The terms “feminism” and “feminist” rank among some of the most used words on social media today. Interestingly, a majority of people throwing the word around have no inkling of what it is and what it is not. In this article, we will discuss five things that feminism is not.
Last week, I saw a post on Facebook tagged, “Feminism is a scam!”
Curious, I clicked on the post to see what the poster’s agitation was all about. He had met a girl who blamed the menfolk for any and every thing she could think of. Her targeted insults and criticisms were, according to her, because she was a feminist. So, the purpose of the post was to scorn the young lady’s stance and poke holes in the logic of her ideas.
That Facebook post reiterates the notion that many self-acclaimed social media feminists are suffering from the same dilemma. Indeed, the feminist concept has become such a buzzword online because many are fighting a battle they know nothing about. To them, being feminist is a call to wage war against men and absolve women of any wrongdoing. That kind of feminism is what one could rightly call a scam.
Some may ask, ‘Are they not right? Is feminism not a vendetta against all men for the evil their gender has perpetrated towards innocent women?’
Well, the very short and simple answer is no!
According to Simple English Wikipedia, feminism, in simple terms, is about changing the way that people see male and female rights (mainly female), and campaigning for equal ones. Somebody who believes in feminism is called a feminist. It is simply a call to equal rights for men and women in all spheres of life.
Here is a list of notions that feminism does not support:
- Feminism is not a call to war:
Feminism does not champion misandry or unnecessary agitations toward the menfolk. Being a feminist does not mean you should blame or attack men for societal issues that affect women. It is not a call to hate men. Rather, it seeks to correct wrong notions and create a system where men and women enjoy equal rights based on their capabilities and interests.
- Feminism is not a call to subjugate men:
Feminism is neither a vendetta nor a conspiracy to pay men back for the sins of their ancestors. It does not seek to make men weaker than women. On the other hand, feminism is a human rights concept and does not support stripping men of their rights in the guise of championing women’s rights.
- Feminism is not a reason to be illogical:
This movement encapsulates all actions that seek to empower women to take their rightful place in society. It supports women’s causes within the limits of reason. Surely, it is not an excuse for incompetence, nepotism and favouritism. It seeks for understanding, justice and inclusion of women in political, societal, economic and domestic issues. This does not mean that it supports all the actions of women, even when they are wrong, selfish or illogical. Feminism is not concerned with the mere completion of a quota. This means that if you find yourself contesting a position against a man, do not expect to get the role merely because you are a woman. You only deserve to get the role if you are better qualified than the man.
- Feminism is not a reason to be irresponsible:
The feminist concept is not an excuse for sloppy and rash behaviour. Rather, feminism calls for the self-aware and capable representation of women. It is not a call to be rude, vulgar or unnecessarily loud. Empty barrels make the most noise. The women who are proving their mettle in society and breaking stereotypes are not found trying to shove their opinions down people’s throats. They simply show up and take up responsibility.
- Feminism is not a call to shun femininity:
A feminist could be a man or a woman. In fact, as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes, everyone should be a feminist. However, the call to feminism is not a call to turn women into men. Feminism does not require a woman to deny her femininity before she can take her place in her society. Instead, it is a move to prove that women are capable of reaching the full measure of their potential, not despite their gender, but because of their humanity.
So, before you begin that tirade in the name of feminism, ask yourself if you really are championing the cause or merely giving ignorant people an opportunity to criticise.
Also read: How Women Can Ditch the Guilt