The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Samantha Brett: Feminism And Other “Deal Breakers”

Posted by Clem Bastow on September 3, 2008

Anyone who’s ever gone on a date, even if they don’t use the phrase, will be familiar with the concept of ‘deal breakers’ – you know, the little “bup bow” details that, superficially or not, turn you off a romantic prospect. For some people these are things like not wanting kids or voting for the Natural Law Party, for me it’s jandals and Oedipal complexes, for others it might be eating with one’s mouth open or a large collection of Ringo Starr solo discs. In other words, it’s just another of the myriad foibles that make us human and that make the mating game such a nightmare joy.

So, with so many possibilities out there for blog fodder, what do you think Samantha Brett (who, incidentally, seemed to have no problem crossing the picket line during the recent Fairfax journalists’ strike by filling in for striking columnists in the SMH) chose to highlight as possible deal breakers in a blog on the topic? Tattoos, nice men (because, you know, we’re all looking for rough, bad boy types), men who take ‘too much’ pride in their appearance (or to use her parlance, “When your boyfriend looks like a Dolly Magazine cover model and has better pecks than you do” – presumably she means “pecs” and not hens), and, naturally, feminism:

One frustrated reader who we’ll call S, reckons because she’s a feminist, she’s simply not datable.

“All my life I’ve been proud to call myself a feminist, even though it has sometimes caused me a few problems,” she writes. “I’ve always insisted that my boyfriends and lovers respect my feminist values, otherwise I was happy to give them their marching orders. But now I’m getting older and I find myself still single. My last boyfriend actually dumped me because he said that dating and feminism just don’t mix! Was he right? Is it time for me to forget my politics and focus on romance? Or can I have both? The clock is ticking – please help!”

If you’d like to place bets on whether “S” is a) an actual feminist, b) actually a reader and/or c) actually Samantha Brett, I have good odds on the answers being a) no, b) as if, and, c) duh.

My issue with this piece is not that Brett has suggested feminist values might be deal breakers to some potential partners, because that’s a conceivable, if not pleasant, situation (as The Louvin Brothers once said, Satan is real!). It’s that it’s such easy boot-in fodder for her post-fem audience and tone to suggest that feminism is a big turn-off to men – and that the example given, whether or not “S” is real, is such a naff, Ally MacBeal-esque depiction of a feminist (“Ooh, men can bow down and worship me, hear me roar, etc etc, except oops I forgot to have kids, quick, to the little white wedding chapel!”) and implies that it’s impossible to experience love and romance from within a relationship based on mutual respect and equality.


8 Responses to “Samantha Brett: Feminism And Other “Deal Breakers””

  1. hannahcolman said

    $100 bucks on (c).

    I don’t even know how to articulately express my immense dislike for this woman.

  2. thomasr said

    Yeah, men hate feminists.

    We’d rather have “surrender wives” who are virgins pre marriage.

    What a crock. Gimme a feisty feminist any day.


  3. taliatalia said

    Yes, because it’s so general isn’t it – he left me because of my “feminist values”. Where are the specifics here? Was she making him read The Female Eunuch whilst bound to a chair and when he quotes incorrectly he is justly whipped?

    Being a feminist doesn’t mean treating men like shit or generally being a trouble maker. Perhaps “s” was pointing out a few examples of sexism in advertising AND WAS DUMPED. DEALBREAKER!!!!!!

    Ergh. I need more sleep.

  4. ruby said

    i’m with Tom – simperers or doormats can piss off.

    it’s a ‘deal-breaker’ for me if a gal is NOT engaged with issues affecting her own sense of self/empowerment, individually, culturally and socially.

  5. tuppence said

    @ taliatalia – oo er, that scenario is actually rather tantalising! (though isn’t it a bit subversive to include the Female Eunuch in a BDSM session?)

    Speaking of post-feminism, finding out a date is an I-feminist (or ‘me-feminist’, natch) would be a real challenge if not a deal-breaker for leftie old me.

  6. tina_sparkle said

    totally agree, clem. this is not about men finding feminist values in a woman attractive. it’s about women understanding what it means in the first place and not copping out by writing about it in an easily digestable form a la sex and the city.

    samantha brett is a moron.

  7. Tom Leykis said

    This must be the place to find hot chicks.

  8. audrey said

    Coming to the party late on this one. All I can say is….


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