Last year, I was with my grandma who was from one of the European countries, the United Kingdom, before her body became frozen like the air she breathes now. That day was highly unthinkable for me after she shared a story which today looks quite unimaginable.
Women in Europe and in the world at that time were restricted to domestic life while the men dominated the public life. Women were denied their fundamental human rights to be educated, own property, work, use contraceptives and they even had no control over their bodies and children. Some wives were sold out by their husbands in some parts of Germany. Also, women couldn't even do business without the presence or representation of a male figure. They had no right to vote or be voted for. They had no life other than cooking, cleaning and bearing children.
The story looks familiar, yeah? Your grandma told you a similar story too? Imagine your wife, girlfriend, daughter or sister is meant for your or a man's sexual satisfaction alone or just bearing children. You grab her without her consent and have sex with her because she is your wife. Yes, your wife without her consent not to think of a random girl you see on the street or in your school. I thought sex was a mutual thing. To make it worse, most women didn't even enjoy the sex as it were. The men just cared about their urges alone without thinking of the women involved. They just penetrated without stimulating the women's sexual urges. Why was/is that? By the way, what do I know? However, that was how women lived their lives until a woman in France looked into the future and began a movement as early as the 20th century called Feminism. We won't delve into history though.
The first-wave feminism movement began in the 20th century when women cried for the right to vote. They were nothing but mere housewives and children bearers. They had no say on how the country should go or be. Their decisions didn't even count at home not to think of the society. They were just women who were born to bear and nurture children and cook for the husbands. The first-wave movement promoted the right to vote.
The second-wave feminism movement started in 1960. Here, the women campaigned for legal and social equality. This went beyond franchise or suffrage to the abolishing of gender discrimination while the third-wave feminism which kicked off in the 1990's was a continuous reaction to the perceived failures of the second-wave movement. It challenged what being feminine was in the second-wave and further sought equality because they believed that gender roles are due to social conditioning.
Welcome to the fourth-wave-feminist movement. This commenced in 2012 and it's associated with the use of the social media. Its focus is on justice for women and opposition to sexual harassment and female-based violence. They focus on street and workplace harassment, campus sexual assault and rape culture.
Having known why feminism started, it is important to clear our misconceptions about it. What then is not feminism?
1. It's not a Disgusting Mean Nasty Spiteful Vindictive Man-Hating Philosophy
Men and boys shouldn't see the concept of feminism as man-hating but a cry for equal opportunities. It's just a range of political movements, ideologies and social movements, according to Wikipedia, that shares a common goal which is to define, establish and achieve the political, economic, personal and social equality of the genders. This movement also includes fighting gender stereotypes and seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.
2. It's not a Threat
It's not a threat and it's not a means of disrespect or disregard. It's not depriving men of opportunities. The concept of Gender Equality is just as clear as it is-- creating equal opportunities for the genders which the females have been deprived of right from time. Men have had and are still open to the opportunities but women had not had and now is the time to create opportunities for them. It's not a means of depriving boys of opportunities. It's not a means to dominate the men or boys. Nobody is dominating anybody. It's just a means to curb gender based violence. In as much as the men wouldn't want to be abused physically, emotionally, physiologically and sexually, the women shouldn't be too. The men shouldn't abuse the women and vice-versa.
3. It's not a Girls' Movement Only
Feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It's the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes in reference to the Merriam Webster's dictionary. If this is what feminism is, do you think it's just a movement for just the females? The boys should be involved. Men should be involved because gender equality promotes productivity and economic growth. When a woman is empowered as the man, the home prospers as well as the society.
4. It's not the fight for just a Goal but a Right
Feminism is not just a fight for Gender Equality which is one of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. It is a fight for the fundamental human right. You are shocked? Don't be. Gender Equality is not just a goal but a right.
I'd discuss how Gender Equality is one of the fundamental human rights on my next blog post. Do you like this? Are you being educated and informed? What did you think feminism was about? Kindly drop your comments in the comment box and don't forget to share and like if you do.
My English grandma that day said, 'If you asked me 80 years ago if the world would attain parity in terms of primary education for both sexes, I would have objected it; if you had asked me if women would be doctors, lawyers and the likes today, I would have argued it. But today, the world is revolving and if women who were merely child bearers and cooks as I was are now moving to the public sphere, I believe strongly that Gender Equality can be achieved'.