Saturday, September 27, 2014

What first got me engaged in feminism?

I was about to apply for a job offer as a social media associate for Everyday Feminism. I was supposed to answer the first of the five questions that will go in my cover letter. Then, one thing led to another and I have found myself writing this piece.

“Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” Naah! That’s what ultra-conservative people who are threatened by the social equality that feminism can bring along would say. My own version of feminism is this.

One does not decide to become a feminist but is rather born a feminist. That’s what I keep telling myself simply because I believe that ever since I was born I was meant to be a feminist. Your feminist personality starts to build itself and come to surface with each gender-related crisis you face in society. You become a feminist before you even know it. Then, when you accidently get introduced to the concept of feminism, you say to yourself “wow! That’s exactly how I feel and think about myself, about misogynists, about society.”
I got introduced to this concept about 3 years ago when my ex-boyfriend cheated on me and then dumped me for someone else. I felt weak and empty. I felt angry with myself all the time. I even hated all men. Nothing could make me feel better but the words of some feminists. They have taught me how to be strong and independent, how being a female should not weaken me but reinforce me, how emotional intelligence is a bless and not a curse, how I need to let go of the idea of being merely someone’s daughter, girlfriend or wife and 
start embracing the idea of being just me.

One tiny, silly and stupid thing as a breakup made me realize that practically all my life I have been treated as a second-class citizen, second-class person, second-class someone. All my life I have been treated as the less favored child than my brother, especially after I have learned that my parents were actually expecting a baby boy and not girl. All my life I have been trying to accept my mother telling me “I wish you were a boy” because to them I turned out to be too good, too smart, too ambitious to be a girl. All my life the blame has been put on me for everything and nothing; me, the daughter of Eve who caused the human race to be kicked out of heaven. My baby brother does something wrong, it’s my fault. He doesn’t succeed, it’s my fault. He stays out late, it’s my fault. My mother burns the food, it’s my fault. She has a fight with my sister, it’s my fault. I get harassed in the streets, it’s my fault. My boyfriend cheats on me, it’s my fault. My teacher hits on me, it’s my fault. My husband hits me, it’s my fault. It’s always my f*cking fault. And I need to simply embrace the idea and get used to it? Don’t think so!

Like any person who’s been recently and newly introduced to the concept of feminism (or any other concept), I misunderstood it. I thought it was supposed to give me immunity against all men, to intensify my hate towards all men, to avoid them and keep distance. But then, the more I read about it from a purely academic angle, the more I realized that my hatred will lead me to nothing but my own destruction. I learned that feminism is not about hating men but rather about putting an end to misogyny and patriarchy. I learned that we can find both misogynist women and feminist men. You don't need to be a woman to defend women's rights. You don't need to be a woman to be a feminist. Feminists do not hate men. They hate misogynists. BIG difference! Real feminist organizations and true feminists seek to realize equality between women and men and not to pave the way for reverse-sexism. Simple as that!

Some people accuse me of not being feminist enough simply because I’m not a member of any feminist organization. Others accuse me of being too much of a feminist and see me attacking them in every post I write or opinion I share. Well, I’m neither this nor that. I don’t see myself in any of the current associations (yet!). I want to stand up for myself first so that I will be capable of standing up for others. I want to well-educate myself and let all the needed concepts soak in. I believe in intellectual feminism more than any other type. I believe one day my books will be read and will change the lives of many. My feminist authors changed the lives of many of their readers through their books, without even leaving their doorsill. Why can’t I? I believe in raising awareness among young men and women. I believe in educating and treating the coming generations as human beings and not as girls and boys.

Feminism helped me to let go of my anger, forgive and move on. It helped me accomplish a better version of myself, dream of a better version of myself. If feminism can do me this good and help me this much, then I bet it can help other men and women.

No comments:

Post a Comment