By Neema Oloo
#I can do it myself # I don’t need a man #Miss Independent #I can pay my own bills and many more are some of the misused and misinterpreted phrases.
Let us start with ladies, you know the ones with wigs past their wash date, heels that are past their feet-life, lipstick from the dark streets of Nairobi, and their phones filled with numerous unanswered texts asking if we are still on Friday.
Woe unto you if you open the door for one and she gives you the lecture about how she can do it herself.
These are just but a few misguided concepts on feminism. What exactly does it mean to be a feminist?
Feminism according to Forbes is the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. It is embedded in the belief that both women and men should have equality.
It does not advocate for sameness because ‘same’ does not mean equal. We cannot be the same because we have different physical and emotional capabilities attributed to how nature designed for us to be.
Why then should we talk about feminism? Simply because it advocates for equal rights (a fair operating ground).
From time immemorial women have suffered the injustice of inequality. Men were allowed to go to school, men get higher salaries as compared to their female colleagues doing the same job, many communities disregard the opinion of women because they view them as children or weak.
Hue and cry by the boychild saying that women’s rights have been over-emphasized. It’s like a race that started and due to the patriarchal benefits the boychild has enjoyed over the centuries the girl child has to do much more to catch up.
“Some people ask: Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?” Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general-but to choose the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific problem of gender. It would be pretending that it is not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Feminism does not presuppose any hidden matriarchal agenda; it is not out to fight the male gender. It is not a battle of power rather a move to lift the female gender up to the same pedestal as men.