Depending on how your perspective allows you to interpret it
I have been aware of my feminism for a little over 6-7 years. My personal goal for feminism is, first, to help women become better and men benefit from women's development in the long run. In addition, I always strive to gain knowledge that allows me to see many perspectives of feminism, non-feminism and anti-feminism. I am all in for feminism and I think this 21st century feminism can do better.
This blog post was inspired by a conversation that I had with a friend and a writer; Tolu Akinyemi, author of;
Your Father Walks Like a Crab
I Laugh At These Skinny Girls
Funny Men Cannot Be Trusted
First let's start with the definition of feminism.
Many people like to think that our pursuit of feminism is a desire for equality in all areas that concern genders. I disagree. I think that the demand for equality in all areas is unrealistic and sometimes unreasonable. I also think that our feminist demand for equality is just a facade over our real desire for power as humans. You are free to disagree with me but you will know that it is about power because even women have the ability to tear each other down to have it. There are women who can't stand being equals with each other, how much more with men. So if we achieve this so called equality, what's next?
I believe that there is need for equity, rather than equality. If a man and I have done the same job and most importantly, achieved the same output, then, we should get the same pay, because it is fair. However, if a man has done more than I have done, it is fair that he gets higher than I and vice versa. Yes, there is need for our society to treat women more fairly and with equity but I think that sometimes, this bandwagon of "sexism is what's limiting me" makes us pretentious of many privileges that women have. Another thing that pisses me off is when women who have opportunities and privilege to better things in life decide to lay back and use this bandwagon of "sexism is what's limiting me" when in reality, they are the ones limiting themselves.
For example, recently, EGC released its list for 50 Nigerian writers who rocked 2017. Of course the list was so filled with male testosterone and I thought something was wrong with my eyes when I did not see up to 10 females on that list. My first and feminist spirit ministered into my ears and I wrote on Kukogho Iruesiri's Facebook page saying;
"And I would have thought that the EGC list was for top 50 male poets who rocked 2017 with the way women are scarce like fuel in Nigeria on their list. Sheesh. Kanyinsola Olorunnisola, both of you should tell them that our feminist anger is doing warm up for them..."
Kukogho politely responded to me saying;
"Your anger should be directed at the women. They refuse to participate in contests and literary events. I actually campaigned for you on the Nigerian Writers Awards List. You women like to stay away from participating and only participants are recognized." "I remember in 2017, we had to make one of the edition of the BPPC strictly for women and only then did we have a female winner. Guess what? It was the month with the fewest submissions in the history of contest."
I would have disagreed with him but I went back to review the contest submissions for Sprinng Literary Movement which I have been fortunate to be a part of and I saw that about 75% of the submissions were from men while about 25% were from women.
In the newest version of my book, To Bee a Honey, which was released by Jeanius Publishing on March 15 2018, I wrote;
"These days, I think that our feminism
is becoming a mother
who buys all the shoes in the whole
world for a child who
won’t live past the walls of her womb."
(To Bee a Honey, Page 105)
Ps: You need to get that book. Click here.
I think that for today's feminism, we spend too much time asking for equality and benefits for women and less time preparing the women to qualify for it or accept it. Realistically, if you keep marching and shouting that women are suffering from sexism and inequality and you don't get your degree, or apply to high level job positions where you qualify or even contests, your feminism is useless and men are not your problem. Men can take part of the blame in the sexism that limits women but so many times, I think that women need to take majority of the responsibility in allowing their feminism to move them forward.
Second, defining a feminist...
I like to think that a feminist is anyone who has the best interest of women in mind and most importantly, who acts upon that interest. The title feminist carries so much untrue stereotypes so even when people are being feminist, they stay away from accepting the title. I also know so many sexist people that claim to be feminist just to make their sexism palatable. One time, a well-known controversial Nigerian blogger when talking about another woman’s dress, said;
"I'm a feminist but keep things real. I have to slut shame you. This dress was Chrissy Teigen Slutty."
I call this bullshit. This was the same blogger who had supported a woman whose boyfriend released her nude pictures. This hypocritical feminism needs to stop. It disgusts me that we only pull the feminism cards when women are victims but call women names when they make decision that are uncommon.
Third, the mentality that women are saints...
