When I Say “I Am A Feminist”

Not everyone has that boldness to come out straight in a society where “feminism” as a word is frowned upon to say “I am a feminist”. Not everyone wants to be identified with that label because of what people have made out of it. Many people don’t frown at the major ideologies of feminism, they frown at the word because of what they have wrongly interpreted it to mean. Some people,  in a bid to discredit feminism, confess allegiance to “humanism” not knowing that humanism depicts what they likely don’t want to stand for.

It is hard to say you’re a feminist and still be looked upon as a sound Christian in the part of the world where I come from. As a feminist, you have to be strong and wise to know that you don’t necessarily need to make enemies with people who say “feminism is demonic”, you are the one who knows what you stand for, you are responsible for what you express but you are not responsible for what they understand. Try to make them understand if they refuse to,  ignore them. It is harder when you claim to be a minister of the gospel and then you also say you are a feminist, some people deal with you in contempt. Nobody wants to make another angry, nobody wants to be insulted, nobody wants to be rejected. So, some people just stay mute and only hail those who are strong enough to speak out.

People say you can’t be a feminist and also be a Christian but I never read a book on feminism, I never idolized any feminist nor got coached by anyone of them. I simply saw something in the character of Jesus, studied God’s original idea on women and lived with that mindset. I came across people who were speaking my language in the aspect of the rights of women and supposed equal access to opportunities, I realized what they do was referred to as “feminism” and I keyed in. Being a feminist simply means “being human correctly”.

The label isn’t important to me, I can still drink my coke if the label slips away from the bottle. You may call it Pepsi-Cola, another may call it Limca-Cola but what you call it isn’t important to me, what is important to me is that I drink my coke. I can still eat my bread if the label gets carried away by the wind. Argue the label, it’s your business but I will go ahead and enjoy my bread.

Feminism is about equality and fairness of all gender but people don’t think so since the name itself seem to focus on being feminine. However, “feminism” as a word has a lot of things attached to it,  a long history of abuse that women and the girl child had faced, a long history of the neglect and subjection women are faced within the social world. It is a movement that was made necessary as a result of what the women are going through and no matter the extent of extremism that exists in it, we have a handful of good that it has brought the women and the society.

Boko Haram isn’t an indication that every Muslim is violent or terrorists. As much as my faith forbids me to accept there are other ways to God, it doesn’t forbid me to see the good in others. There are good Muslims, kindhearted and unable to kill a fly! Boko Haram and other terrorists claim they are the true Muslims but I know better. In the same way, feminist-extremists aren’t what defines feminism. When you check up the dictionary, what you find as the meaning of feminism is this:

1. The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. This includes the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.

2. Organized activity is the support of women’s rights and interests.

It is not aimed at the destruction of the marriage institutions, it has nothing to do with marriage but has everything to do with the rights of the woman as it applies anywhere including marriage. The target of feminism is not to define women as the heads of the family or the head of the man; that argument is not even important. The target is to make people understand that women should have the same level of liberty and opportunities that men have, not because they want to compete or envy the man but because they too are humans and possess the skill and ideas to get the ball rolling.

Feminism has never meant to me and many people, the destruction of marital structures, it has never meant the superiority of women over the men and it has never desired same. Anyone would claim anything with any label they want, fake drugs can be packaged with original labels,  fake pastors still roam the streets and fake Christians still move about in their hypocrisy but with a tag of Christianity. It doesn’t mean the originals aren’t there and it doesn’t fault the original to any degree.

In fact, feminism isn’t even about making men and women equal, it is about making their rights and opportunities equal. It is about mutual respect, acceptance and privileges. It is not about trying to make the women great, it is about exposing the greatness of women; it is about the great women.

Ignore those who hide under the label of “feminism” to bash men. Anything other than “women having equal opportunity, respect and privilege that the men have” is not feminism. We would hold conferences, citing how some women have become endangered species in the hands of wicked policymakers, we may write volumes of books on this stand but we are only using various means, various examples, various subjects, various words and various medium to say

“Women are equally as important as men, they are humans and should enjoy all the privilege, opportunity and respect that men enjoy. Let strength be proven individually. Let women make their marks, we shouldn’t keep subjecting women to stereotypes that were based on assumptions”.

We are not saying “men are scumbags” we are not saying that men are the problem of women. We aren’t even saying that the world will be better without men! It has nothing to do with your religion but it has everything to do with being human. We are saying “we need each other, men alone can’t do it, women alone can’t do it but if we do it together; respecting our ideas, giving room for everyone to try, we achieve will greater success”.

This is what I mean when I say ” I am a feminist” and nothing has changed about that stance.

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