The Official Amy Alkon Website

All About Amy
New Columns
Really Old Columns
Goddess Blog
Amy's Book Picks
Amy's Links
Love Letters
The Pink Rambler
Contact Info


Empower Struggle

I'm a 23-year-old woman, working as a photographer's assistant while putting together my own portfolio. Last year, I met this amazing guy from London at a photo workshop. We talk on the phone daily, and he's visited me several times. Last night, he asked me to move to London and live with him. Although I've always dreamed of living there, I'm worried about giving up the ease and familiarity of my life, and wondering whether a relationship that's wonderful long distance will last in close quarters. And then, there's the bottom line: While I can work there (my father's British), the feminist in me says I shouldn't just pick up and move to be with a man.

--Seriously Tempted Sick

What, exactly, does the feminist in you think will happen if you go through with this? Let's're getting off the plane in London, half excited/half scared to start your new life. There, in the waiting area, shoving past limo drivers and elbowing your boyfriend out of the way, are the anti Ab Fab: a scowling Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, shaking "Traitor To The Cause" signs at you, and shouting, "Two, Four, Six, Eight, Whose Struggle Don't You Appreciate?!"

Just think of all the sacrifices they and countless others made, so you could, what...feel compelled to stay put instead of seizing the opportunity to live and work in an international city, and maybe have a little love in your life? Too bad you aren't a man. Nobody accuses a man of selling out if he crosses continents for love. Sure, the guys at the sports bar might be a little ticked at losing a drinking buddy, but they generally just ask if the girl has a nice rack and move on to the scores.

Yes, leave it to the women's movement to turn itself into something that keeps women from moving. It was supposed to be about sensible stuff like equal pay for equal work -- fantastic idea -- and giving everybody the vote. Then, a bunch of rad-fem loonies like Sheila Jeffreys (England's Andrea Dworkin) jumped into the fray: "When a woman reaches orgasm with a man, she is only collaborating with the patriarchal system, eroticizing her own oppression."

In other words, maybe the ism you need most right now is not feminism, but what-works-for-me-ism -- which appears to be moving to London and seeing more of this man. Maybe, like rock and roll photographer Sue Rynski, from Detroit but living in Paris for 19 years, you'll want to make London home. Maybe not. But, maybe you shouldn't wait until you're 45 and have five kids, three dogs, and a knocked-up hamster to figure that out.

Go. You can always come back. But keep in mind, the wisest relationship decisions are not based on a desire for cheap rent. Save money before you leave, stay with him just long enough to find your own place, and the two of you can just date -- which should prove much less romantically stressful than vaulting straight from time-zone-crossed lovers into Mr. Bloke and The Missus.

Sure, you're taking a chance in going -- just as you would be in staying home. After all, a replay of The Vagina Monologues could pop up on HBO at any moment, perhaps causing you to die of embarrassment at what a cartoon certain factions of feminism have become. Of course, maybe the mark of real progress is real women feeling perfectly comfortable living however and wherever they're happiest -- not a bunch of movie stars showing how comfortable they are getting up on stage and shrieking about their genitalia.

Copyright ©2005, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, "The Advice Goddess," which appears in over 100 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.