Dating While Feminist: an extreme sport


Imbawula is a monthly storytelling initiative which brings together four storytellers from different walks of life to share their experiences – whether inspiring, humorous, touching or thought provoking – with a view to exposing a shared human experience. In this story, Ms. Pontsho Pilane navigates the all too common pitfalls of dating while feminist.

There is a special kind of stress that comes with dating cis-hetero men while feminist. I’m certain that every feminist has a story to tell about the challenges of ‘dating while feminist’. When you spend so much time trying to prove your humanity to the world, the last thing you want is to go home to the person you love and take on the same struggle.

You want someone who understands the daily challenge of navigating the world as a (black) woman in a world that hates women. Someone who is in tune with himself and the world around him. A man who is not intimidated by a woman’s autonomy; whose love is tainted by entitlement. You don’t want someone who sees feminist women as a challenge, something they can tame. Essentially, you want a and you don’t come across those everyday, so the struggle continues.

Earlier this year, Ms. Pontsho Pilane – a journalist and activist – told a compelling story about this challenge at Imbawula – an initiative designed to nurture storytelling while encouraging literacy. She talks about going on a horrible date with a guy who thought she was “too hot to be a feminist” and falling in love with an insensitive guy who turned out to have a devastating secret.

Ms. Pilane opened her story with “Hashtag dating while feminist should be categorised as an extreme sport,” and judging from the crowd’s reaction, they echoed her sentiments.

Watch other Imbawula stories on our Youtube channel.

Image by Phethani Netshivhera

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