Feminism Isn’t Just A Word


When I was employed, I was getting paid what I thought was a significant amount of money. But then they hired a man who was working under my supervision but got paid more than I did. “Experience” they called it then. He was new to the industry. His experience wasn’t in the same field. But I thought it acceptable until I found myself in the same position, switching careers and still getting paid less.

I’m quoting that as an example because I want you to know, I understand the word feminism. It’s not JUST about the pay gap. Like I said, it’s an example. And I couldn’t be more happier to live in a time where #MeToo has happened and voices are being heard louder than ever and women are being acknowledged, not dismissed.

But does everyone truly understand the word Feminism?

I know a whole lot of feminists who understand that word and who I look up to for various reasons including this. But then comes the bunch. The bunch that this blog is about.

I’m not a submissive person. I can’t “Yes, Sir” to anyone at any moment in my life. This might even become the death of me. But I like it when the man I’m dating is the “Man” in our relationship. I like it when he makes the final call. “Take my words into consideration and make a good choice.” I’m okay with this. Actually, I’d choose this. I’d rather not be burdened with it all.

I dated a very emotionally unstable man for a significant period of time. I dealt with his mood swings and was there when he needed me and waited to be needed again when he threw me away. I understood why he acted that way and I understood what he needed from me. I made the choice to stay. Given the chance to do it all over again, I’d still choose the same.

I can’t stand up for myself. I’m terribly shy and anxious in a confrontational situation. I’d rather text my emotions than talk them. I don’t like being hated and I definitely do not like it when someone is mad at me. I’d choose to apologize for their fault because that’s one less person who holds negative emotions towards me.

I like having a career. I want to make a lot of money. I don’t like the idea of depending on anyone else for my needs. But if I ever needed to stay at home for my faimly, I’d do it without second thought. It would be the most obvious choice to me. I may not enjoy it all the time, but I wouldn’t regret it at all.

Which of these above factors make me a non-feminist?

Because isn’t that a major point of everything that’s happening right now? GIVING WOMEN THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE? The choice to marry. The choice to earn. The choice of clothes. EQUALITY & CHOICE. Allowing me to choose what I want without being ridiculed or looked down upon for it?

And if I want to choose to be a “homemaker” or a “submissive” or an emotional punching bag to a very disturbed man, isn’t that my choice?

Women, not all but the many I’ve come across, have this textbook definition for being a feminist – Independent – Financially and Emotionally, Unforgiving, Strong and if you go by Jyothika’s version – wears Aviators and climbs on lorries. But I’m none of those things. I’m independent to a point but I like needing him when I’m miserable. I like that he can say, “Hello” and my world is okay again. I like forgiving people even when they’re not apologising. I like being a little weak and wearing my heart on my sleeve, even if I know the other person is an asshole.

We are struggling so hard to get men to treat us as equals. But some of us forget that in that need, we’re taking away the choice from ourselves. We need to be united to get to where we need to be. But we’re squabbling on the inside because we don’t all understand what we’re even fighting for. To so many, it’s a label that makes them relevant. “I’m a feminist,” is something that makes them a part of the conversation. But what’s the point if you don’t understand what the conversation even is?

She can be a feminist and a housewife. She can be a feminist and in a shitty relationship. She can be a feminist and a stay-at-home mom. She can be a feminist and absolutely emotionally weak. She can be a feminist and extremely apologetic. SHE CAN BE A FEMINIST AND STILL BE HERSELF.

Because Feminism isn’t just a word. It isn’t just a label. It’s very real and very important.  And to those who got it right the first time, good for you and thank you!

To those who constantly pick on other women with, “Please! You don’t get to call yourself a feminist!” – Seriously, go take a class and educate yourself while the rest of us fight the battles for you.

33 thoughts on “Feminism Isn’t Just A Word

  1. tkabadi says:

    Hi Poornima,

    This blog touched my heart, because it feels like you described me here. And way better than I could have described myself. I’m glad you relate and understand so well to women almost everywhere. Because this is how we are and how we have been always. Just because people relate feminism to a woman who is ruthless doesn’t make it so. Thank you for writing this post. I can peacefully sleep every night knowing that I’m not alone. I really appreciate it.

    Regards, Tejaswini (a big fan of your writing)

    On 22-Feb-2018 10:37 AM, “Loud Thoughts Voiced Out” wrote:

    > LoudThoughtsVoicedOut posted: ” When I was employed, I was getting paid > what I thought was a significant amount of money. But then they hired a man > who was working under my supervision but got paid more than I did. > “Experience” they called it then. He was new to the industry. His expe” >

  2. Carol J Forrester says:

    This is a really strong post and you’re right. It sometimes seems like there is almost an elitism to feminism. Unless you tick all these boxes you can’t call yourself a feminist. It’s reassuring to see someone else talking about feminism boiling down to the freedom of choice rather than this rigid ideal of a ‘strong woman’.

