by Nana Nwachukwu
We need to stop fashioning a feminist box. There is no formula to feminism and feminism is not a threat to masculinity.
Feminism…hmmn, what does it mean? I am not going to define it from any dictionary rather I am going to follow this from the perspective that makes me gladly say, ‘I am a feminist’. Feminism for me is the agitation for equal acceptance into society of the female gender. The agitation for the right not to be called inferior or superior based on my gender. The agitation to be an individual and not a ‘she’.
This agitation has limitations which anyone who toes this path must accept and agree with. This limitation is that of gender language use. The word castigates itself. It is left for an individual to choose what to make of the word. Every tribe, every tongue has a classification for humans. We have been classified by gender and not by ability. That is the constraint we have to live with and accept in other to move forward.
Feminism in my opinion is based on choice. The most one can do to another is to help such persons see the advantage of having such a right to think as an individual and not as a ‘female’ bound with gender constraints. It is the same as teaching a child good and bad. You can only provide guidance hoping the child will stick to your own mantra. Feminism is not imposed. It is not a religion. It is a desire made fact.
Feminism has deep roots in several cultures. There are matrilineal cultures in Asia, Africa and Europe. It is not born out of the desire to grab the reins from the male stock rather it is borne out of the knowledge that there are no such reins rather what we have is shared responsibility and companionship.
A lot of women desist being called ‘Feminists’ truly despite being beneficiaries of the agitation for equal opportunities. Yes, I can understand their concerns. Here in Nigeria, we have this general notion that being a feminist means being a man-hater or a man-conqueror. One would wonder where they get this idea from right? Ah! It is not far-fetched. The answer is all around you both in everyday life and on the social media. I was elated to read a tweet from Temie Giwa after she was accused of marrying despite being a feminist! What a bigoted accusation. She clearly responded that her husband is a feminist and that feminism is not about man-hating. Thank you dear!
There is no contest here ladies. You need to get this right. Feminism is not an exclusive preserve of females. Personally, I grew up with a father who did not believe in gender when it came to exercising skills and opportunities. I cannot really say whether what he believed in could be called feminism rather he stood for a mantra which was ‘Let the person who can do it, go ahead and do it and in all things let there be dignity and integrity’. I stand for the same mantra but I chose to align call mine ‘feminism’.
Everyone needs a companion. It is left for you to choose what you want accompanying you. Some have chosen people of the same gender, some chose different genders while others have chosen different species of living things. Your reason for choosing to be or not be with someone/something should be unique to you and should not be seen as a conquest.
Fanatic feminists get disturbed and aggressive the moment a woman decides to be a Mrs or decides to be placed under a man. Are we not missing something here? As long as it is an informed decision, what is your grief? Feminism is about being comfortable. So what if I decide I want a man who I’ll look up to and feel safe? Of course, it is me being true to myself. You on the other can be safe in on your own and it will be you being true to yourself. We need to stop fashioning a feminist box. There is no formula to feminism and feminism is not a threat to masculinity.
Feminism should make you comfortable that you are a woman and not just a woman but a woman who can achieve what you have your sights set on. Feminism is not you refusing help because you are a female. Feminism is not you grabbing men by their balls and arguing your partner into submission. Feminism is not you fashioning ill-conceived ideas about ‘weak women’ who chose to be with men as wives. See these examples? Yes they are called being a nuisance not a feminist.
Stop wondering, I am single and have a phobia for commitment, and oh no, it is not borne out a feminist ideology. It is called choice and coming to terms with who I am. Let us stop getting it twisted.
Nana Nwachuckwu tweets @purehaire.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.