What is feminism?
When I asked 7 men what comes to their mind when the word ‘feminism’ comes up, there were certain responses I expected. Chats about respectability politics, angry black women, feminazi (I absolutely detest that term. Who thought that comparing an angry group of people fighting for equality with a group of genocidal f***s was a good idea? Anyway, I digress), and the likes are not new to the conversation about feminism. (There were concerns mentioned, but none of the rhetoric I thought would be spewed.) What I did not anticipate, however, was an entire gender studies dissertation.
Enter Vikar Singh
Dear friends, this is part 2 of the question: “What is feminism?” by V. Singh
Feminism, to an extent, is being pro-women.
It is a term, or a movement, that recognizes that women, probably since the beginning of time, [have] been exploited, disadvantaged and abused.
And it seeks to recognize that women are equal…to men and should enjoy freedom of expression, enjoyment and – IN OUR TIME – the same opportunities as men.
But we can dissect feminism further.
The experiences of white women and women of colour are very different. White women still enjoy certain privileges, and the plight of the Black Feminism movement should therefore be highlighted.
We know that white women are more favoured, generally speaking. And it is a similar thing [with men]. As a man, I can recognize and admit that there are certain privileges I have, just by having a penis.
It is generational thinking and these are ways that have been passed down for generations.
It is so difficult to change because it is [systemic], in the way we have been [conditioned] to think.
‘The men of the house should sit down and eat first or should be served first in a household, or at a function.’ OR that women should take their husbands’ last names.
It is something that has been engraved in our way of life and infiltrates almost every aspect of our lives.
When you read about white people saying “All lives matter” instead of “Black lives matter” [it is as though they are using their privilege to silence the voice of ‘the other’]. We must first recognize that there are some privileges that are just bestowed on specific people just because of their gender or the colour of their skin.
And of course, don’t think the feminist movement is saying that women are superior, or do not recognize the role of men in our society. But it is about bringing women and their struggles to the forefront, because the male privilege will always be there (because, unfortunately, it is the way we have been programmed to think.)
Not just heterosexual cis-gender
And we should not forget that feminism does not only include XX women, but trans women, intersex [persons], non-binary feminine-appearing people. Their struggles are even worse.
As Vikar alluded to, feminism is complex, it is inter-sectional, it is a movement that strives for the recognition of women as valuable members of society. It is about politics, finances, sexual agency, identity agency, and, above all, women being recognized as human beings. It is not without its issues, as was described in Part one, and the conversation is a long, non-linear one.
Let me know what you think about this conversation.