On this women's day I want to talk to you about Feminism.
I feel like the word 'Feminism' creates some sort of tensions right away, so before I start I want to say something to you, the men who might read this post till the end: "I do appreciate all the work men do, I do not want all the power to be handed to women and I am not against the male kind."
"Feminism" is not a bad word.
"I am a feminist" is not a sentence that should shock, offend or scare anybody.
All of us here should understand that Feminism is another word for equality. In the past, (and still in some countries today) women had very little rights and therefor the women and men who wanted to create more balance and equal rights between men and women called this movement 'Feminism'. This word got associated with negative images, letting people think that women wanted to dethrone men and take their spot. It is not the case, Feminism is wanting pure equality, and I believe that if you're a feminist you also have men's rights at heart.
Plus, let's stop the stereotypes, you don't have to have short hair, be gay or trans, you don't have to show your breast in public places, you don't have to be aggressive or angry, you don't have to be a tom boy or extra sexy, you don't even have to like Beyonce (although who doesn't? ). There are many different type of feminists.
Myself for example, I'm a stay at home mom who does put her dreams on the side for a while so I can be with my kids. I'm married to a man who doesn't cook and has no interest learning how to, he even thinks all bad drivers are female!!! I'm a pro-life or a pro choice according to the circumstances. I love dressing up to go out and I use make up at times. I like sports but I also like arts. I am a very independent woman but I also love feeling the attention and care of my loved ones. I'm usually kind and diplomatic.... see? not that scary and yes I am a feminist.
Friends have asked me on different occasions why I was a feminist and what it meant to me. Here is a little list.. well it actually is a pretty long list on why I am a feminist and I am proud to shout it loud and clear.
(I know it is long but especially if you don't call yourself a feminist I would love for you to read it until the end and tell me why you choose not to be part of this movement, not to start a fight, just simply because I am curious to know and understand why in the 21st century, some women and men would still insist on saying they are not feminists)
Here it is, the reason why I call myself a feminist:
- I want equal rights for men and women worldwide.
-I expect equal pay for equal work.
-I am against forced marriage. This is still going on in many countries. A woman should have the right to choose the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with and most of all, she should be a woman NOT a girl!!
-I believe a woman should also be allowed to keep her surname. In some part of the world the name change is still something automatic after marriage which shouldn't be. A woman is not a property, she should decide if she wants to take her husband's surname or not.
-I am strongly against female genital mutilation. This practice kills little girls every year and hurt for life millions of women.
I don't want to hear the cultural argument, this is a barbarian practice that needs to stop!
-I believe sex trafficking is inhumane. Young girls (and young boys), that could have been our children, are taken away from their family or being sold by their loved ones to sex traffickers. I hear sometimes absurdity like "it's normal in their culture" "girls there don't mind this as much as girls here"...This type of remarks makes me want to scream. A kid is a kid, it doesn't matter where they are from. People who are sold for sex will be damaged forever. If you still have some answers to this, then imagine it happen to your daughter or your sister and maybe these words will finally make sense. This is not just women's rights it is human rights, your body belongs to you and you only. You are the only person who can decide what you want to do with your body.
-I am proud to call myself a feminist because I have great respect towards the women and men who fought so hard to get us the right to vote and so much more. Some of these ladies lost their lives working on getting us where we are now! Thanks to them in many countries we can go to the same schools as men, we can wear the clothes we want, we can become president, we can run marathons (before 1972 women were not allowed to run the famous Boston marathon, that was only 45 years ago). We can work in the same places as men, we can fly a plane, we can go to the olympics, we can be part of the army (not everywhere though),we have access to contraceptives, we can paint, we can play music and sing, we can swim (don't take this one for granted, in some countries women are forbidden to swim). Thanks to all these strong and beautiful feminists women, your mother, your sisters and your daughters have rights they didn't have just a century ago. We all should be grateful to these women who had the world progress. We all should be so proud to be part of one of the bravest movement there ever was: Feminism.
-I am a feminist because I believe I should be free to wear whatever I want...without fear!
