Weekly report of a young feminist #25: Indeed, you’re never too masculine to be a feminist either. However, feminism is generally attacked with false statements and the word itself might sometimes have strongly negative connotations. As a result of that, many girls and women hesitate to label themselves feminists despite their genuine belief in gender equality. Surely, labels don’t have to be the most important fragment of feminism, however if you create a massive global community, it’s harder for patriarchy to defend itself.
I personally came across very harsh insults directed towards the appearances of feminists. By now, we should all be aware of the fact that feminists come in various shapes, colours, genders, or nationalities. On the other hand, it would be probably a suicide mission for anti-feminists to claim that they’re against the equality of genders or against the women’s rights, because luckily, people are not warm to the oppression anymore… Therefore, creating a negative picture of historical and living feminists might seem like a better approach to changing the public opinion.
When you think of a feminist, you picture this person as hairy and ugly woman with pink hair and preferably no other interest rather than attending activist marches and feeding her cat. Well, I’m sure some feminists match this description, however there are many shiny, beautiful and friendly feminists whose favourite activity is going to the hairdresser. In fact, the person’s appearance is completely irrelevant as far as he or she is satisfied with it (yes, self-love, here we are). Moreover, global movements foremost need powerful people with drive and desire to improve the world’s flaws. It doesn’t matter if you’re erasing the gender pay gap in heels or flats, with hairy armpits or not, the importance lies in a fact that you’re fighting and you’re trying to make a change for the whole womanhood. We all need gender equality, both men and women.
In my opinion, one of the most toxic lies about feminism is that the movement wants all women to be emancipated and free from their female roles. In reality, that’s not completely true. Society should condemn gender roles absolutely and when a woman chooses to be a housewife or a mother, it’s completely her choice. I’m certain that almost no feminist (nor any human being hopefully) would judge her for her decision. Plus, there is nothing to judge. As long as the woman is satisfied with her life and societal status, there is nothing to worry about. But the moment she starts to feel discriminated or violated, is the moment for feminism to take over.
Generally, women should be able to choose freely what their occupation will be. But in many cases, especially in developing countries, freedom of choice is not an option.
Religious fundamentalists may state that the aim of feminism isn’t the gender equality but rather the complete deconstruction of family values and implementation of so-called “gender ideology”. People misinterpret this term in many ways, however, none of them seem to be rooted in rational base. Apart from the fact that accusations of spreading morally twisted values in the society by feminists are wrong, those statements carry a harming nature. Feminism in Europe is rather exclusive and directed towards the wellbeing of middle- or upper-class women. Repeatedly, conditions of African, immigrant, Latina women are omitted, global problems such as FGM (female genital mutilation), child marriage, human trafficking still exist and without activists such as feminists there will never be justice.
So, when you try to stop feminism, you indirectly causing more problems for women worldwide. Every year, many women die because of FGM, rape or early childbirth… Indeed, there are countless other causes, however those mentioned above might be prevented and young girls might live lives they actually want to live. If you stop and think, you might be a feminist but in this climate it’s hard to admit it. And it might be even harder to lobby for better living conditions for women in the era of banned abortions, misogynist politicians and impact of poverty and economic disadvantage on women. But I believe in good side of people, so I like to repeat my favourite phase that we should all be feminists and we should all be proud of it.