Not long ago, a friend of mine asked me if I was a feminist. And I said no, no, I’m not, but I believe in gender equality. If you know what feminism means, my statement was complete nonsense. Because feminism is gender equality, nothing more and nothing less. So why did I say that? Was I afraid to fight for my rights, to express my opinions and beliefs?
I guess not. No, but I wanted to avoid the label often associated with hatred towards men, anger, or even lack of femaleness. While in fact, feminism got its name by elevating the feminine to balance the patriarchal label world.
Also, I didn’t want my rights to be thrown out to my face later one day. You want me to change the bulb? You fight for equality, right? So do it yourself. You don’t need men in your life, or do you? I didn’t want to be associated with that sort of thing. I’m not afraid to ask for help. We all have a different part in this life, and we play different roles. And all of them are necessary.
I don’t think a true feminist would ever say that we don’t need men. We do need men. The world needs both men and women. Unluckily for us, it’s the extremism that screams the most from the word feminism. And it’s usually the scandal that draws most of the audience.
That’s why everyone heard about them. The loud, independent, strong-minded, and demanding women. Those ‘angry women’ are actually not feminists but misandrists. They despise men and choose domination rather than equality. And that’s a different story. I certainly wouldn’t want to be associated with those.
But I’m not the only one who didn’t want to wear the tag. Most young women of my generation believe in equal rights. They believe in equal pay for similar work to men, the right to vote and receive education, and the woman’s right to choose. They challenge marriage and other stereotypes or purposefully change the female dress standards.
They are confident, motivated, and career-driven; they finish high school and colleges, often with better results than their male counterparts. They occupy prominent job positions with thick pay-checks. They run marathons, drive fast cars, publish books, and travel around the world independently. Yet, they are reluctant to use the f-word.
Let me point out that after more than a hundred years of women’s suffrage and fighting for the workplace, sexuality, family, and reproductive rights, women still aren’t equal to men. According to Oxfam, even though women make up 75% of the world’s workforce, they earn only 10% of the world’s income, hold only 21% of the world’s parliamentary seats, and own less than 1% of the world’s property.
Another striking issue is the prevailing gender-based violence. One in three women worldwide is likely to be a victim of violence against females in her lifetime.
So what are we going to do about it? Not call ourselves feminists? Well, right, the opposite. We should follow the legacy of our mothers and grandmothers and not be shadowed by the extremist minority.
Nobody wants to be associated with hate. That’s for sure. If you believe in gender equality, embrace the feminist label and wear it proudly. Fight for your rights and what the term really means.