Playing for both sides of feminism

I am a feminist. Even today, I have vivid recollections of my mother explaining to my five-year-old self what a feminist was.I realized instantly that I believed in the principles of equality, empowerment and voice that my mother described.Unfortunately, in a world where women are showcased as objects of carnal desire, it can be difficult for me to maintain my core values and still feel like a part of the culture I live in.I have to admit that, even as a staunch feminist, I sometimes play the other side.I sometimes do things I hate. I act in ways I sometimes abhor and at other times take a sick pleasure in doing them.For example, while on a day off from school and work, I recently spent three hours engaging in what I can only call “overindulgent beauty-making activities,” which consisted of a dye job, haircut, mani-pedi, pore reduction and flawless makeup. Sick, I know. Could I have been doing something better with my time? Absolutely.I could have been donating my time, working extra hard on a project, updating my resume or investing online.It gets worse. My un-feminist behavior extends farther than dolling myself up.I do things in relationships with men and with women which are downright unlike what a feminist would do.I expect and allow men to pay for our dates, though I am always prepared to pay. I don’t see it as my place, frankly. I am being taken on a date. If I wanted to take him on a date, I would have asked him. But that is the thing — I don’t.I claim to believe in equal rights, but I am unwilling to accept my share of the burden. It’s silly that I even call myself a feminist. However, I will be the first person to stand up and admonish those who act in a disempowering manner toward women. At the same time, in some ways, I am disempowering myself. Maybe this is why author Ariel Levy wrote in “Female Chauvinist Pigs” that sometimes the biggest contributors to a sexist paradigm can be women themselves.I am not offering a solution, because I’m not sure I have one.  I am merely coming out and saying it: I am a feminist who plays both sides.E-mail me anytime: [email protected] for sex advice and perspective.