SHOULD WE ALL BE FEMINISTS? (PART 2)
Are feminists bitter or are these invalid assumptions and attempts to create a stereotype about them? This is a question we should be asking ourselves.
Perhaps, feminists are angry and bitter, angry about how the society has accepted inequality and toxic masculinity so much.
In Blessing’s words, "feeling bitter and angry might not necessarily be a bad thing but the way we handle our bitterness and anger is what matters. Feeling bitter and angry about the injustice that inequality brings to the society should not be a bad thing. This may be why feminists seem unbothered when they are described as angry or bitter women, the anger and or bitterness pushes them to stand for and fight for what we should all be fighting for. Feeling angry and bitter against an injustice is not a bad thing. If you call someone who is fighting for equity, equality and justice ‘angry’ or ‘bitter’ in an insulting manner, you probably need to check yourself. Personally, I definitely feel angry towards the injustice in the society because inequality is bad, period! We should neither try to accept nor condone it.”
Moving on to whether or not religion affects feminism, Blessing responded that "it definitely does.”
More often than not, religion is painted as the antagonist in the drama to which feminism is the protagonist. With diverse religions and beliefs, various belief systems undoubtedly shape the understandings and misunderstandings of any concept, cause or movement – of which feminism is not exempted from. There are therefore many factors that affect feminism, and religion is just one of them.
As a Christian, Blessing said that she has been questioned about being both a Christian and a feminist because many people are of the opinion that you cannot be both. In her opinion, Christianity and feminism are not mutually exclusive, and she is a living proof! Growing up in a Christian home while also observing the mistreatment of women around her and in society at large, Blessing explained that her mind pondered on questions on what the “Jesus standard” would be on matters of gender inequality.
Of course, that is one way to look at it. Another way Blessing was able to engage her mind in understanding what God had to say about gender inequality from the scriptures, was by further research, that is, on popular scriptures that many quote against the feminist cause (for instance, scriptures that establish the man as the head and disallows women from speaking in church).
In everything, one thing stands out to her - God’s love.
God loves each and everyone of us (male and female) and to show us how much He loves us, He sacrificed His Son to save us. Then, to further secure a relationship with us, He gifts us His Holy Spirit as our friend, Comforter and Helper to guide us through life and all its excesses, until He returns to take us back home with Him. In Blessing’s words, “God’s show of love to all people – of all races, tribe and gender, none being superior to the other – should say something to us about God’s true intentions in relation to matters of equality or equity.”
The larger number of anti-feminist persons being males begs the question ‘WHY’. Do these men feel that feminism is a threat to their self-acclaimed position as the head, or as the superior gender or something in that line?
"When you are used to something, or when you are in your comfort zone, it’s very difficult to let that thing go”. Short, precise, and self explanatory to say the least. This explains why some men are against feminism. When you are used to something that favours you, you do not really see any reason to question it, even when it may be hurting other people. Sometimes, it is better to re-evaluate and understand the opinions of the other party before you make up your mind about something.
“However, this ideology only applies to some people. For others, it may be that they do not understand the concept or that they do not fully understand the concept, and that’s okay. Feminism is so wide and so deep a concept, it is bound to house various thoughts, processes, and manners of understanding. What is important is that you see the wrongness and injustice of the inequality and you understand that it is not something that we should accept. The way we handle our fight against this injustice is what matters and this is probably where more conversations should stem from.”
Seeing that the feminism space is wide and accommodating, what are some of the ways that one may show their support for the cause and or help in pushing the concept forward?
There is always something extra to be done as a feminist, such as joining NGO’s that support the cause, donating money and so on. Blessing says she is always willing to donate money for the cause, and supports feminism in her space and in her own little way.
"I raise questions on feminism because I am eager to learn more about the topic and understand what other people think about it; this was how I learnt, for instance, that feminism supercedes a fight for equality and many times is inclusive of a fight for equity. Additionally, if someone in my space says something that is anti-feminist, I address it. So, people who I’m closer with or who may have had more personal interactions with me are aware that there are certain mindsets or statements that I will not tolerate. I may not be as outspoken on Twitter or Instagram but in my space, I try my best to tackle anti-feminist ideals.
In a nutshell, Blessing encourages us to address anyone who has the wrong idea about feminism. Helping people understand the concept of feminism and the fact that it is a good cause does not just affect us immediately but also creates a ripple effect that gives a clearer picture to those coming after us to keep the fight on and eradicate the injustice of inequality in our society.
Hence, to young women who believe in and support what feminism stands for but are too afraid to actually wear the tag ‘feminist’ for fear of being labelled with the lingering stereotype hovering over that title, her piece of advice was and still is -
"… I’m telling you; it’s your truth, it’s what you believe in, it’s what you know is right, so own it, girl! Own it. Don’t let the opinion of any person deter you from the good fight. It is a good fight, it’s for a good cause, and the opinions of others should not matter.
For example, I know that the way I choose to support or fight for feminism may not be what every feminist subscribes to, but that does not deter me. Feminism is so big a space, it gives you room to be you.
I’m a Christian feminist and you may not find a lot of Christian feminists in the feminism space but I stand as a Christian feminist. So today, I encourage you to find the strength, the strength to understand that the lack of equality and or equity is an injustice and as a feminist – whatever type of feminist you may be; a Christian feminist, Muslim feminist or Buddhist feminist - you are fighting a good cause, so do it with your chest!”
Finally, to answer the BIG QUESTION, “Should we all be feminists?”, Blessing responded–
"Yes, I think we should all be feminists. I definitely think we should all be feminists because this is a good cause; a fight against gender inequality or inequity, and against an injustice that we have tolerated for too long. Time has finally come for us to address it, and we should all join hands to address it. I’m telling you, this is such a beautiful and important fight, we really cannot continue to lag behind. We can do better, we should do better and we will do better.”
To round off, she said, “I’m really glad for this opportunity to share my thoughts on feminism from my little corner of the world with everyone out there. I really hope this helps one or two people and in its entirety, strongly contributes to moving the feminism movement forward.”
From people saying feminism is irreligious, to quoting Bible scriptures to suit their opinions, to anti-feminist men who refuse to accept feminism because of their fragile egos, to others calling feminists bitter – we now see that it is a matter of focusing on what the goal is as feminists, which is attaining gender equality or equity as the case may be.
With that being said, DO YOU THINK WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS?