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.