I’ve known early on that being a girl meant I had to do a lot of things differently, as if I was born guilty and was taught shame. This of course, was not my parents fault but the fault of the society we live in today and what the expectations are when raising a girl. There were things I wasn’t suppose to do (don’t spread your legs, never be too revealing, stop being too close to boys, etc.) and things I was obligated to follow, responsibilities to follow both inside and out of the house. I always got in trouble for asking the questions “Why do we (women) have to do this and men don’t”.
I didn’t know what a feminist was until a year or two back while spending an afternoon at my Universities library listening to Ted x talks. I stumbled onto Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s talk on ‘We should all be Feminists” where three paragraphs in particular stood out the most, I can still recite these by heart.
“We teach girls to shrink themselves, make themselves smaller. We say to girls- you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too successful otherwise you will threaten the man.
Because I am female I am expected to aspire to marriage, I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now, marriage can be a source of love, joy, and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage but we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments but for the attention of men. We teach girls that we can not be sexual beings in the way that men are.”
a person (male or female) who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
I found a group of women I could relate to, a movement I am passionate about, and a new identity. I finally found a label I wouldn’t mind stapled to me.
I recently did a video shoot for a digital ad where all we had to do was walk from left to right. Easy, right? When the male model did his walk (very normal, might I add) he was deemed relaxed, easy-going, and very natural. When I went, my walk was very boring, they called me dead and depressing expecting some sex machine to walk on to set with exaggerated hip movements. I still finished within half of the male model’s time btw.
I am a feminist because the woman who inspired and motivated me into the woman I am today once told me that when being introduced at a meeting her colleague added- “believe it or not, she’s actually really smart” teaching me that growing up (a woman) I will face many obstacles and judgments.
Because “you are the man” is a compliment but “… like a girl” is taken as a offence but not as offensive as being called a pussy which never really made sense to me because not only were we conceived through one but we all (more or less) entered this world out of one. And if being called the female reproductive organ so offensive then why do men thirst over it so much?
Because the number of paintings of naked women outnumber female artists who are recognised enough to be in a museum. Because most women cook for their families but the top chef’s are mostly male. Because the higher you go up the lesser female you find at a workspace.
I am a feminist for my female office mates, whom works 10 hrs a day 5 days a week, and sometimes even more but still manages to go home and do all the house work while being full time mothers. For my cousin who is in her 30’s and single and how the elders see her as “such a waste”, for my brother who always has to ask my parents for money whenever he wants to take a girl out because the guy is always expected to pay on dates. I am a feminist for Susan, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Amelia, Rosa, Gloria, Condoleezza, Sonia, Malala, Michelle, Hillary.
I am a feminist for my future, and all our daughter, and theirs to come.
“I strive to be attentive and open to the world and to create fashion that resembles the women today. Fashion the corresponds to their changing needs, freed from the stereotypical categories of masculine/ feminine, young/ not so young, reason/ emotion, which nonetheless also happen to be complementary aspects.”
Maria Grazia Chiuri