All The Best Things You Missed About Feminism
‘Feminism’ is the most-searched word of 2017. Really popular, right? The world is talking about feminism more than ever before which is a really goodthing. But the aversion to feminism remains, especially in Africa. This is most likely because many of our searches lead to misconceptions of the ideology, or we simply want to remain in a bias world.
It’s not too difficult to get confused. People have claimed feminism in one sentence and advocate patriarchy in the following action. Here are a few examples on misconceptions of feminism.
‘Feminism is a Western importation into Africa.’ ‘Feminism is UnAfrican.’
The African is a continent holds the oldest civilisations of the entire world. patriarchy has been the order for as long as history tells in most parts of the continent and with this comes the counter-narrative of African feminism. Feminism in Africa is part of our heritage because for centuries African women have struggled to promote their statuses in social, cultural, economic, religious and political spheres. This movement is mirrored in other continents across the world, taking different forms. The term ‘feminism’, since it was coined by Charles Fourier in the 19th century, is now a uniform term for the advocacy for gender equality across the world. It is adopted by persons and applied according to their experiences. So now you know that feminism is indigenous to Africa.
‘Male supremacy has existed for a long time. As women, we have to take over and rule. We are above men.’ AND/OR ‘I hate men. All of them. We should wipe them off the earth.
This is misandry; basically patriarchy in reverse. Misandrists are prejudiced against men and advocate for sexual discrimination, sexual objectification of men, violence against men and the hatred of men. Feminism and misandry are worlds apart.
‘Feminism equals to man-hating and lesbianism.’
The feminist ideology does not view men as the enemy even as they are the major beneficiaries of patriarchy. Rather, patriarchy and all its manifestations are the ills that feminism seeks to expunge. The feminist movement is not a space for women alone. Men that believe in gender equality are feminists. Men should be feminist to raise their voices against suppression and gender bias, even as they benefit the most from patriarchy. A society where genders are equal is a society where true and sustainable development can be achieved.
Sexual orientation does not define your thoughts on feminism. There are lesbians that are not feminists and feminists that are men, or not lesbians. Remember to dissociate sexual orientation from thoughts on gender equality.
‘Feminists only want equal pay but not equal responsibilities.’
The advocacy for equal pay for equal work irrespective of gender is core to the feminist agenda. Feminists recognise that your gender should not be a basis for your pay at work. Men and women should be paid the same where they do the same jobs. And they should be provided with equal opportunities for promotion without gender discrimination. At the same time, feminists also recognise that the prescription of gender roles do more harm than good. A man should not bear financial burden merely because he’s a man. Feminism is for equal rights and equal responsibilities, not one for the other.
None of those ideas portray feminism. Feminism simply means that people are equal socially, economically and politically whether they are female or male and that measures are put in place to promote this belief.
Essentially therefore, it means that a person’s gender should not dictate whether or not to run for political office, it should not determine how much they get paid at work or the kind of jobs they get, and it definitely should not influence how much weight your voice carries in social circles. Feminists strive for more women occupying true positions of authority and better representation in government; and that votes should be made based on persons’ intellectual capabilities and not gender.
Feminism demands that girls receive education as well as boys. It says loudly that every child, every child, is to have the equal opportunities in receiving a proper education. Feminism respects the liberty of persons to choose for themselves what kind of courses they want to study in school, what kind of jobs they wish to take up, whether they want to work from home and so on. Anything that prescribes that a person should not apply for home economics because he is male or architecture because she is female is limiting of a person’s choice. Perhaps more than that, the result is a limitation on the human resources of a nation and it hampers maximization of harnessing talents, abilities and passions.
Feminism promotes the idea of respect for all persons, their gender is merely a construct which should not be a basis for discrimination. Feminism denounces toxic masculinity; a manifestation of patriarchy that strips men of expressing emotions except anger exhibited through violence.
Feminism strives for and end to the patriarchal order, gender stereotypes, gender-based violence and everything related. It works for egalitarianism by seeking to transform society so that women are recognized as the equals that they are.
Feminism preaches that boys and girls be equally accountable for their actions, sexual and otherwise.
These are all the best things you missed about feminism.
Be Feminist. Make Africa better. Make the world better.