I am in this WhatsApp group that consists solely of my high school classmates. Now, I was in an all-girls high school and so every once in a while, things do get female, for lack of a better word. So recently, a member of this group shared a link to this article that was basically the author saying why waiting till marriage to have sex was not a good idea for her. Then, later, it was a screenshot, I think, of some guy ranting about how most women can’t cook. Anyway, I don’t have much use for my phone(partly because I hate it. Can somebody please buy me a new phone?)I don’t text or call much, or even log onto my social media platforms that frequently. so I’m almost always offline. I like being present, absorbing my surroundings, I don’t want to be a slave to my phone. So when I finally get to read this group texts, it is in hundreds, so I usually just end up scheming through. but today, for some weird reason, I was actually rereading these texts, and this guy next to me, was shamelessly reading them with me. and as if that wasn’t bad enough, he had the nerve to start a conversation with me about my texts. Can you believe that?
So here I was, reading my texts, occasionally bursting into a discrete laugh and then I hear someone commenting on how annoying it is that women can’t cook. My first instinct was to ignore him, but people are always telling me that I am extremely intimidating so of late, I have been making a purposeful effort to seem nicer. but if I am being totally honest, I am only doing it for my friends. because, a huge portion of me likes being intimidating and I don’t intend to change that, not completely. Anyway, I agreed with him. because I do believe that the lack of a basic survival skill is not something you brag about. We all need to be familiar with the process of nourishing our bodies. Then, this guy goes ahead to tell me, that he is glad I agree. That for a second he was scared I was going to get all defensive and throw some feminist anthem in his face. So I told him that I actually am a feminist. This as followed by an awkward silence and then he finally said, “you are not like other feminists.” Now that statement could pass off as a complement, but think about it, and you will realize it is offensive and undermining on so many levels.
See, when you tell me I am not like other feminists, you do not complement me. Because, at the very least, you are suggesting that the feminist course is something I should distance myself from. And no, I don’t want to do that. Because I understand what feminism is about. Because at the end of the day, feminism is all about embracing ourselves as women, understanding our power, being comfortable in our skin. Feminism is about making it okay to be female. And I wanted to tell him that but I realized it is not his his fault, not entirely, that his views on feminism are misinformed. I mean, even I, can’t deny that there are females who have given feminism a bad name. Because a lot of women who call themselves feminists are just bitter, male hating people who don’t even understand what feminism is about. And the ones who think they do, misinterpret it. Because feminism is not about bringing men down, or making men do things for you, or having things handed to you on a silver platter just because you are a woman. and maybe that is why other people, especially men, do not appreciate the concept of feminism. Because some people have managed to to make it seem like feminism is just a conspiracy to destroy male souls. And that couldn’t be further from the truth. Male haters are not feminists, they are called misandrists.
So here is what I think feminism is about. Feminism is about self improvement. It is about making women into the best versions of themselves, not so that they can compete with men, or outshine men, but so that both genders can work together for the enhancement of the human race. Feminism is not about equality, it is about equity. Because as I see it, men and women are such different people, and on that basis alone, we cannot be equal. What we can do however, is to appreciate our differences. understand that our different abilities, do not make one gender less capable, but instead complement each other. That with these differences, we can find a way to work together and move forward as a people. Feminism is not about making women equal to men, or proving to the world that women can do everything men can do. On the contrary, I think women were created to do everything men can’t do. Otherwise,there wouldn’t be much point in having both genders on the same planet. Think about it, why have two different genders that can do the exact same thing? And don’t get me wrong, our abilities, and talents do overlap, but it is not a competition, it is just more manpower. So maybe that is the problem with contemporary feminism, we are too busy trying to prove that women and men are equal, fighting for the same opportunities,political representation, basically just emulating men. Perhaps what we should be doing is instilling in our women, a sense of pride in being female.
Because when you understand who you are as a woman, when you fully grasp the magnitude of your abilities, you wont need affirmative action or laws to be enacted so that you can have representation in parliament. You will realize that you are capable of getting these things for yourself. You will realize that you do not need to stay in an abusive or a relationship that is not fulfilling. You will know that it is okay to be single. you won’t need to rant about your boyfriend not being able to buy you the dress you saw. You are not dating an ATM machine for crying out loud. You will realize that you own your sexuality, and are therefore entitled to do with it whatever you damn please. You could choose to wait till marriage, or not. It is entirely your prerogative and no one has the right to make you feel bad for having a responsible sex life. You will realize that as a woman, you are and can be many things. You can be beautiful and ambitious and smart and sexual. That you should not be a slave to an image you have to uphold. You do not have have to choose pieces of an identity. You do not have to be just the smart one, or just just the good girl, or just the one with a smart mouth or just the good-looking one. My point, is you can be all of these things, simply because you can be. And yes, society will always try to polarize you, to break you down into bits they can understand. And you know why that is, because society has simple-minded people. And simple minds only think in black and white. To them you are either than angel or a whore. But you are a woman, and trust me that is as complicated and as magical as it gets. It would be a shame to lose your spark just so you can be accepted by a dying fire.
So maybe the next time your crush says you are not like other girls, how about you don’t smile sheepishly? How about you find your voice and tell him that the next time he wants to pay you a complement,he shouldn’t do it by alienating or disparaging you. Because girls blossom in hostile places. I don’t know why you wouldn’t wanna be that.