Are You a Feminist?

It took us 21 centuries to discover the idea of feminism and about 21 months to misconceive and absolutely ruin its essence.

I’m a Muslim girl from a very conservative family and I’ve struggled to align myself with today’s world and my culture, while every day has been a challenge (and sometimes still is) nothing pisses me off more than seeing my values and ideologies made fun of publicly.

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I reckon I speak for many as I say that it’s high time we learn and truly respect the concept of equality and justice, that we stop bending towards discrimination and unite against all sorts of racism, prejudices, favoritism, chauvinism, etcetera. High time we take a minute to act and behave fairly a.k.a be a feminist.LywN3

Let me clear a very common yet naive misconception on feminism, it’s NOT about being feminine, in fact, that is quite the opposite of what it stands for.

It is also NOT to say that male and female are the same, it is as a matter of fact quite silly to claim that both the genders are alike, we’re very different, just like every other individual, our bodies and minds, our thoughts and abilities, our needs and wants are all of course very different than each other so yes we’re not the same, but why should that raise a question of one gender being superior to another? That is what feminism is all about, equality not in the sense to do what a man does, not the freedom to behave and act like one either but equal in respect, equal for opportunities and equal as human beings, equally free to make own decisions and equally accepted for the made choices.

I don’t want to generalize but correct me if I’m wrong, in the East, most girls are still expected to look pretty above all, their education and career, even personalities fall after. It is then very common for them to depend on their men; fathers, brothers or husbands. I was mistakenly raised wrong, my grandparents taught me to never depend on anyone, my parents always allowed me space to make my own decisions, always left a room for a little error, I grew up to be less like a girl I was supposed to be (a pretty Eastern girl with a small mouth) and more like a fair human being that wouldn’t just leave logic and sense behind because she was asked to. I’m not alone in the ride, every fifth Eastern girl follows. I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, a country famous for its lack of human rights and height of discrimination, I disagree and claim that it all comes down to perspective. Unlike the majority of non-Saudi women (almost all non-Saudi women), I’ve had an opportunity to spend 2 years in their corporate sector, during this period not once I witnessed any sort of discrimination or harassment, no male dominance and not even once a low on human rights. I do agree that the country prefers their own above the rest, to some degree it might count as ‘racism’ but then that’s about everywhere and definitely needs to be worked on. Coming back to the topic, I was one of the two females in a 50 something male workforce, and not only was allowed equal opportunities but also beat them to achieve the best employee award, not to brag but to point out, that it’s up to you to earn and demand respect, up to you to behave and act freely, that is what makes you a feminist. Not clothing like men, not talking like men, NO, be yourself and who you are exactly, whatever and whoever that is, but take pride in it, be considerate of your environment and care of course but don’t deprive yourself of basic human rights of freedom.

Another tiny example to prove my point is a common phrase for girls like me, “Yeh beti nahin, beta hai” literally translating to ‘She’s not a daughter, but a son’  and is supposedly a good remark.

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I’ve been complimented on being more like a ‘son’ because I was fortunate enough to share the burden of my parents, for instance helping to get myself lavishly married ( a burden that wasn’t even theirs to behold in the first place). At first, I took it positively because guys get to take care of their parents more (since the girl gets married at some point and takes off to another place – whole new story to discuss btw) but the more I heard the more offensive it became.

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Why is it that being a girl gives me no more responsibility than to ‘be respected’ and not even in the way that I would like to be, respected for being a good girl, one that stays quiet and nods, doesn’t question and follows, one that gets into no trouble and has only the sort of fun that the society approves of? While many laughs at my arguments and ridicule them, some do understand where I’m coming from and for those ‘some’ I wanted to put this out there.

Being a feminist is about standing up for yourself and your beliefs, whatever that may be, allowing yourself to be in the same way as any other individual would, regardless of what part lies beneath their pants. It’s NOT about being rebellious or breaking norms/odds rather being and living like a human. Feminism does not go against any gender, race, religion or culture, it’s simply being fair and just to all.

Good Riddance! So, are you a feminist?

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