Every time the word “Feminism,” or the word “Equality” –especially if it’s preceded by “gender”– is mentioned in a conversation, people assume the worst: “Here we go, this is never going to end!”, “She’s never going to shut up now!”, “They’re going to start fighting now!”.
It’s funny to even think about it, but before we go into these conversations, let’s define some concepts that I consider ambiguous:
-Feminism: based on different dictionaries’ definitions, this concept highlights the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. even the “Urban” dictionary defines Feminism as “the belief that women are and should be treated as potential intellectual equals to men.”
Some even associate ideas like”men-hatred” and “nudity as a way of expression” (take a look at this link to get a sense of what I mean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmmHtBAbXs8) to the concept of Feminism.
As a young woman who belongs to a generation known as “The Millennial,” it is chocking to know that people from my generation associate themselves with concepts of such “devaluating” nature. Allow me to further explain, and expand on this idea!
The issue of women’s rights first became prominent during the French and American Revolutions in the late 18th century. This concept emerged at that specific time to change a societal structure and norm that limited the roles of of both men and women and assigned them two different spheres of action.
Thus, the issues dealt with, under the umbrella of Feminism at this time, were focused on gender interactions in specific spheres such as suffrage and property rights.
A “second wave” of feminism arose in the 1960’s with an emphasis on unity and sisterhood.The main gain of this movement, however, was the establishment of legal rights for women facing marital rape laws or struggling with rape crisis and divorce cases. This continued until the 1980’s, the time, some historians argue, that signaled the end of this movement –if I may call it so– at least in America.
Nowadays, Feminism has witnessed many changes in terms of the ideas included in the ideology, but the vision is still the same:” Isn’t weird to picture women as victims the whole time? to deal with the different societal/legal/educational issues in a way that victimizes women?
Why is it always that “women”should have the right to do something? “women” should have “the right”to practice a specific activity? “Women should be part” of a specific plan/vision?
Why do we voice these concerns in a way that devaluates women?Why do we look at the feminine gender as an inferior class that should be elevated to the masculine stand? Why do we draw that line of comparison and difference between men and women –implying men’s superiority–?
These questions lead me to the second term I want to define:
-Equality: Again, the dictionaries’ definitions suggest that Equality is “the state or quality of being equal” or that it “is the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities.”
Really? Is that what women want nowadays?
Since when are opportunities given/offered/served on a golden –not even silver– platter? Since when is it “O.K.” to ask for a specific status instead of creating your own?
At this point, I believe you have a clear idea about the argument I am making here; Creating this separation between men and women in approaching different topics is only aggravating the natural/sexual differences between the two genders.
Humans are the subject of interest here, not genders. Any problem should be looked at from this perspective.
Women are not victims in the society. Women are not looking for “special” ways to express themselves. Women are not looking for “equality” (The Global Gender Gap Report 2013): People in the society should have a solid foundation to base their efforts on — especially when it comes to building their positions and “crafting” their statuses.
The unthoughtfulness in voicing our opinions and phrasing our concerns is something that has cost us generations of women believing in the idea of men’s superiority and “fighting” against it!
But is it really the case? Does that even make sense?
Let’s reflect on these ideas and thoughts a little bit.