There are so many questions that all of us have when it comes to the topic of feminism. Questions like; What is Feminism? Who is a feminist? Are feminists a group of women who have been hurt by men and now resort to saying men are trash whenever they can? Is feminism associated with empowerment? Am l a feminist and if lm not what does it mean for me?
According to Oxford Languages, Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. In my own understanding, feminism is a robust egalitarian movement that advocates for equal rights amongst everyone regardless of gender. It is providing an equal ground for both men and women, where we are all given equal opportunities and also realizing that it is not meant to push up only one gender. Feminism does not seek to push an agenda that women and men are the same, because it is evident we are different in the way we are physically built, it is there to acknowledge that we are equal. Many people fear that feminism will overturn time-honored traditions, religious beliefs, and established gender roles. It is important to realize most of these things we had put in place as tradition or culture were put in place by patriarchy to ensure that women are forever beneath them. Culture can change, beliefs can also change, and if for nothing but the main purpose of creating a better society. Hence, it is important that we realize what women are advocating for is the basic things for a normal human being. Founding feminists were at the frontline advocating for greater access to education; more equitable pay with men; the right to initiate divorce proceedings; the right of women to make individual decisions regarding pregnancy (including access to contraceptives and abortion). Feminism has no intentions to belittle men nor is it for female supremacy. It is only a pity that some people have turned feminism into hatred for men hence there are some beliefs that Feminists are bitter and angry women who blame and hate men.
One thing we can never separate from Feminism is empowerment.
In many places, people speak of feminism they will always talk about empowerment. I believe it’s because empowerment strongly goes hand in hand with a woman having her rights and being released from the shackles of patriarchy. I have had a couple of conversations with my friends whereby we argue if Feminism means l support women in everything l do even though l am against it, for instance, some women willingly enter into things like sex work, and some women decide to become housewives. Some believe this goes against what we are trying to fight for as feminists when we talk of empowerment. One thing l have come to appreciate through my experiences is that we don’t have to agree with the choices people make or believe in those choices, however, our feminism should regard that people have choices. In short, l see it as we all have the abilities to make choices and l should be able to respect your choices even if l don’t believe in them. So a female who willingly decides to be a housewife (used this because it’s one of the things that have women have been trying to move away from), should be equally seen as empowered as a woman who decides to go ahead and work at a 9 to 5 job. Empowerment is the ability to choose whatever we want without expectations on what we ought to choose.
Personally, l have had instances where l have questioned my feminism. I have had to learn my feminism from other people without understanding what it meant for me. I allowed myself to go back to the grassroots and find what Feminism meant for them, what sparked their fires, and what they hoped to achieve, Of all things, l believe it is important before you fully engross yourself in Feminism, you should have an understanding of what it is, what it hopes to achieve and how you can also shape your feminism in a way that you don’t feel you are riding on another train you don’t know the destination. There are so many conversations we can raise on Feminsim and l believe one important thing we should have is the ability to learn all of the dynamics associated with it and most importantly one should allow themselves to always learn.