Let’s call off the acting. Women are not saints and today's feminism paints the picture that we women are saints because we are subject to sexism. I support the #metoo movement, for the women who are truly victims and whom it justifies. However, we should not turn a blind eye to the fact that so many men have ended up in jail and perhaps died from wrong accusations made by women. If we were to talk about a lighter issue like child support, I have seen men who don't pay their dues to support their children but I have also seen women who extort men using child support as revenge rather than what it has been intended for.
Another result of this false feminist mentality that women are saints is that it forces women into false friendships. Personally, I can't stand women that are sexist and I won't say that because I am a feminist who support women, I will pretend to like another woman. However, what I won't do is hate her or diminish her in anyway.
Four, the illusion that our feminism is inclusive...
All through this last presidential election in the United States, I couldn't help but to think that, the highlight of a presidential turn around for me will be when a black woman or a Latina woman runs the presidential race and becomes president. Sometimes, I think that feminism is only good enough for the rich and privileged who can afford it. Especially for black women, we need more than equality with men. In the wake of this Black Lives Matter Movement and Kaepernick's Kneeling, where many black men and women have lost their lives and freedom, do you think what is top priority on a black woman's mind is how to be equal with her man? Many black women are fighting and praying to keep their men alive enough to compete with.
Five, the ignorance that all women want the same thing...
Sometime last year I watched a sermon where the preacher had called housewives “failures.” What broke my heart the most is, this statement was ignorant of the fact that many women these days who choose that path, are housewives by choice. As feminists, if we are fighting for women to have the right to choice, yet demonizing women for their choices, what is the point of our fight? Same with abortion. If you are pro-choice, I don't think that you get to call another woman a murderer for aborting a child because you asked for it. Back to this idea that all women want the same thing... If we were all bosses like most feminists imagine that we would be, who would work for us? Men? Wouldn't that be reversing the positions of the problem in sexism? Our aim should be, to reduce and possibly eradicate sexism, not to reverse or rotate the people in the position of victims. Some women just want to be Nurses and some, doctors, and some, housewives, if they already have means to sustain their living.
At one workshop that I attended last year, Kam Wong, the CEO of Municipal Credit Union shared his life-story. He talked about his wife, who is highly educated and went to school with him. He also mentioned how she chose to become a housewife when his income increased exceedingly. He said that, although she is a housewife, while he works for the money, she manages the accounts for the money. This woman is one among many women who choose to be housewives and also voluntarily choose to be dependent on their men, yet are highly productive in the homes. As a woman, you are not less of a success or less worthy of respect if you are not aspiring to be or to do what the masses are aspiring or pursing. Even if you are a woman selling fish, and that is what you think you love to do or are called to do, you deserve respect.
Six, feminism that demonizes men to praise women...
As feminists, we should be aware of feminism that demonizes men because we will have then as brothers, sons, and husbands. If they will suffer the consequences of our actions, we are connected to them so it will become our suffering too. It is not all men's fault that women suffer and just because women are rising, doesn't mean that men are less deserving of going higher or benefiting from our humanization. We need each other to exist and we should understand that some men are innocent of the evils that women face. For some of them they did not choose to have the privilege they have above women in certain cases, rather than demonizing them for it, we can show them to use such privileges well.
Seven, letting her rule, just because she is a woman?
I am all in for women progressing and I think that if we are complaining that men shouldn't get certain positions because they are men, we should not give women certain positions too just because they are women or victims of sexism if they have not earned it or if they are not qualified for it. Now don’t get me wrong, if there is a contest for women only, then obviously, it applies to only women. An example that explains this point is the case of Hillary Clinton running against Obama in 2008. Of course Obama had more credibility and he sure could do the job well, so rather than say I am voting for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman, I will vote for Obama because he could do the job well. The whole point here is this; it is not the gender that does the job. It is the skill and experience that is required to do the job. This past election, I heard more people say they were voting for Hillary Clinton just because she is a woman, although truly, she had more qualifications than her opponent. When the election was concluded, it really got me thinking that, as feminist, we are so hungry and thirsty for a female hero that if it came to choosing a leader, we will settle for an unqualified woman to lead us despite the fact that there are men that may be able to do the job better. This is not to say women are not as good or can't be as good as men but I think that you may have had one or two experiences in your life, that you wanted something so bad, you settled for less than what you deserved. And months later, you think to yourself, I should have waited longer or selected the other option. Feminism should not blindfold us from seeing our own lacks and where we need to be better.
