A few months back, a friend found me reading an article on feminism and he seemed disappointed. He probably thinks feminists are reactionary, undersexed, man-hating bitches who need to quit crying. But you wouldn’t blame him. 8/10 men and surprisingly women will not want to discuss feminism. They will say it’s for the educated geeks, self-seeking and undersexed ladies and some overzealous men, therefore, there has been an image created at it as being a rebel outfit sort of ideology meant to change the social order. Of course, anything that threatens patriarchy is fought viciously, now let’s understand what this feminism is all about, it’s not imported by the west, not academic but a simple component of justice of humanity.
Feminism has existed since the 19th Century. When it went viral, all women around the world felt the need to identify themselves as strong, proud, unconstrained and independent individuals. Different online sources have been used to spread gender equality. This is amazing! Awareness is being created but there is also a snag to this. Feminism is losing its meaning and slowly becoming a fad.
Feminism has altered predominant perspectives in a wide range of areas within Western society, ranging from culture to law. Feminist activists have campaigned for women’s legal rights; rights of contract, property rights, voting rights. For women’s right to bodily integrity and autonomy, for abortion rights, and for reproductive rights (including access to contraception and quality prenatal care); for protection of women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape; for workplace rights, including maternity leave and equal pay; against misogyny; and against other forms of gender-specific discrimination against women.
Thence I ask who is a feminist and what’s the Ugandan perspective of a feminist?
Various scholars and historians alike agree that whereas there are various narratives, history and efforts; a feminist is generally one who primarily defends gender equality and women’s rights to address the injustices and prejudice towards the so termed “minority”.
Simply put, Feminism is a way of thinking and of carrying oneself from moment to moment. It’s unique from person to person, from man to man, from woman to woman. Feminism is knowing women are inherently as capable as men. It does not claim that women are better, and not even the same as men. That would be to defy physics and logic. Woman is man’s equal and opposite counterpart, anatomically and physiologically different. A woman must work harder to build the same muscle mass as a man but, a man can never carry a child. Each gender provides what the other lacks. This does not mean that one gender should be favored over the other, and neither should put the other down. That is inhuman!
Patriarchy has shaped the World thus explaining the different phases of feminism. Feminists in Africa should be thinkers first so as to understand the organization of our societies instead of importing the global concept of feminism. The struggle should be in line with culture rather than dismissive of it. Many think that feminism is a women’s only league and is basically about the number of “stick it to the man” arguments and posts. This perception looks at men as enemies. Men fear to be feminists because they are told that they are part of the problem. This needs to change because men could be part of the solution. They could help us achieve the intended goals faster. We need to redress feminism for some of the policies to work.
Like love, feminism does not boast or brag, it’s not arrogant or rude and it is not spiteful. That would go against its definition. Instead, it’s a belief that rests quietly within a person. This belief should be made simple that a drunkard in Kyanamukaka will appreciate equality and gender issues. Reasonable noise should be made because feminism does not need to be shouted or proclaimed aimlessly. It simply exists. It does not define you but rather refine you. It isn’t about power but rather empowerment.
The “fad” embodies all the wrong things for the right reasons. We are all for the courage of conviction, for women to earn their just rights, to stop domestic violence against women because truthfully speaking, love does not hurt but the way we do it also matters. We don’t want to create the wrong impression. It’s about responding rationally to injustices, not reacting.
True feminism is through one’s actions every other day because we aren’t representing females in a flattering light if we forget what we are fighting for. Collectively, we need to redefine feminism.