like Girls Gone Wild, like gay for camera. It’s become derogatory to me,” she said. “I’d much prefer dyke which is different than it used to be.”

In another conversation regarding Eichsteadt’s “no mind-reading policy,” she explained the importance of communication.

“We have language, it’s an amazing awesome thing,” Eichsteadt said. “Use your big person words, and let the people around you know that that’s what you’re counting on them for.”

Males also joined the discussion, showing their support for their girlfriends and women in general. Eichsteadt spoke directly to them.

“One of the best things you can do to be an ally to your female partner is to really create an environment in which she gets to have a lot of power over language, self identification, respect and safety in the bedroom,” she said.

In one activity Eichsteadt proposed, each person had to ask their partner to call their hands by whatever name they desired—an activity to build respect and establish equal footing for both people involved.

“It’s different when someone spells it out for you,” Daniel Relix, SMU junior, said. “I really did get a lot out of this that I think I could use in the future.”

Eichsteadt’s list of rules for “dating while feminist” includes: Never give ultimatums, make people feel thanked and acknowledged, listen and no “gaslighting”—a term the blogger uses to describe abusive behavior that makes others think poorly of themselves and doubt their feelings.

So, what’s the bottom line in regards to equality in any relationship according to Eichsteadt?

“Tell your partner what you’re committed to and ask for their partnership in creating that.” 

More to Discover