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My ex-boyfriend is a meninist. I didn't know this at the time, and, wisely, he never directly said this to me although sources suggest he was open about it in other social forums.
I probably should have known, and looking back he raised enough red flags to fill a football pitch, but at first, I didn't see it at all. A few months into our relationship he almost convinced me that I didn't want to be labeled a feminist, after all, equality doesn't need to wrapped up in that word, does it? Admitting this is not my proudest moment but I think we can all learn from mistakes and I urge you to learn from mine, rather than make the same ones as me.
Porn has always been a confusing topic for me. While I want women to go out and own their sexualities, to my knowledge the majority of the porn industry doesn't allow for that. There are feminist porn directors, who are paving the way for women to make films with adult content sans exploitation but for the most part, it's hard to know whether or not the porn you are watching involves the coercion and/or exploitation of women. Additionally, porn does not historically paint women in an empowered light and labeling abusive sexual acts as 'consensual BDSM' does nothing to help women or the healthy BDSM community. I'm looking at you Fifty Shades. So, when he brought up the issue of porn I will admit that I was a little stumped, and didn't push back as much as I should have. In a brief conversation with a friend who was going through a similar thing, we both agreed that we had no idea what to do about 'the porn issue' but it was definitely making us uncomfortable. The lesson I have learned from this is that chances are if you're concerned about their consumption of porn, you're probably concerned about their other behaviours and not just the porn itself. Also, it's always okay to question your sexual partner's other sexual habits, especially if it's affecting your life too.
Lesson number two has taken a little more reparation but guys, if someone's cutting you off from your feminist friends, they're probably a meninist. If your friend is a practising feminist, (TERFs and SWERFs not included), they're likely spending a lot of your friendship trying to build you up and if your partner doesn't have time for that, then you shouldn't have time for them. Truthfully, if your partner wants you to ditch any of your friends on their terms then just ditch them instead. Now, isolation is never a good starting point for a relationship.
If conversations between you and your beau involve defending the division of labour circa 1950 then back away quickly. While the development of technology has arguably reduced the number of hours spent on housework there is no excuse for the fact that women were not allowed to be the breadwinners. Literally none at all. Labour division should not solely be based on the presence of ovaries and you can shut up about breastfeeding now. Not every single child was breastfed and there was certainly no need for a woman to stay at home when her children were school age. (Yes, this conversation really did happen...)
The patriarchy might favour men, but women are not its only victims, it's true. Men have routinely been forced to bottle up their emotions and have traditionally been under a lot of pressure to earn money for the family unit. However, if your love interest suggests that women are really to blame for these societal expectations then you can probably throw the engagement ring out. Individual women might put these pressures on men but the patriarchy is a system, reverse sexism is not a thing, and just for the record reverse racism isn't either. Patriarchal values are the driving force behind this and without male supremacy, there is no patriarchy.
So please, heed my warnings and try not to make the same mistake I did.
Still, it's not all bad, they make great article fodder...