  3. TheFitFeminist says:

    I LOVE this! You highlighted lots of really great points. I to, agree, that circumstances do not dictate whether or not you are a feminist, but rather, it is the ability to have a CHOICE and feel empowered enough to make those choices for oneself

  4. justaninkling says:

    I completely agree with you! These days, it feels as if the true definition of feminism is getting muddled with different things or ideas (*cough* feminazism *cough*) . Or rather, they are trying to make feminism fit into a single stereotype. This post describes my feeling perfectly and it’s written so beautifully!

  5. Stylograph says:

    Such an awesome blog…you wrote it so well..yes its our choices thats makes the whole difference to the world…neated explained and actually forced to get our ideas clear about the word “feminism”…😊😊😊😊

  6. Frede says:

    This, exactly. Feminism is about giving us, women, the choice to be whoever we are without being judged for it. It’s also about equality, i.e. men should be able to make the same choices (be a stay-at-home dad, earn less, etc.) without being less manly. Interesting and thougt-provoking post, well-done!

  7. HolyCakeDay says:

    I totally agree with many of your points. There are some wonderfully human feminists out there, but there are some who would be better off thinking 5 times before they speak. I have given up my job twice to raise my children and athough I may miss working, I know for a fact I would have been 100 times more miserable if I had missed my kids as babies. Choosing what makes us feel better is the best way to express our feminism, irrespective of whether our choice is family, career, militantism, or a combination of things. The worst kind of feminists I have ever come across are actually those who deny us our free will, invalidating our choices to begin with by blaming them on our upbringing and the inevitable result that women raised in a patriarchal environment will become homemakers. We are not defined by just one choice we make in life, but by all of our choices that we make every day. And these are not all predetermined and predictable.

  8. loveamormilosc says:

    Hi, I can relate to you totally…in the sense of every word that you have penned down. And I am glad that there are people who think alike, feel alike and I am not alone in it. Wonderful article…would love read you more often

  9. kiracanadiangirl says:

    Thank you for this 🙏🏻 I’ve never really labeled myself as a feminist. I am a strong woman with a successful career. I make the same, if not more than my male counterparts. I achieved this by working my butt off and by not victimizing myself. I think this is a huge problem. Let’s take some ownership and stop blaming others for where we are or are not.

  10. Ella Ames says:

    Enjoying perusing through your blog. I very much agree- to me feminism is about taking strength and pride and equality and respect in all that is woman. I wholeheartedly believe that men can and should be feminists, and part of feminism is a woman’s right to consciously choose what she wants in her life.

  11. Bideak says:

    The Bluestockings of the late 1700s were among the first public female intellectuals in Britain. They were hectored out of existence by the turn of the century. Two books (reviewed in the TLS) consider their fate: Were they out to prove that reason could be sexless, or precisely the opposite?

  12. iKomusana says:

    I really appreciat this.
    It reminds me of a conversation I had about women in leadership and why it’s important to acknowledge that feminism doesn’t make them immune to being bad leaders.
    This is so important.

  13. Sophia Ismaa Writes says:

    There’s an actress called Anushka Sharma who received a lot of backlash from feminists (I, myself, identify as a feminist). Her response to these critics was a great one: “the freedom to choose is empowerment.” Of course, it is about equal pay too, feminism is about achieving various aspects of quality but the whole point is that we, women, are allowed to choose for ourselves what we want to do and if you want to be a homemaker, go ahead, it’s your choice, it’s your life. As long as you are not hurting others or hurting yourself (choosing to be a homemaker by the way is not hurting yourself) then it’s none of my damn business. Great post, thanks for sharing.

  14. Editor says:

    I drew a lot of strength from a recent essay collection that I edited called Feminism Is: South Africans Speak Their Truth. Check it out on Amazon or in bookstores if you’re in South Africa.

  15. Spectrum of Life says:


    I am pretty new to blogging I published my first just yesterday
    What I really liked about it is , it deals with the untouched version of feminism where even the weakest or the strongest female has the freedom to choose. Unlike majority out there who think feminism is kind of war which is just to prove men and women are equal. This attempt will make people u sweat and “feminism” is not a cuss word. It has more to it.

  16. notsomoderngirl says:

    This is a great post! 🙂 I wrote one similar on my blog for international women’s day last year because I think it’s really important that people understand what this word means- being a feminist is totally up to personal choice, and the whole point should be allowing women to make their own choices, which I think some feminists often forget. 🙂

  17. hollyeloisewrites says:

    A sentiment few men understand and so many women seem to forget! Feminism is about achieving equality by giving women the same right to choose as men do, we’d spend all day cheering for the stay at home dad – so why are we sneering at the stay at home mum? Ridiculous!

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