Somebody told me that I was a feminist. Another asked me if I was one, and I hesitated. You see despite our-beloved Beyonce’s support of this ‘movement’, Chimamanda Adichie’s celebrated quotes, and Emma Watson’s famous UN speech, the word ‘feminism’ is still, in some way, looked down upon. Today morning I read these two articles: ‘Do women want chivalry or equality?’ and ‘Do women really want equality?’, and I couldn’t help myself but give my two cents.
Generally, the words in both posts touch on women’s indecisive nature, and slightly make fun of the idea of feminism. In the first article, the author declares that women have double standards and vociferously claims that we women cannot have both chivalry and equality- that we have to choose one or the other. From the second article, we read about women who support women’s liberation and wish for days when women would lead half of the countries in our world, and yearn for an era where men and women will equally run companies and homes. However, the author claims that women say they want equal treatment but do not really mean it. The instigator goes ahead and quotes the (very low) universal percentages of women as political leaders, CEOs and other esteemed professions (‘of power’), then pronounce that women tend to flood in occupations such as paediatricians, teachers, and psychologists. In short, the article declares that women themselves choose not to be in high positions despite their bold demands of equal opportunity.
Do women want equality or chivalry? Honestly speaking- or rather writing- these two belong to completely different categories. It’s like asking me, ‘Do you like Theo Walcott or Tiger Woods?’. Yes they are both drop-dead gorgeous sportsmen, they look good on the green fields, and I wouldn’t mind having their babies, but one plays football (yes I’m British-oriented) and one plays golf! Gender equality has to do with human rights, while chivalry has to do with courtship and mannerism. In other words, opening doors for me, being polite towards me, providing for your family, protecting your loved ones, generally being mannerly, has nothing to do with equal working hours, equal earnings, and sharing some of the house chores. One is chivalry and the other is equality. You say I can’t want to be treated equally and still want to be treated like a princess. You say I shouldn’t claim to be at the same level and still want special treatment. Well I say, bullshit. Yes I do not usually curse, but such statements are worthy of my public utterance of an offensive word. Men do not really want to play this card; men do not really want us to be thaaat equal. Because if they do wish for such literal equality, they may as well not be surprised to see women cutting off their long beautiful hair, women not visiting the beauty salons, women not taking care of their nails (no manicure no pedicures), women choosing not to shower every day, women not shaving, women shouting and yelling in bars- and everywhere else, women not wearing make-up, women eating for ten, women having T-shirts and jeans as the only items in their wardrobes, women cupping their groins (and God forbid sag and swagger around), and women complete take over in bed. See where I’m going with this? Yeah, exactly.
Now I do admit that not many females feel bold enough to venture into positions of leadership, but what did you expect after years and years of the world telling them that such places are meant for men. It may take some time to change this mentality, but this is not the point. The point behind gender equality, the point behind women’s complaints of inequality, is that we want it to be our choice. Let the societal rules and regulations treat women and men equally because they perform and achieve the same things. Times have changed. Nowadays women work as hard as men, contribute to the house and family and, in more cases than I would like, raise kids on their own. At this point, we are both on equal grounds. For that reason, women deserve equal treatment, as far as gender rights are concerned. I’m talking education, occupation, political, economic and social rights. This is why ‘Gender equality’ was made a Ministry in different countries in the world. This is why female politicians are having the current debate on implementing the gender rule in Kenya. This is all what feminism is about.
Again I pronounce, feminism is about choice and equal fitting treatment of both women and men. It is not a matter of women dominating men, or a bandwagon of women forcing other women to take control in all areas. The cry of feminism is women rejecting to be treated as an inferior gender. It is women wanting to get as much benefits as men do, when they do decide to play the same game. It’s women wishing for the same rules because they are playing on the same court as men. And this is not because us women suddenly feel superior, but it’s mainly because in this era, the gender roles and communal expectations for men and women are not much different from each other. Women go to work, drive themselves, provide for themselves and the family, hold businesses, manage companies, repair the garage door (or at least call the repairman-or woman), are policy makers, among other things. Gone are the days when men worked, provided and protected the family as their female counterparts stayed at home. So let us not make this feminism thing a big controversy, cause it should not be. So ask me again, ‘I’m I a feminist?’
*puts on my high-heels, grabs a loudspeaker, and climbs on a high table *
Yes, I am a Feminist.
ION: Theo Walcott, Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton… Mmhh, it appears I have a type.