The Feminist Side of Things has been edited by the Editorial Board.
Once upon a time, there was a woman who was told she wasn’t allowed to vote. She dared to ask why. That was the day a feminist was born.
We hear so many people talking about feminism these days, about how it has changed our society. Unfortunately, today all men are being projected as a certain stereotype, and the word sexism has become synchronous with feminism. There are many reasons for this striking rise of feminist-haters. As a feminist, I would like to bust some of the myths.
Let me tell you the feminist side of things.
When you actually look up the word feminism in the dictionary, its meaning is “a belief and aim that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men”. Let’s be very clear that “pro-women” does not equal to “anti-men”. There are some women, who believe that all women are superior to men. They aren’t feminists, they are called misandrists. It’s a small portion of the pie, but a loud one.
It’s not only women who have reinforced this belief that feminists hate all men, but it is one of the earliest ways men used to curb feminist movements for equal rights. This belief has propagated since.
“You can’t be a feminist! I hear they hate men”. Most people believe what they are told. Human beings perceive people according to what they have been told about them. So what do you think will happen if a woman one day declares that all men are women-hating, self-serving, misogynists? Oh wait.
Just like labelling all Muslims as terrorists because of the actions of a few people is wrong, blaming all men we know for years of oppression is wrong. Yes, there have been some horrible, heinous acts in history, even in the recent past. There are some men who are a stain on the face of humanity; barely humane. But that does not mean we label all men so. Feminism, at its roots, is against sexism, be it towards men or women.
Yes, I am a feminist. Yes, I believe that all the sexes have equal rights. Yes, I believe that though the situation has improved, women are still oppressed in many parts of the world and need help. But I do not hate men. I do not call men pigs and say they are oppressing me if they hold a door open for me, or if they help me carry some heavy books, or if they offer me their seat. I do not look down on them if they aren’t chivalrous nor do I protest if they are.
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I acknowledge the fact that there are many aspects in which a woman is different from a man, and instead of trying to deny these differences, we should embrace them.
No one, man or woman, should be ashamed to say, that the other is better at something than us, and to ask for help when needed. But just because I say these things, it does not mean I am opposed to women empowerment.
The reason it was called ‘fem’inism is that in the past, and in various places today, women did live their lives being oppressed and controlled by men. There are still so many places, where women are not allowed to speak up for themselves, make their own decisions or even asked for their opinion on their own lives. The men there plainly say that that is what the law is, what we say for them is the final word. This discrimination is what feminism tries to eradicate.
It is not hidden, very often men have been wronged by women, and women by men. But it is not a war, we are not into it to zero down on a winner. It is not a battle about who is more superior over whom. Instead of being defensive and digging up the past for all the wrong reasons, we should look at the opportunity offered to us. Change is brought about by small acts. Do you think things get better if we keep whining about how feminists hate men or how men oppress women?
It was never against one person; always has been against patriarchy. So how about we use our time to make the world a better place for women human beings?
Just saying, as at the end of the day it is your call. And, your call matters.
To read more by the author of The Feminist Side of Things, click here.