I'll give you a personal example: Once I was in a market in France, buying fruits and veggies, I was an 18 or 19years old tom boy. A woman wearing a skirt, nothing too offensive, just a pretty girl wearing heels and a nice flowing skirt passed right next to me, this is what I heard right behind me :" then, they're surprised they get raped". Till today I wish I just gave this dumb guy the speech of his life but I was young and I lacked self confidence so I just smiled to his 'joke' and walked away. I smiled because that's what society teaches us, you smile to guys that seem problematic so that they don't yell at you or hurt you... it's survival instinct! I wish I was fearless back then.
Women should be able to wear mini skirts without being judged by other women or harassed by men. They should be able to wear masculine clothes, have short hair and no make up on without being categorized as the women who are not feminine enough. A woman should wear the clothes she likes without asking the permission of her husband or boyfriend.
And even if, as a feminist, I struggle to understand the veil, if it is what you want to do, if it is not pushed on you by your parents, husband or culture, if the veil doesn't prohibit some of your movements and choices then yes, women should be able to wear the veil without facing judgement.
-I want Violence towards women to not exist anymore.
In France 1 woman dies every 3days because of domestic violence.
In Turkey 160 women were murder victims of domestic violence in 2015 and 286 women died for the same reason in 2014.
In the USA 3 women every day loose their lives due to domestic violence.
When is this going to stop? Women should have the right to disagree with their husbands without fearing to get killed. Women should have the right to divorce without being hunted down by their spouse. Nobody should make excuses for a man who is violent toward his wife, sentences like 'she deserved it' should be strongly reprimanded.
Women suffering from domestic violence often loose their self confidence and at times even believe they deserve such treatments. It is such a vicious circle that getting out of it is difficult. If you know anybody in an abusive relationship, please empower them, give them the strength to leave. Feminist non profit organisation work everyday to help these women who could be members of your family or your best friend. If you know anybody in this situation, direct her to one of these non profit so they can learn about their rights and hopefully get out of this abusive and damaging relationship.
Women deserve to be loved and respected as much as men. Say no to domestic violence
-I believe that the home you share with your partner should be taken care of by the two people living in it. Most times house chores are done by women. In some homes every single house chores is done by the women which leaves them no time to focus on their own career, on their dreams, on themselves and on their couple relationships.
Men, it is not about helping your wife, it is about you understanding that the home you live in is hers and yours too, you are not a guest! You are your wife's partner, your wife's team mate, your children's example and you need to act like it. I know it might be challenging for some of you but it is a very important change to make and only you can decide to make that feminist choice. If you do decide to go that route and be more of a team mate when it comes to house chores, I promise you, your wife and your children will remember this and mention it with pride each time this subject comes up.
-I want to raise my boys as feminists. I want them to have great respect for women and a good sense of equality. I will make sure my boys and my girl get the same chances and the same opportunities, regardless of their gender.
I believe we all need to explain to our little boys that they can choose to take dance lessons if they want to and their sister can go for football practice. I believe in teaching your teen to be a gentleman and to be proud of it. I believe in teaching your children how to express their emotions without fearing the judgement of others.
I believe in banning sentences like 'boys don't cry' 'he's so gay!' 'Women don't know how to drive' 'are you gonna be a man or what?' 'Don't run like a girl'... These sentences that I think are more of a language habit than anything else are damaging to our daughters and our sons! Stop saying them.
We need to teach our boys that a girl has the right to dress sexy and she should never be considered as an object because of it. We need to teach them that a girl might have been flirty but when she says no to a kiss or more, it means NO!
Boys and girls should learn from a young age that being kind to each others, being respectful and good are things to be proud of and if they see someone being unfair or hurting a girl or a boy they should take a stand.
I could go on and on and on but I am going to stop here.
Tell me, I have the feeling that you all agree with pretty much everything I said above, right??
If so, congratulations you just discovered that you too are a feminist. 😉
Hi there, I'm Pascaline, a french expat in Istanbul. I'm a traveler, an artist at heart and I have a toddler and twins running around my house. My hubby is Superman and is pretty busy flying around the world. When I have a little bit of time I day dream, try to explore foreign places and most of all I try to better myself everyday and grow into the person I would like to be.