It was International Women’s Day and I was on a panel of speakers, addressing a pretty sizable crowd. Within minutes, of the speakers, a prominent female broadcaster was quickly refuting the idea of feminism. She said words to the effect of ‘I was once told not to wear pants during a broadcast, because of the size of my derriere”. She went on to say that instead of taking offence to this, she completely agreed with this point of view, proferred by her male bosses that she wasn’t suited to pants. Then a disturbing monologue followed, explaining why she was not a feminist, but of course believed in women forging their own, successful, innovative, independent thinking and evolutionary path.
The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet.
- Mohadesa Najumi
Um, was I missing something here? Absorbing the contradictory statement, I immediately sourced the dictionary and located the official definition of feminism: The advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. Nowhere did it mention extreme acts characterized during the early movement of feminism, such as the burning of the bra, nor did it mention Germaine Greer, one of history’s most influential although controversial pioneers of women’s liberation.
This statement wasn’t a one-off. I heard it at least 6 times that week at similar functions.. women declaring loudly that they were NOT feminists. Did they forget that it was only through the advent of women’s liberation that women smashed through entrenched cultural norms and inequalities that we are still benefiting from today.
In fact, its only when we look back that we can see how far forward we have really come. We forget that not so long ago women had to fight for the most basic tenets of human rights, like the first female vote, or being able to re-join the workforce after children, or abortion, which is still being challenged in many parts of the world. In 2014, we may be cohabitating boardrooms, and we may be earning our way into lucrative and senior roles, but we still have a long way to go on both fronts. And don’t even start about the cost of childcare, and the non-existent subsidies that block so many talented mothers from reaching their goals.
So please don’t be afraid to say you are a feminist. God knows most of you are probably living the life of Wonder Woman reincarnate, juggling multiple acts and amazing feats each and every day of the week. Helen Reddy really knew her stuff. I am woman, hear me roar indeed.
If you believe women deserve an equal voice and footing in the corporate world, then you are a feminist. If you believe women deserve child-care subsidies, you are a feminist. If you believe women should be respected and not treated in a subservient manner, then you are a feminist.
If you believe in women’s empowerment in the true sense of the word, then you my friend, are a feminist. If you need to shrug off the old connotations and embrace the new, revised formula, then read this brilliant article by Meshel Laurie. The article is GOLD.