I’m a feminist. I’m also a humanist, a liberal, an anarchist sometimes, socialist otherwise. So many tags and categories and subcategories. These are words and boundaries drawn by all of us. Limiting words. Words that have been used and abused. Where lies the meaning of these words? Consider the term ‘feminism’. What it means to you is probably not what it means to the person sitting next to you. There is no unity in thought and that’s quite scary.
The feminist agenda is at this present moment, far more advanced than it was at any point in human history. Yet, we couldn’t have been more far behind.
Today, I’m in half a mind to tear down the kinds of casual sexism that’s practised by both you and I. But that’s not fair because I could go on forever, and I value my time. But without even getting into those, I just want to reach out to the goodness in our hearts with this blog post. I hope I do.
The idea of society and living as a community however big or small (from countries to nuclear families), is something so dynamic, wouldn’t you agree? Our collective needs change with time. New ideas face criticism, old ideas are sometimes buried under personal interest and stand as a road block to progress – which is not necessarily a bad thing, it only helps strengthen a creative pursuit.
Gender roles is one of those old ideas. This is not an opinion, it’s very much a fact. Gender roles came from the matter of existence of two biological units of one species – the male who can’t offer his breasts to feed his children and the female who can. And as a matter of certain other biological factors, the male body type is said to be slightly more well equipped in terms of strength, than that of a female. This could be an evolutionary trait, it could also be a false fact – I’m not qualified enough to validate. What I do know, is that even if that is a fact, physical strength does NOT equate to authority. But quite unfortunately, since time immemorial, muscle power has helped define one’s sovereignty and authority. Thus, our automatic tendency is to equate strength to authority. I don’t need to elaborate more. You just need to look around. Our modern world is rife with examples, and then there is history…
Currently, we are the only intelligent life that we know of, in this universe. What does that mean? It means that we might be alone in this known universe that stretches beyond a point from where light from a 13 billion years ago hasn’t reached us yet. How many years have you been alive for? 20? 50? Okay fine, maybe you’re 100. How does that compare to a 13 billion(!) years? In this known universe, we still haven’t found another species that’s as intelligent or more intelligent than us. We are kind of alone that way. But being the only creatures that we know of, who are intelligent, is it so difficult to consider for a moment that maybe, our capacity to think is a gift? Is it so difficult to consider for a moment that bigger questions lie ahead of us than strength or authority?
I went off on a circular tangent, to come back to this point that strength is in many ways only inferior to intelligence. We may have had our misguided reasons to make Eve a product of Adam’s rib or any other bogus of the sort, but spare a moment for the women who are constantly troubled today, physically and mentally by disgraceful conduct of people who religiously (literally!) believe that women are inferior to men. It’s painful that such cruel atrocities are still directed at women only because of their sex – sometimes by other women who are unintentionally blinded by the disease of casual sexism.
Feminism is not an opinion. Feminism isn’t a call for attention. Feminism is only about the treatment of women with just as much respect, dignity and grace as men.
If you think it’s strange for a woman to earn a living and her husband to be a home maker, you are the reason we still need feminism.
Before I give this post a title and go to sleep. I want to apologize for sentiments that I may have hurt in my rant. I may have allowed personal opinion to creep into my writing, but please read past all that. Everybody deserves to be treated equally, and that’s all I wanted to say really.
PPS: If you have half an hour to spare, here is an interesting podcast from BBC that talks about why women live longer than men. It doesn’t address feminism as such but it’s an interesting episode, offering a lot of insight from many different angles. I wrote this post partly inspired by this podcast episode.