Eight, paying women for the same thing we jail men for...
Look at this scenario, man hits woman, the cops are called, man is arrested, a hashtag begins, some people will blame the man and say "A man should never hit a woman." while some people will blame the woman and say "The woman should never have provoked him in the first place." If some folks decide, they will march and cause a scene, ask the government for more laws that protect women against assault. Second scenario, woman hits woman, some people see it as entertainment, and they create shows and title them; "Housewives of this" and "Housewives of that." Some feminist say that these shows are teaching young girls to stand up for themselves and to create careers for women. I disagree. The bullies and victims of the show become role models. Men are rotting in jail for the same thing women are getting paid for. Double standard.
Nine, bad feminism, good feminism...
Feminist A says that women should have right to their bodies, to do whatever they like without criticism. Women, go ahead, do plastic surgery, wear exposing clothes etc. Feminist B says women should remain the way they are, it is society's fault that women alter themselves. Feminist A says women alter themselves because they feel like it, Feminist B says, no, women alter themselves because the society pressures them to.
This is just a scenario, what I want you to learn from this is that feminism itself is not a pure entity. Our feminism is affected by our religion, location, culture, beliefs and so much more. One woman's feminism is what another woman sees as sexism. Western feminism is often criticized for not being a savior to women of other regions. The reality is that it can't. We create and form the feminism that suits us and that saves us in our differences despite the fact that we are connected by womanhood.
Ten, our developing privilege and double standard inspired by victimization…
So many times, I have seen many people, especially women post this phrase;
“I can come to your house and strip myself naked, and I will still say no.”
And some people cheer these words. However, if we reverse the case, a man comes to a woman’s house and does the same thing, he has extremely high chance of getting himself into jail that day for sexual harassment or something along that lines.
Whatever happened to our decency and being our brother’s and sister’s keepers baffles me. I wish Elijah could come and resurrect this one. I get the whole point that people need to keep their hands to themselves and that whatever a woman wears shouldn’t call for rape but has it gotten to this extent? Have you ever had someone put their hand so close to your face and when you yell at them or retaliate, they say; “I was only close but I didn’t touch you.” You know that feeling of anger that burns in your chest right? I was watching one of Chris Rocks comedy special recently and he said that there is nothing more powerful than a woman who knows that regardless of what she does, a man can’t do anything to her, that’s when she provokes him a lot. I think this mentality is highly sickening; that some women have degraded themselves to the point of using a safety and peace so rare and precious, one that we constantly fight for, to set men up for failure. I also think this mocks the pain of the women who are victims of rape and sexual assault and creates a low-quality caricatured solution or prevention to their circumstances. You say, lets teach men not to rape and I say, we got to teach women to have good intentions towards men and not set them up to fail. Don’t get too hyped here, I am all in for a woman wearing anything that she wants but I don’t support it if her clear intention is to set another man up for failure.
Eleven, our selective feminism...
This last section speaks to how people only select feminism when it works in their favor. Some people are only feminist by title and on paper but in reality, they are not doing anything to help women who live within a nose-breath from them, let alone afar. Your feminism is useless if it’s just a title without action behind it. It is like someone who doesn’t paint calling himself or herself a painter. There will come a time when this surface feminism will not be sufficient to take us to where we have the potential of being, as women. We should not have to wait until a sexist person becomes president before we pick up our feminism to march. We should not have to wait until we are direct victims of sexism before we speak up for other women. Feminism should be use in all the right forms possible for the best interests of women, and for men, in the long run.
Yes, I am a feminist and if you survived reading this long-butt post, by now, you probably think that I am a bad feminist or a really good one, depending on how you choose to see it. I believe that me criticizing feminism does not make me any less of a feminist and if this makes me a bad feminist, I will rather be a bad feminist than to be a feminist that pretends that this current feminism is good enough for us. In addition, like Roxanne Gay once said; "I will rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all." If you happen to be a sexist, 'patriachist' or someone who has the least of women's concern in mind, don't be fooled to think that this post pats you on the head. It doesn't and it won't. If feminism can address these flaws appropriately and even the ones unwritten in this post, it will bounce back, ten folds better and kick your sexist butt.
In short; feminism can be better and it starts from you and me doing the right thing.
BOOK REVIEW: Marital Advice to my Grandson, Joel: How to be a husband your wife won't throw out of the window in the middle of the night