I am a Feminist
- 2 Posts
'I'm all for equality but I'm not a feminist' was something I used to say as a teenage girl. I was afraid that being a feminist would make me less likable in society. I thought that declaring myself as a feminist in society would result in mixed reactions, ranging from pleasant surprise to withdrawal.
However, people often used to call me by this name whenever I expressed sentiments and views that differentiated me from a doormat.
I recently started to call myself a feminist when I came across prominent women leaders like Malala Yousafzai, who fought against all odds to achieve women's rights in education. I was also inspired by other powerful women like Christine Lagarde who heads up the International Monetary Fund which serves as the economic advisor for 188 countries around the globe.
I was greatly inspired by these women and many others who became even more successful than men in this patriarchal society, as well as encouraged their fellow women to compete with men in the long race.
Moreover, my parents never discriminated against me on the basis of my gender. We are four daughters of my proud father, who often used to say "you four daughters are my sons". My parents gave me the best education, no less than what most men receive. However, I was discriminated against by society on the basis of my gender. Many conservative people used to advise my parents not to spend too much money on our education. Fortunately, my parents never listened. So, I was raised to be a modern, open-minded girl with value, against sexism and patriarchy, and eventually I became a feminist.
Being a feminist, I am highly offended when I am given a specific task based on my gender. I am interested in advocacy and have strong opinions about issues that affect everyone. I'm strongly against the idea of getting married and having children while still in my 20s. I believe every girl should focus on her career to become a strong independent woman. I enjoy movies that have a strong female lead like the Hunger Games.
Women in general suffer discrimination by the law. They are paid less than men at work, and they are the targets of gender stereotypes which are perpetuated in the media.
They suffer economic dependency. For example, I have seen many women in my neighbourhood, giving up work to take care of domestic chores, along with their emotional work like emotional care of family on top of their jobs, thus doing triple shifts.
I believe that girls do better in education than boys who demand more attention from the teachers. Despite that, most women face inequality in education, and are considered unable to deal with important subjects. However, I have also seen that for some women, family proves to be patriarchal dominated by men and it exploits and oppresses women. Women are oppressed because they are socialised to be dependent on men and remain in second place. Women should stand up for their rights in order to educate themselves and thus have their own status and identity in society.
Being a feminist, I pay special attention to how gender roles are portrayed in the media. Unfortunately, the media also presents women as cleaners, housewives and domestic help providing comfort and support for men and a man's sex object to serve his sexual needs. I feel that this gender representation distorts reality, and supports male dominance. Thus, I want to participate in women's liberation.
Women are also targets of rape and violence in many parts of the world. Women from poor backgrounds sometimes commit suicides after being tortured and beaten up by their husbands. Although women today have been given equal rights in divorce and marriage, they don't opt for it, afraid of becoming targets of shame and embarrassment in society. Women in many parts of the world have inadequate knowledge about their rights and laws and hence they don’t utilise them. I want to help these women and to change their views. I want to help them so that they can take a step ahead on their own. I also feel that these women should enroll themselves in self-defense classes to protect themselves.
To achieve my agenda, I have tried to incorporate feminism in my daily life. I love myself as I feel that loving and practicing self-care empowers me. I make decisions about my responsibilities based on my choice and personal preference, and not on gender stereotypes. I encourage my fellow friends to do the same. My parents raised me to believe in gender equality and I want all parents to do the same. I want all men and women to share equal responsibilities in marriage and relationships, which I have seen my parents doing since childhood. For instance, my father used to help my mother with the domestic chores and my mother used to help him with the outside work. To overcome inequality at work, women should speak out if they are being discriminated against, such as receiving less pay and being denied promotion opportunities.
Finally, I believe that my responsibility is to empower women. There is an unfortunate tendency in women to judge and belittle the choices of other women. I feel that it's my responsibility to support women instead of judging them and help them in achieving their rights.