Throw me to the wolves and i’ll return leading the pack
A famous unknown quote to start this long article today. A bit too arrogant would say some of my friends… « Not surprising coming from you », others would say
A few months ago, I had a boy stopping me during my jogging and asking me if I was a feminist. Quite surprised by the question, I replied negatively and continued my jogging.. (yes, now feminists start shouting and my friends can start laughing)
Thing is, I do not even know why I replied negatively at that time. Maybe I was caught by surprised and my instant reaction was a complete “NO” and all I wanted was to do my jogging.
Yet, this question made me to think about the topic again.
What is feminism ? How do you define it ? To what extent do you consideryourself to be a feminist ?
“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: i only know that people call me a feminist whenever i express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”
― REBECCA WEST
I did some reading and observed people around me but mostly started to think about my attitude in everyday life. I’m going to skip the whole explanation about what is feminism. I have come across some quotes and somehow, I could relate myself to them.
“I hate men who are afraid of women’s strength.”
― FROM « A JOURNAL OF LOVE » –THE UNEXPURGATED DIARY OF ANAÏS NIN
“I am too intelligent, too demanding, and too resourceful for anyone to be able to take charge of me entirely. No one knows me or loves me completely. I have only myself”
― SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR
“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it. ”
― ROSEANNE BARR
“It’s not my responsibility to be beautiful. I’m not alive for that purpose. My existence is not about how desirable you find me.”
― WARSAN SHIRE
The last quote reflects the reality of my culture and most probably other readers will also understand the situation.
“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”
― CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE, WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS
I come from a tropical island where a lot of foreign investors come to outsource their business. We pride ourselves as being a melting pot community but truly speaking, the culture is very different.
Social pressure arises when you get past the 18 years old. Before that, you get the usual peer pressure if you are not dating someone during high school. At the age of 25, if you still have not found someone, then it becomes worrying for the family because they will have a daughter that is still not married (not the same issue for boys though)… When you reach 30 years old, the nightmare starts with the usual family gatherings and aunties trying to find you the perfect match (they do the matching instead of using Tinder).
My brother and I have only 1 year age difference and yet, the little man has never encountered the same uncomfortable situations that I did encounter.
Sometimes, the most unexpected reflection comes from people you love the most. Once, I was asked the reason why I was stillsingle while I had a stable life and job.
For me, I wanted to succeed in my career and at that time, with my working hours, it was very difficult to meet new people. I got the most unexpected reflection to my answer which left me speechless for a few minutes. I quote :
“you won’t be young and beautiful all your life…”
and this was said by my grandmother in the most casual way… Yes, I was speechless but could I blame her ? She was taught since her tender age to aspire for marriage and everything would be much easier afterwards but why did she not ask my brother the same question ? Why are boys not taught to aspire for marriage ?
I got told once that I think like a man… The question is “How does a man think ?” I have my own opinions, I set my own rules and goals. One day, my mother told me the following words which became my motto in everyday life :
Never let a man tell you how you should live your life, what you should do or even what you should wear. Study and work hard so that if he leaves you, you know that you do not need a man to survive on your own.
So,.. Am I a feminist ? Yes, I am..