People sometimes ask me if I’m a feminist. I always respond with a resounding yes. And when I do, some look at me with gleeful eyes, while some have seemingly mixed emotions blanketed on their faces.
I am proud to call myself a feminist. I do not recall a specific moment when I decided that I should become one because “feminist” is not a label I decided to give myself overnight. Feminism is not a bandwagon I jumped on. For me, it started off as a nameless mindset that was cultivated since childhood as I grew up hearing of the atrocities happening to what the world calls “the weaker sex” – women. Domestic violence, rape, genital mutilation, and honor killings are just some of the many heinous acts women have been forced to face throughout history. So my feminist identity comes from my belief that all women deserve to enjoy the same rights and freedom as I do for they are in no way lesser than I am.
But I do understand why some, especially men, frown upon hearing the word. They think feminists (or “feminazis”) are man-haters who are on a mission to overtake men and, as Beyoncé puts it, run the world. After all, feminism is not a tightly-defined term and is therefore open to interpretation. As a result, there are different types of feminists who advocate for different causes (which even other feminists may not necessarily agree with). And there are quite a number of them who believe the movement is solely about empowering women and go as far as rejecting the roles of men in the society. Although I admire their determination to improve the lives of women, I refuse to stand with them.
The word “feminism” itself sounds very gynocentric, but I believe the aim of the emphasis is to empower women so as to allow them to reach the heights of men and in doing so, create a state of equilibrium in the society where men and women are equals. In other words, feminism supports neither misandry, nor matriarchy. It is gender equality that has been the movement’s primary motive since the beginning, and that is the way it should be.
Feminism is just another word for equality.