Being the editor-in-chief of a men’s lifestyle website that puts sexy women on a pedestal is quite the challenge, especially if you’re in a romantic relationship with an independent, smart, and empowered woman.
I know for a fact that my girlfriend sees the models we feature and thinks that she looks nothing like them. That’s not to say that my girlfriend isn’t beautiful and sexy. In fact, she is all that and more, and I like her petite, poised, and opinionated self just the way she is. She is the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan Philippines, and before that, ran the print version of teen magazine Candy. She’s also the author of eight books and counting, and her whole career has been about lifting Filipinas up and out of their insecurities. I would call her social views and philosophies modern, a brand of feminism fueled by open-mindedness and inclusivity.
In this day and age, a certain responsibility comes with writing for a medium that caters to men. We don’t want to foster future assholes, misogynists, and dick-wads. And despite the notorious stigma that FHM has gained throughout the years, believe it or not, we’ve always been about the women. And having a woman in my life who calls me out when the things I say, actions I do, and thoughts I have are not in check is the perfect barometer for staying woke AF.
Here are five important lessons I’ve learned from my feminist girlfriend (who has never outright claimed to be a feminist):
1) She can wear whatever the fuck she wants!
The length of a woman’s skirt is not the measure for her sexual mores. Showing skin is not an invite for leering, catcalling, or harassment. Despite every cringe-worthy homily you’ve heard that says sleeveless tops are an affront to religion and cause temptation within men, it’s never a woman’s fault if you’re not evolved enough to stop thinking with your dick. If there is a God, I don’t think he’d have a problem with spaghetti straps. He’d have more of a problem with rapists and rape-y comments.
2) Gay jokes are NOT COOL.
Because they just aren’t. Telling your friend to "man up" in the weakest of efforts to proclaim your own misguided masculinity is so medieval. The same goes for using outdated, demeaning terms like “faggot” or “pussy” or “supot.” Real men are comfortable in their own skin and don’t need to rip on the LGBT community or those in touch with their feminine side just to feel better about themselves.
3) She can have a career and be a mom at the same time.
Why should she choose? She doesn’t need to be one or the other. She can be both. And in the event that she does prefer motherhood over a career or vise-versa, there shouldn’t be a problem with that either. Women have never been one-dimensional creatures anyway. Let’s just all be happy that they’re around to keep the planet from crumbling apart. Let’s face it, if we left it all up to men, chaos would ensue and mankind would cease to exist.
4) Fat shaming is for idiots.
Body love, the real kind, the kind that’s inclusive of the curvy, the thick, the toned, the thin, the big breasted, the long legged, the short, the shapely, and everything in between is all about respect. One’s worth is not quantified by the number of crunches one can do or spinning classes attended. If you’re so worried about keeping fit, watch your own weight, not that of others.
5) A woman’s sexuality is hers to do with what she pleases.
When a woman takes charge of her sexuality, it’s easy to call her a slut. Or a whore. Or a tease. Or a person with no sense of moral fiber, even when we know nothing about that person in the first place. Do you want to know what people who do that are called? Hypocrites. What she does with her body—how much skin she shows, how much sex she has—is her choice alone.
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