“Feminist: A person who believes in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes” – Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi.
There was a time being referred to as a feminist inspired pride in its believers. It was good to be considered a person who saw the potential in the girl child and encouraged her to rise.
Those were the days of Maya Angelou – The phenomenal woman. Those were the days of Michelle Obama, the wife of the President. Those were the days we looked up to Oprah Winfrey, the very epitome of women empowerment. Those were the days of Chimamanda Adochie.
“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important.
“Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”
These were the real feminists.
These days you want to gather your skirts and run at the mention of the word feminist. A bad reputation precedes it. It is like the plague that is trying to rid the world of all its rational thought. There are feminists, strong women who believe in women. Then there are mad women who have watered down the term feminism, they have done all kinds of demeaning things to it and changed its meaning. Feminism has been reduced to skeleton of what it used to be.
These days, a woman just wakes up and says you know what, I am not shaving my armpits and pubes. When asked how and why they arrived to such a bizarre decision, they will blame it on feminism. They will say that the male dominated society has forced them to shave and they will rebel against it. Refusing to shave your bits is poor hygiene, not feminism.
You cannot be reeking of sweat and killing everybody within 100-metre radius with your stench and crying feminist. Those two are not even close to each other.
Then came those who walk around town looking like militants, abortion sympathizers, gold-digging, deliberate child-support hunting baby mamas (well, hey Blac Chyna) and loud, bile-spewing haters of men. They too are claiming to be part of the feminist movement. That is not feminism; it is just an adolescent stage that has dragged out too far.
Feminism should not be allowed to accommodate all freaks of nature that taint its good name and intentions. These are the people who have made the world to believe that feminism belongs to bitter, tired women. Women who wish to die but do not want to die yet, and resort to making life unbearable for men.
Men, women and feminism
Feminism was never about putting one gender on top of the other; it was about a balance. This was never a competition between the men and the women; it was never a girl/boy thing. It is not reveling in the misfortunes of the other gender.
One gender cannot exist independent of the other; otherwise all men would have been in Pluto and women on Earth. If there was the slightest chance that the genders could exist independently, God would have made it happen. But Adam, his case study, almost died of being lovelorn in the vast Garden of Eden. That is when God, in His wisdom, decided to provide him with a companion.
Later on, he left Eve long enough for the devil to come and convince her to get them kicked out of the Garden of Eden. I am sure that had Adam been close, the serpent wouldn’t have made a move on Eve and convinced her to partake of the forbidden fruit. This once again proves that we need each other, both genders, to compliment the weaknesses that are inherent in either gender.
We need each other
Adam left Eve alone to wander about the Garden, because somehow in the time that he was alone and without a wife he hadn’t wandered enough. So he ran off, and we cannot say that he was drinking till late because then the world was free of booze.
(If I ever make it to heaven I would love to ask Adam where he was, what exactly he was doing in a Garden which he had walked from one end to the next and found nothing much. In a Garden that he had almost fallen into depression because he could not find his kind, God gives him his kind and he leaves her alone for long enough to get us all thrown out of the Garden. He denied us a chance to walk naked, imagine how glorious it would be if we all walked naked).
Anyway, that aside, we should not make the mistake the people in the Garden made. Both genders need one another. The scale just has to be evened because for the longest time, one gender was looked down upon. The battle lies in putting the genders on an equal pedestal. It lies in filling the valleys and leveling the mountains that lie in the path of achieving equality.
When the girl child is too elevated and the boy child forgotten, irresponsible baby daddies happen. Street children happen. Drug cartels arise, the youth are used by political bigwigs and encouraged to beat the daylights out of one another for someone they might never see again for the next five years. When the boy child is forgotten, Gaza gangs happen.
We should not all be feminists, until we properly understand what the real feminism entails.