I am a feminist… do you really know what that means?

Welcome to Flavoured Friday Fodder, today I like to ruminate/reflect on the powerful word Feminism. Do feel free to share your thoughts on the topic: happy reading.

Feminism according to Wikipedia is a range of movements and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women. It seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist ideally works to establish the rights and equality of women.

In 1963 the book ‘The feminine mystique’ was published by Betty Friedan, it raised the question “Is this all there is?” “Is this really all a woman is capable of doing?” I believe these questions form the foundation for a balanced approach to the feminist movement. Can a woman achieve more out of life? Should anyone other than herself have the right to limit her? In my opinion the various waves of feminist movements over the decades tackled these questions. Slide1

  • The first-wave of feminism occurred between the 19th and early 20th century. It fought for women’s suffrage: to secure women’s right to vote, to be elected and challenged certain legalities around women’s equality.
  • Second-wave feminism tackled issues around family law and the equality of women in relationships, protecting them from rape and discrimination. Started early in 1960, it continues till date.Slide2
  • Third-wave feminism in my opinion lacks the focus of it’s predecessors. However, it has shown a divide amongst the ranks with some feminist believing that there are differences between the sexes, and others asserting that there are no inherent differences between the sexes.

The fight for equality in my opinion should no longer be approached from a take over point of view, but rather a case by case approach should be used. It’s important to remember that it’s equality that formed the movement and not establishing women as leaders over men. Thus when I read the article in the guardian by Jessica Valenti find an excerpt below. Click here to read the article.

“I’ve often counted my blessings that I married a man who is as feminist as I am. The truth is that like a lot of people with busy work lives, I could not be effective at my job – or as a parent – if it weren’t for the fact that I have a supportive partner …. Men who stay at home to take care of children may be admired in ways that women never are, but they’re also derided for not being traditional breadwinners.”

What if her husband gets a job with better financial options for the family and she had to stay at home or cut back her hours, would she still see him as feminist and supportive? If the answer to the above is NO, then am sorry I don’t see that as a balanced feminist approach: if anything it negates the concept of equality. Slide3

Let’s consider another example as detailed by one of my fairy blog mothers Millie Thom: “The bad side of feminism that too often raises its ugly head, is women behaving in a derogatory way towards men and being totally obnoxious to any man who offers simple courtesy towards them -by keeping a door open for them, for example (I’ve seen that happen.) To me it’s common courtesy to keep a door open for anyone following behind me, man or woman.  But this particular woman gave the poor man who’d held the door for her a real mouthful of abuse and the usual accusation of being a chauvinist pig!”

Need I say more, feminism should not be an excuse for a breech of social etiquette and an ignorance of how to dress or behave under different circumstances. It shouldn’t turn us to man-haters.

The author, feminist and social activist Gloria Jean Watkins (aka Bell hooks) encourages women to acknowledge their differences whilst accepting each other: to embrace sisterhood a very important practice as no two women are the same. She believes there is a need to restructure the cultural fabric of power into one that doesn’t depend on the oppression of others. She calls for the involvement of men in the feminist movement to avoid the separationist ideology, shifting the original focus of feminism away from victimization, and towards mutual understanding, appreciation, and tolerance for all genders and sexes so that all are in control of their own destinies, uncontrolled by patriarchal, capitalist tyrants.

I strongly agree with Bell Hooks, as women we must not castigate each other for our choices.The essence of feminism is to give everyone the right to own their choices, to chart their own life paths. Problem is most of us don’t own or understand our equality, as Sigmund Freud said: “Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”

Equality means responsibility for your choices and decisions, owning up to your mistakes, learning to make compromises in relationships, sacrificing, giving yourself the right ‘to be‘ and according the same right to another.

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Ephesians 5: 21.

Comes before the remaining verses: in submitting we accept the best option at every given time under God, in loving we balance each other out: equal partners when done right.


13 thoughts on “I am a feminist… do you really know what that means?

  1. That was a fascinating and thought-provoking read, Chioma. I have to say, I agree with what you say. As you might expect, I particularly liked your phrase, ‘feminism should not be an excuse for a breech of social etiquette and an ignorance of how to dress or behave under different circumstances.’ You’ve also quoted some excellent thoughts of people like Jessica Valenti and Bell Hooks. The word ‘equality’ and what it entails will always hotly debated, but I definitely agree with the three lines of your summary, which begins with: ‘Equality means responsibility for your choices and decisions …’ Very well said.
    (I forgot to add a thank you for linking to my little snippet!)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I find it incredible than any person – woman or man – could behave so discourteously. The woman I mentioned was way out of order, in my book! A great post about the subject, Chioma. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful write up. Like you said I do wonder if she would really still consider her husband a feminist if those circumstances came up.
    if my honest desire were to be a stay at home wife and mother, I’m sure most feminists would think me backward and deprived and set about liberating me. When perhaps they should just accept that I have a different vision and goal for my life
    like your summary said according the same right to others is a big part of equality.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sis, I personally pray we learn to embrace our individuality as that’s a part of equality in my opinion. I have set a goal for myself from now into the new year ‘to own every decision I make.’ Might be difficult, but I think it would help me embrace equality truly.


  3. Nice write. …
    Feminism started off a positive movement, focused on giving women the basic rights God intends for every human being to have. As bad as it is now, feminism now focuses on destroying all distinctions in the roles of men and women….
    Women don’t want to get pregnant and bear children anymore, they don’t want a bedroom to be called” master’s bedroom” or have “man” ending the word” woman” .
    If as many of us that claims to be feminist would tell ourselves the truth, it would be more revealing to know that men and women are made to compliment each other

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I do agree with you that feminism is about equality, not one gender above another. However, I’m not sure about your implication that Valenti wouldn’t see her partner as a feminist if she was at home and he was the “breadwinner.” We don’t know how she’d react. In that excerpt, she’s appreciating her partner for supporting her in taking on the so-called unconventional role she has. I think her point is that society punishes men for not being the money maker, and she’s just pointing out that her partner is awesome for placing himself in that position and she’s recognizing him for that. It’s kind of (unfortunately) a big deal that nowadays more men are staying at home, and she’s just happy that it works for them.

    This example only tells us that Valenti’s husband supports her in having the breadwinning role — which is great — and assuming she wouldn’t view him as a feminist if the roles were reversed doesn’t say anything. It’s just contemplation. I’d agree that IF she didn’t, then it doesn’t sound like feminism because in that case she’d only see feminism as placing women “above” men. But ifs aren’t really a way to make an argument.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting. I agree with you IF isn’t a good foundation for an argument. My intention wasn’t to say for a fact that she wouldn’t see him as feminist if the case was reversed, but to draw attention to the other side of a balanced feminist perspective. I don’t know if this makes sense?

      Liked by 1 person

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