Here’s an ultimate guide to driving your fear away about the scary f-word: feminism, feminists and people who voice out for gender equality. You no longer need to hide from feminists or be feared about saying the word aloud if you are one of us. I hope this article explains to you what feminism really is, and serves as a knowledge transfer from me to you.
Feminism is not a subject or theory; it’s a perspective, a way of life. In the circle I knew, I had a difference of opinions and beliefs. The way I looked at some of the “normal” activities in day-to-day life alienated me from my family, acquaintances and even friends.
I knew I viewed things differently, but I can’t understand how. Later, I learnt that there are so many like me who had dissatisfaction with conventional society. At first, my journey of feminism also started with rage about the unequal treatment of genders. I focused on how women and girls get treated unfairly compared to men and boys in society.
Rapes, harassments, abuse, molestation, the wage gap, patriarchal pressure and many more shed light on how one sex got oppressed all the time. Three years into reading more about sexual oppression, inequality, and exploitation identified me as a feminist. However, I was still afraid to admit it loudly. I was unsure to say the name aloud.
Are you scared of the f-word?
I guess people find “feminism” as the second-most offensive f-word. Mostly because of how mass media portrays it. Even if you believe in gender equality, it becomes scary to use the word because people use it to their advantage.
Can anyone be a feminist?
No. I know it could be strange hearing ‘No’ to this question. But, honestly, not everyone can be a feminist. By using the word for career opportunities and popularity, people degraded the objective of the movement itself. So, no, not anyone can be a feminist. But, feminism is for everybody.
I know it can sound confusing. But, feminism is for everyone who educates themselves about the movement. Instead of blindly using the word to one gender’s advantage, knowledge about feminism can bring about positive change. It demolishes the word “Pseudo-feminists” or “Feminazis”.
What is Feminism?
Before we ask ourselves ‘what is feminism’, let us break the myth of what feminism is not. Society strongly believes that feminists are a generally unapproachable, angry, and ugly mob of unpleasant women. Or, feminists are easy-going women who think of casual sex and affairs as a part of life. Not one of these thoughts delivers feminists in a good shade of light. Feminists are common people, like you and me, who believes life is equal for everyone.
Feminism seems to focus on major women issues and challenges. But, it works on a ground level of sexual oppression and a sexist approach. Determined to create equal opportunities and fair choices for women, the feminists break the patriarchal blocks of society indirectly. So, feminism is always a win-win situation for people who use it the right way.
Feminism: against Sexual oppression, sexist approach and exploitation
A feminist wouldn’t focus on two genders/sexes; instead, they would be open to the possibility of more than two genders. So, feminism is not only about restoring the balance of one gender in society. It’s about equal opportunity for all the sexes.
Are you a feminist?
A lot of us are feminist. Some of us are scared to use the word. And some of us don’t even know that feminism stands for the same beliefs and opinions as we have. So, are you a feminist? Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you stand against the “powerful should rule over the weak”?
- Do you think that societies with a male point of view should reform?
- Are you against the sexist approach?
- What is your stand on the patriarchal foundation at our homes?
- Do you believe that feminine energy is not a weakness?
- “Boldness is not the only strength” – Can you agree with that?
- Which side are you on- domination or love?
- Are you against the transition of power from male to female?
- Do you feel safe when a woman shares her views, opinions and ideologies in a workplace or home?
- Can you appreciate and adopt when a woman’s ideas and strategies work well, as much as you can accept men?
- Do you voice against gender stereotypes?
- What do you think about ‘male occupation’ and ‘female responsibilities’?
- ‘Cooking, cleaning, parenting and nurturing are life skills, not women’s skills”- do you agree?
- Are you against rape culture?
- Are you against victim-shaming?
- Will you stand against normalizing men’s faults, just because they are men in society?
- Will you voice against a woman who misuses their gender privilege to make a man suffer?
- Do you believe that even boys can be raped? Do you understand that the abuse against men and boys are unheard, unseen and unpunished?
- Are you against toxic masculinity?
- Do you believe in equal opportunities and equal pay for all the sexes?
- Do you believe in body positivity?
- Will you ask for consent before you cross someone’s boundary: not just sexual, emotional, and physical boundaries too?
- Will you stop any “harmless” conversations against a man or a woman in your friend’s group?
If you could answer ‘yes’ to most of the questions, then welcome to the club. You are a feminist too. You can be a man and still be a feminist. There is no stronger way to advocate feminism than a man standing for his female friends, colleagues and family members.
Feminism has more to it than what you see on social media. When you see this movement as framing an innocent man or misusing power to dominate men, then you shall be scared until the end.
It takes only minutes to educate ourselves on what feminism really is. Let’s stop calling the people who don’t follow feminism as ‘Pseudo-feminists.” They don’t need a name. They are simply people who don’t know and follow feminism, and hence, are not feminists. Let there be only one term: feminism, and people who follow it: feminists.
Choose who you want to be: do you want to be a sexist or a feminist?
Until next time,
Lots of love,
Sahana, aka, the Tummy Mummy.