People are scared of the word ‘feminist’. They find the word to be very political and tend to stay away as much as they can. To be honest, I was no where near comfortable with the word myself in the beginning, till I started understanding it and embracing it myself. Yes, people might use the word variably implying different meanings, some are positive and some are negative. My understanding of it remains, that I, a woman, be treated in equal standings as to my male counterpart/ counter sex in my roles as an employee, at home and in my contributions to the community. That ‘I’ be not confided in my station as a house keeper, a wife or a mother and, be given equal opportunities as my brothers and male friends to showcase my talent, to prove my worth in world out there to be able to earn for myself my name, my honour and my status; irrespective of the name I inherited from my family or added by virtue of my marriage.
We were designed specifically by nature as men and women to be different in our capabilities and that is a solid scientific truth. We differ in our physical builds, physical stamina & strengths, emotional & nurturing attributes and many other things by make of our variance in our chromosomes; as XY for males and XX for females. I am petite and of small frame. If I even utter a single word called a ‘feminist’ my brothers and my male friends laugh jokingly, ‘Here’ they say, ‘lift these weight‘ pointing to 30kg dumbells ‘equality at work, work division’. Now, if I try hard, I can definitely lift those on occasions but not everyday, it definitely would not be a job suited for me. There are exceptional women out there who do it with no problem but I am speaking about majority of us. And I guess, here is where everyone is missing the point. Equality is putting someone at a platform where one is adjusted to a position keeping in consideration of all the abilities and skill set one possess while also keeping in mind where they might lack. In this case of dumb bells, I lack on physical strength. My skill would perhaps be more useful in other areas. Like hospitality. By virtue of nature, women are blessed with more comforting appeal. Most companies, on their front row for their customer service prefer women for this reason.
Some of my strong feminist friends may have a problem when I state, ‘I feel comfort & security at my father, brothers or boyfriend’s presence’. ‘You are independent woman, you should be able to defend yourself. Look after yourself, you don’t need a man’, they might say. ‘We don’t need a man’, that is correct. ‘In life one doesn’t need to need anyone. One chooses to have one. Family, a society’. There are people living out there all alone by themselves choosing to have no one. I will not deny for the sake of it, to my hardcore feminist friends, who I feel have clouded the definition; that I do have a natural predilection to feel safe in a masculine presence. Not necessarily a beast of a person, but someone who is stronger than me. And as far as I know, this is a joint feeling of most girls/women I have come across including my educated, self sufficient, strong headed, women in career friends.
For what we lack in physical strengths, we as women contribute as more emphatic individuals, as resilient other halves and on fostering emotional securities with our partners, with our children and in our communities. There are jobs where we are able to contribute equally and there are jobs where our counterparts might outperform us or we might out perform them. Feminism is understanding these differences, receiving equal treatment in terms of ‘the equality’ I talked about earlier.
When I talk about feminism, I am requesting to be equally valued for the sweat I put on the table like my male colleagues. That I be paid equally for equally valued work. That I be considered for career opportunities as well without someone whispering ‘oh shite’ learning that I am at prime reproductive age and knowing my plans for pregnancy. That I be not treated as ‘no good deal’, when I try to come back to work having lost months/years on child care. That I am at least given an opportunity to hone again on my skills, to prove myself and to be back on my career track. That my husband listens and respects my decision as much as I respect his and my contributions to our economic stability is as considered as important as his. That he values our times and our effort together in raising our children with no fuss on who does the dishes and who cooks food every night. And that in community, I am respected for my beliefs, for my values and I am allowed to exercise my freedom/ my rights as I see fit just as my other half is entitled to. That I be treated as equal citizen like the equal tax contribution I make every year.
Researches have shown men have higher suicide rates than women in majority of countries. By exercising domain over women culturally and religiously, our societies fails to see the pressure it is putting in our men. On our fathers, husbands, bothers and sons; who are expected to be the providers of the family. Working beyond hours, their muscles aching with fatigue, sleepless nights. There is no where else for them to vent their problems. They are expected to portray these strong characters at all times like they have it all under control, when inside they are falling apart. Needless to say, domestic violence is one of the consequences of these outburst of emotions, of failures of their unmet personal needs and compulsion to meets with standards of expectations the society outlines for them. Sharing that responsibility of economic burden and the decision would help them ease on their duties while making us ‘the women’ feel more empowered and more liable for our decisions. Would it not be a win-win situation.
‘A woman that is not happy, is a home that is broken’, the saying goes. I won’t say there aren’t women living in comfort of their lavish life style given by their husbands, only a minority; at the same time, there are women out there who want to read, to work and find their independence. To each their own. I will certainly say, a woman that works has less problem to discuss when you are home from work. Hahahaha 😉 . Same goes for a man, by the way. ‘Idle mind is a devil’s workshop.’ Anyways, my point is ‘Feminism’ is power that gives women a choice to make their own decision about themselves, about their life. To be and to stand as an equal in eye of law, in her position in the family, in the community and in the world. It is not about dominance or exercising power, or saying I am genetically superior than you, it is about accepting that we are equal halves. That we should contribute equally, that our problems are shared and not yours alone. That we are two wheels of same cart or the two faces on one coin. So we belong together not on division.