Debunking some myths

Things about Feminism we haven’t understood

Not many would understand what it is, but most of us definitely have an opinion about Feminism and how feminists are- the way they talk, look and of course how strongly opinionated they are- a trait that typically doesn’t go well with being feminine.

I’d had my first brush with this philosophy during my college days and gradually somewhere down the line I realised someone needs to make it simpler for all to understand.

Many people I know, including women have an image of Feminists that may intimidate many- imagine a fire wielding monster who is stubbornly wanting to do things her way- right or wrong, who is intolerant of men and their company and certainly cannot make for a good wife as ‘adjustment’ is harder for them.

Thanks to the book, ‘We should all be feminists’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, for putting into words, rather simply what Feminism is all about and why everyone should consider subscribing to this philosophy. Digging into the traditions and culture of Nigeria, the award winning author takes the readers through various anecdotes explaining the immediate need for people (regardless of gender) to believe in a fairer world, in a more equal world. Interestingly, the book also answers a lot of the myths surrounding this philosophy:

Here’s an excerpt she shares talking about an incident in her school where despite being an A grader and aspiring for being a class monitor, she was not given the opportunity as it could only have been a ‘boy’ with similar qualities.

“If we do something over and over again, it becomes normal. If we see the same thing over and over again, it becomes normal…If we keep seeing only men as head of corporations, it starts to seem ‘natural’ that only men should be head of corporations.”

If you’d read my review of Becoming, I’d covered the agony Michelle faced when her dress to a formal event became a story for the newspapers, whereas Barack never had to think twice about what to wear. Again, the watertight role of a first lady as has been historically defined, leaving very less room for an ambitious woman to contribute in nation’s development.

She does not, in anyway, contends for or argues about the superiority of a gender over the other. Historically, she says, men have been leading because we started with a world

“….in which physical strength was the most important attribute for survival; the physically stronger person was more likely to lead. And men in general are physically stronger.”

But the world she asserts, has changed, requiring all of us to re-look at what we have been considering normal, for ages.

Boys must not be conditioned to become rough, to suppress their emotions, or ‘to be afraid of fear, weaknesses or being vulnerable’. They should have the pressure to prove their masculinity.

Girls, similarly, should not be raised ‘to have ambition, but not too much, to be successful, but not too much, otherwise you will threaten the man’.

So, what does the author aspire for?

A fairer world. A world of happier men and women who are truer to themselves.”

And we achieve this by raising them differently because ‘Culture does not make people. People make culture.’

And the culture both inside homes and within organisations, need to celebrate people for who they are.

On a journey of being my best version. Sharing all that inspires me.