I’ve always been a fan of labels. I know this isn’t a normal thing to enjoy, but I’ve always liked having a concise way of describing myself. Sometimes I’m a bibliophile, a minimalist, a student, a Christian… whatever, I like labels.
However, one word I was never able to get on board with was ‘feminist’.
To me, I thought feminists were trying to say they were better than men and were using their gender to feel better about themselves, ‘oh, he didn’t give me that job because I’m a woman, he gave it to some man with a PHD and 5 years of experience instead – that’s so sexist’.
I also didn’t like how the label reflected on more traditional women, who wanted to be stay-at-home mum’s and cook for their husbands and work part-time – I had met a few feminists in my time who seemed to degrade these views and made these valid life choices seem worthless.
I guess my opinion started to change as I got older and I started studying English. English is one of those subjects that leaves your brain exhausted at the end of the day from all the thinking you’ve had to do, and for a while, a lot of my time was occupied with thoughts about feminism, and how I felt about it.
Although I still wouldn’t label myself a feminist, I believe my mindset has changed significantly, and I’ve become a lot more aware of the inequality in our world; in our books, in our speech, in our culture. I see all these inequalities now.
Although I’m sure this opinion will be controversial, I do believe that white-women in first world countries are poor advocates for feminism. Forgive me if I don’t feel that sorry that you didn’t get promoted when there’s a girl in Africa forced into a marriage at 12 years old and pregnant for most of her teenage years.
I believe that women are strong, beautiful and independent, but if we approach life assuming that it’s going to be against us, we’re never going to reach our full potential. Every downfall is not because you’re a woman. Every time you’re passed over for a promotion is not because of your gender. Yes, there will be occasions when you feel discriminated against, but knowing when to fight and when to take it in stride is an important skill.
I’m not going to start using unisex pronouns anytime soon, but I would no longer be offended if I was mistaken for being a feminist. I am well aware that many of my thoughts of literature are influenced by my views of women and that my reviews on this blog reflect that.
For me, feminism is standing up for women who are discriminated against and who have no control over their lives, women who have been downtrodden or degraded.
Feminism should not aim to tear men down, but rather to build women up.
Feminism should be united, no matter the choices a woman makes or the path she chooses for herself, whether it’s in the home or in the office – you do you.
I know this isn’t my usual type of post, but it had it be said. Whether you’re a man, a woman, a feminist or a misogynist, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!