To say that feminism gets a bad rap is a gross understatement. For a movement with such reasonable goals, feminism is vastly misunderstood and bashed at.
I am a late bloomer myself. I used to shy away when someone mentioned feminism. I didn’t want to appear medieval but also didn’t fancy associating myself with feminism either. I thought that simply wasn’t my battle. Boy, was I wrong! I converted to feminism when I first came across this quote.
Yes, I do have a vagina and I am in charge of it. That makes me a feminist? How so? I learned that being a feminist is as simple as believing in the equality of both sexes. Below is a list of six common excuses people make when they don’t want to label themselves feminists. Well, newsflash: This is everyone’s battle.
You are probably one yourself without even realizing it. Go on, read, and tell us what you think!
1. I am not one of those stuck-up women from the movies.
If you have sat through your share of Mallu movies like I have, take Kaliveedu or Baba Kalyani for instance, I bet you are emotionally scarred by those nosy, flashy, sleeveless-blouse-wearing, shades-sporting ladies prancing around with dog leash in their hands? They would poke their noses into others business and try to force away our beloved heroine from the poor lovestruck hero. Didn’t we just love when they were put in their rightful place? It’s totally fine if you don’t want to be her. She isn’t a feminist. She was just a plain old snob, really.
2. I like men!
Oh, we do too. Whoever told you that feminists are all "cold bitches" who hate men didn’t know what they were talking about. A woman who has spent all her life taking care of her family and who convinces her husband that their daughter deserves to go to college just like their son is just as much a feminist as her younger counterpart out in the street holding a placard for women rights. Remember, feminism is about the equality of both sexes, not the superiority of one over the other. All those feminist debates from school arguing that girls are better than boys were ill found. We think women are equal to men, not the same as them.
3. But I don’t want to burn my bra!
Neither do I! Most of the women I know love their lingerie and wouldn’t dream of burning them. Some do burn it as a mark that they are comfortable with their bodies and wouldn’t want anything to shame them or hinder their freedom. Good for them! But the rest of us are also capable of feeling good in our clothes that we don’t feel the need to burn them so often. It is all about how we choose to express our beliefs. Po-tay-to, po—tah-to…all the same thing, right?
4. I don’t fancy walking around with my armpit hair on display.
Yes, we understand. Just like tattooing, piercing or wearing a bindi on one’s forehead, it is a choice people make. Some people are extremely comfortable in their skins and they don’t mind walking around with their unwaxed armpits. That is their choice to make. You can shave your legs, wear pink, purple or black, love shopping and still be a feminist. Because feminism isn’t an identity that declares itself through a person’s willingness to display one’s armpit hair. You can have it, or shave it off, but the ideology isn’t skin deep, or in this case, hair deep?
5. But I am a man!
Okay, so none of the above points were valid in your case but the good news is that you can still be a feminist. Do you respect women and think they deserve equal treatment as men? Congratulations, you are a feminist too. If you are uncomfortable with the utterance, you are welcome to declare yourself an equalist which is roughly the same thing. And believe me, there is no one sexier than a man who treats his woman with dignity and respect.
6. Why Feminism? There are worse evils than underpaid women executives!
Right you are! I have heard this counter argument more times than I care to count. I agree that underpaid women executives are probably not the greatest problem there is. The earth is dying, children are starving and people are dying in wars. There are a great many issues that deserve to be addressed. But who is to say that there is room for only one issue at a time? You can be a feminist, a volunteer at an HIV shelter, and give English lessons to underprivileged children. There is no rule limiting the number of movements you can devote your time to. And if you choose to attend a seminar discussing the harassment of women at the workplace, that is by no means a disrespect to hungry kids or war immigrants.
Maybe you still don’t think that feminism is a great movement. However, know that the alternate, sexism, is awful. You wouldn’t want to be one of them!
A sort of Jill-Of-All-Trades! Interested in way too many things to focus on just one although I do admit to having an infatuation with writing. Writing towards a cause is even better and hence, here!