The Big Scary F Word; Feminism

When I was in High School, I was mopping our house as part of house work. One gentleman came to drop a package at our place and saw me bent down mopping. The gentleman gave me one scornful look and as he left our place, he remarked that I was very stupid for doing work that should be done by women. I think it was that moment, even if I might not have known it, that I chose to be a feminist.

Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi quipped that a feminist is a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. I like to agree more with a trivial old quote that says “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human.”

Despite the traction that the feminism agenda has gained, it still continues to be trivialized and almost to a large extent, exclusively linked to “Man-Hating” and me thinks this fallibility should be taken responsible of by both genders.

Traditionally, men are brought up thinking they are better than women. My nephew, in standard four, was once very mad at coming out number 2 in his class. Despite that being a very enviable position, it didn’t augur well with him that he had lost to a girl and it took a long talk, and a few ice cream cones to prove to him that women are just as smart as men(Perhaps even smarter, but that is an argument for the neuroscientists).

Some women have also been conditioned to think that men will forever be better than them and they have no option but to submit to whatever the man wants; which is a basis for a lot of problems.

To paraphrase Chimamanda, “Men are taught to compete with each other (in academia), while women are taught to compete with each other for the attention of the man.

In our day and age, it’s almost a wonder how such glass ceilings have not been shattered.

However, all hope is not lost. The works of artists like Beyonce, Lena Dunham and Taylor Swift have acted as a fulcrum to balance both genders.

British actress Emma Watson, in latent collaboration with Yousafazai Malala, have championed the #HeForShe campaign; which was an effort to get the men involved in the Feminism Debate.

Credit needs to be given to the campaign as more and more men got involved and it created a paradigm shift.

Men began to realize that Feminism is not synonymous with manhating; that feminists are not on a witch-hunt to take away their collective sense of “Manhood.”

Women also began to realize that being a feminist does not mean you hate men; that to be an empowered woman does not come about by humiliating a man.

Inevitably, we cannot run away from the fact that both genders will have their differences as predetermined by Biology, Environment, and Culture etc. But in the end, in terms of Social Class, Economic Sustenance and Political Identity, Men are just as equal as Women.

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