Another Feminist Post
Several times, I have participated in arguments over what Feminism is. It’s appalling how many people think it’s an ‘anti-men’ concept. Probably because of how many misinformed people portray feminism, and speak about women being better than they’re thought to be. That’s such a narrow belief, to be honest, to limit feminism to nothing but a mere contest to prove how women are better at ‘life’ than traditionally deemed to be. Because, personally, I believe feminism is so much broader and that there’s no contest in the first place. Nonetheless, it is fighting for women, but not just women.
Let me show you why feminism seems like it is more relevant to women.
My mother got married very young and had me only two years after. I was unexpected and unwanted. But over the times, situations changed. I started growing up and we began to share this friendship, rather than a mother-daughter relationship. I’d always talk to her about my awkwardest doubts and issues, and she would give me an honest answer. Then I grew up. My questions started coming off as ‘too old for my age’ or even inappropriate. Gradually, with loads of my questions left unanswered, I discovered that there are rather more things that we disagree on. She thinks I’ve changed because I’m not her same sweet, obedient, little daughter anymore. I’ve got my own opinions and perspectives, and completely different views from hers. She thinks it because I’ve been influenced by bad company or western media and popular culture.
My life changed. I started losing my faith in my mother and she started losing her trust in me. We drifted apart quite abruptly. My words, my actions, my thoughts, and everything else were challenged. How I spoke, how I sat, how I dressed, how well/badly I did at school, and et al were being scrutinized. I realised how me being a female was, ever so subtly, being shamed at every step of my life. My body was a menace and, weirdly enough, it was actually menacing my family’s pride instead.
Hence, I was served. Served with a huge platter of restrictions and curfews and suspicions and warnings. An environment of caution was created around me which ensured that even if I breathed, it was according to the rules laid down by my misogynistic elders.
“Girls don’t sit like that! Keep your legs closed!” “Girls don’t laugh that loudly!” “Dress like a girl once in every while, will you?!” “If you hug/touch/interact with a boy, you’re going to gain a bad reputation!” Obviously, this list of ”good manners” didn’t end here; there was (in fact, is) a mountain of it. Every step I took, every move I made, was being judged. Every wrong move was made to rectify. Every scoff was threatened. And of course, every time I confirmed, I was rewarded with the blessing of a happy married life.
No way! No way in hell was I going to adhere to these ‘laws’ and curb my ambitions to a pathetic aspiration to just be married. That wasn’t the ultimate purpose of my life. My life was indeed larger than that. I wanted to make a difference, to be heard loud and clear, to be so terrifyingly intimidating, to be so inspirational that it crazed the world, to be so strong that it was threatening! And that’s when I realised why feminism was so important for me as a woman.
I wanted to be a WOMAN. Because being a woman is anything but weak. Because doing something like a girl is not inferior. Femininity is not a symbol of fragility. It is a sign of passion, of raw emotion, of fearlessness, and of exceptionality. Our womanhood marks our difference. It doesn’t belittle masculinity and neither does it surpass it; this is not a competition. There is no race to win, no point to prove that builds up femininity over masculinity. Instead, there is an unsaid promise that they share: to care for each other. Our weaknesses are backed by each other's strengths. And that’s the case feminism is trying to put across. Not that women are better than or women are the same as men because they’re both false statements. Feminism is trying to strengthen the bond between the two genders, which ironically, is so widely discriminated.
So the fight is for this. To ensure that men care for women and vice versa. To make sure that women may walk out on the streets without the fear of being attacked. To gradually work towards erasing the stigma attached to being a woman. To not stop our girls from scoring in any aspect. To not second-guess an idea or opinion just because it was expressed by a woman. To let women dress for themselves and not as a means to keep the men from getting ‘provoked’. To teach our young men to keep it in their pants no matter how a woman dresses. To let our girls pick out a blue truck and our boys pick a pink t-shirt if that puts a smile on their face. To create a world where our boys can look up to strong women in their lives and our girls admire the strong men in theirs so there’s inspiration everywhere. To embrace our differences and not let them hinder our growth because of our sexes.
It’s not a war. There’s no battle of the sexes. We’re in this together. We’re here to take care of each other. That’s what feminism is to me. It cares. That’s why it strives for equal treatment. Because it cares.
That’s what feminism portrays for me.