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Dear Amy,

How can we find love with men if we want to be feminists? I am 21, my mother has been divorced twice, and my father has had many affairs. I want some stability in my life. I tried women, but they all f--ked me over. Right now men are whom I love. But I feel like I am compromising myself, so what is to be done??

Thank you!

- Emily

Dear Emily,

Love and men are such complicated issues. I personally don't believe that women are more pure or better people than men. However, I certainly know more women whom I love and respect than I do men, but that has everything to do with my environment and little to do with gender. In fact a boyfriend was the one who inadvertantly introduced me to feminism, or rather made me understand my feminism. He believed in me and thus gave me the strength to believe in myself. Of course, this is in part the result of a patriarchal culture -- i.e. many women, including my mother believed in me, too, but having a man believe in me somehow made it valid.

With all that said, I don't think that my relationship with a boyfriend has ever compromised my feminism. So I don't think that the answer is gender, but the individual. And feminism needs men -- it's not just about improving/changing women's lives, but men and society, too, therefore, we need their equal participation. This is a long-winded way of saying that being with a man certainly doesn't have to compromise your feminism.

I hope that helps.


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