So there is this lady who insists on carrying all her luggage, and goes through her day-to-day life without asking for much assistance because she considers herself very independent. Her favorite office-wear is her dark bland trouser suits. She never cries or loses her cool in public, and rarely ever admits her love for soap operas. Yes, this lady is a closet romantic, and enjoyed reading Pride and Prejudice as much as the next lady. In fact, she is an almost complete different person around her girlfriends. Be that as it may, she would not show that feminine side of hers to many because she believes for people to respect her at work, she should tone down her feminine traits, being in a high position in the company. All the above makes her feel more like a ‘complete Feminist.’ Why did I put those words in quotes you say? Well, sometimes I think she goes too far. That was until I was out shopping the other day, when I came across this beautiful pink cardigan. I wanted to buy it. It would complement my outfit for the workshop presentation I was to give over the weekend.
But then I hesitated.
Wouldn’t it make me look too girly? Maybe I should take another colour; something not as bright, so that my audience will take me more seriously, I subconsciously thought. That was the moment when it dawned on me where us women sometimes go wrong.
The aim of Feminism is not to turn women into men. The fight for gender equality came about because women ought to be respected and valued as much as men. The fight for feminism happened when times changed, and women had to also get education and gain employment to live and satisfactorily survive in this world. It came about because a woman was only seen as a sexual being, and the boss asked her for ‘favours’ in order to give her the job or promotion she deserved. Feminism is promoted because despite their qualifications, women miss so many opportunities just because of their gender.
The fight for feminism arose because women weren’t respected in their professions. That when a woman and a man were seen giving service in a hospital, the society was quick to assume that the man was the doctor, and the woman his assistant- then treated them accordingly. That young girls would grow up thinking they can only become assistants, but never be qualified enough to become presidents, architects and managers.
Gender equality is promoted because young girls are made to believe they are not good enough, and cannot achieve much just because they are female. Which assumably makes boys more deserving of education and parental investment. And in the occasion women do get into prestigious employment, they are not held in high regard, their contribution is disregarded, they are paid less, and are not respected- compared to the men in the same positions.
Feminism, means (listen careful people) that a woman can choose whatever profession she puts her mind into and can excel in it. It is a plea to the society to value the woman as much as they value the men. Feminism is an appeal to the world not to deny women opportunities just because they are female. Feminism not only advocates for societal, economic and political equality, but also for the equality of choice. That a woman can choose to be an engineer, a C.E.O, a land-owner, a business woman, a governor, if she wanted to, and her being female would not be a reason to be disqualified. It also means that a woman can choose to be an assistant, a janitor, a tailor, a secretary, a stay-at-home mom or a hair dresser because she is qualified for it and/or is doing it because she wants to and it makes her happy, but not because women cannot achieve more, or that the society expects it of her, being female.
In other words, the fight for gender equality allows girls to believe in themselves and their worth. To know that they are as capable of becoming successful professionals in whatever field, and for this reason, the society is to appreciate their contribution and give them a fair chance. My point is, Feminism is NOT a tool to turn women into men. It explicitly urges the society to value and give opportunities to women because of merit, and not to deny them because of the kind of genitalia they posses. For this reason, us women do not have to dress or act masculine to get the respect we deserve. It should be okay to be feminine, and overly graceful, and ladylike, and stylish (and once in awhile emotional) because Feminism is a fight for being women. Trying to become more manly to get respect, defeats the whole purpose of Feminism. Cause feminism says both women and men are deserving, and that you do not have to be a man to be more deserving. Most astonishingly, we forget the obvious fact that our biology and physical attributes will never allow this to happen anyway.
So ladies, be ladies. Be you. You, are just as capable enough to do great things.