The day arrives when you finally get to hold your bundle of joy in your arms. Congratulations! It's a girl! You beam as you hold your little girl in your arms and vow to help her grow into a strong, confident and empowered young woman. But you also worry. The world is a rough and tough place and your little girl may be at a disadvantage. You quell all these worries and decide to just go with the flow.
As your little girl starts growing up, she starts asking questions. Why doesn't dad help out in the house more? Why did grandpa and grandma want the family to have at-least one son to support the family? Why can't I wear these shorts? What do you mean it isn't safe? Why should I have to 'be a lady' and compromise and smile when I want to laugh heartily while my brothers can belch and fart and swear because 'boys will be boys'?
You smile nervously and wipe your brow. This isn't how you envisioned this going. You expected her to grow up and enjoy the opportunities she got that you didn't get when you were her age. But here she is, asking for more. And yes, she raises valid points. But is it worth it? Is it worth upsetting social norms? Upsetting the order upon which the society is built?
The answer is yes, absolutely. Your little girl has realized that while progress has been made, there's a lot more to be achieved. And she will continue to voice her opinions and notice things that might not necessarily be fair and just, even if it means a large proportion of people will point fingers and try to shut her up.
So, here’s the truth. I am a feminist, plain and simple. The textbook definition of a feminist would be: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the two sexes.
In recent years, I have noticed that feminism as a movement has increasingly come to be misconstrued.
Feminism has often been equated to misandry, i.e. being prejudiced against men. This simply not true. Feminists stand against misogynists, people who perpetuate inequality as the standard for the society.
Now a lot of misogynists are men, and some can be women who have internalized misogyny and believe that everyone should succumb to a gender normative society where men are providers and protectors and women are nurturers and birth givers.
Obviously, there's nothing wrong with this mindset if it works for you, but to suggest that people who don't necessarily subscribe to this lifestyle are completely misguided is an inherently problematic notion. Not all women want to sit at home and raise kids. Not all men want to be involved in the rat race, completely uninvolved with the familial unit.
I understand that some things are hard to change and even within the feminist movement, there are certain things I am yet to fully formulate opinions on, for example the sexualization of women in the media. In my opinion, this would be alright as long as the same courtesy is extended to men as well. We all enjoy eye candy, and in a way, it is even empowering for women to express their sexuality if they so choose. The problem is when we start relegating all women to that role while not taking into account their achievements in other spheres.
Similarly, lots of women (including me) adore chivalry, some may even choose to be domestic and subscribe to traditional norms and that's okay too, it doesn't make you anti-feminist as long as you don't put other women down for their choices.