What is feminism? To the oblivious man, it equates to women wanting more power. (than men, apparently) I would not entirely disagree because that could possibly form one of several facets of feminism in the eyes of certain feminists. However, feminism is not simply about women fighting for power. Feminism has also attempted to define women’s rights, their entitlement to equality as well as their gender roles.
Marie Shear, a writer and editor, wrote in 1986, “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.”
Simply put, feminism is a mode of defining and achieving equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women.
We have to admit that the world in which we currently reside in is one that has been dominated by the male species for centuries. We have been brought up in a patriarchal society, embedded with patriarchal notions and traditions. Our perspectives, modes of rationalising, roles in society, and even personality traits have been prescribed using the male species as a benchmark of sorts. The dominant ideology of patriarchy, unfortunately, still exists today in many societies and cultures around the globe.
The current state of feminism is one that has evolved over the years. I personally do not approve of the changes in the feminist movement. However, it is important to perhaps question the reason for the switch in demands – from wanting basic equality to wanting more; more power than men. If women are fighting for more power and also want to show the world that they can be better than men, isn’t this basically the result of having been suppressed for the span of more than a millennium?
If someone tells you that you cannot achieve something, is it not human to want to prove that you can? Similarly, women want to prove that they can be on par with men, or even better than them, simply because they have been oppressed all along and have been denied the chance to accomplish certain tasks due to their gender. The very fact that they were granted equality only after decades of rallying for it could have triggered them to want more power than their male counterparts. So, why not if they can handle it well?
Allow me to remind you that comparing physical attributes of men and women, cannot and should not be used as a form of argument here.
Certain things that men can do, women cannot, and vice versa. This, however, should not be used to define gender roles. The mother can be the disciplinarian of the household while the father can be the doting parent. The mother can be the sole breadwinner while the father can be a stay-home Dad. Just because this is not common does not mean that it is not possible or feasible. Why then is this not common? Simply because the (patriarchal) society considers it to be “wrong”. This can be attributed to males having had the power to dictate gender roles and societal norms for eons.
What we need to do is to stop thinking of the human race in terms of gender. We definitely need to stop awarding authority to a certain gender just because they are born with a certain set of genitals. Power should not be linked to one’s gender. Women and men should be able to live with no fear or guilt of not having conformed to societal norms. We do not need to and cannot change society’s perceptions, but we do need to accept the fact that men can be vulnerable and women can be independent. We need a society in which being male or female has no impact on the way one lives. Maybe then, the feminist movement might just cease to exist.
Happy International Women’s Day to all the ladies reading this!