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 to help women become better in a way that allow men benefit from women's development in the long run. In addition, I always strive to gain knowledge from 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 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 human beings. You are free to disagree with me but you will know that it is about power because even women have shown their capability to tear each other down for it. There are women who can't stand being equal with each other, how much more being equal 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. It is obvious that there is need for our society to treat women more fairly and with equity, however, I think the bandwagon of "sexism is what's limiting me" makes many women pretentious of the privileges that they have. Another thing that pisses me off is when women who have opportunities and privileges to better lives 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 feminist spirit immediately 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 Kukogho but I went to review the contest submissions for Sprinng Literary Movement which I have been fortunate to co-lead and I saw that about 75% of the submissions were from males while about 25% were from females.
In the newest version of my book, To Bee a Honey, which was released by Jeanius Publishing on the 15th of March, 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 many 21st century feminist spend too much time asking for equality and benefits for women and too little time in preparing women to qualify for what they are demanding. 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 women need to take 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 who 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, encouraging the woman saying that they are just nude pictures. This hypocritical feminism needs to stop. It also disgusts me that we only pull the feminism cards when women are victims but call women names when they make decision that are non-conforming.
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 women are saints because we are subject to sexism. For example, I support the #metoo movement for the women who are truly victims and whom it justifies. However, I believe that we should not turn a blind eye to the fact that so many men have ended up in jail and perhaps died from false rape 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 a medium of revenge rather than what it is 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 because I am a feminist who supports 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 the previous presidential election in the United States, I couldn't help but to think that, the highlight of a presidential turnaround for me will be when a black woman or a Latina runs the presidential race and becomes the president of the United States.
I think that today's feminism is only good enough for the rich and privileged who can afford it. Especially in the case of black women, we need more than equality with men. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter Movement and Kaepernick's Kneeling where many black men and black 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...
In 2017, I watched a sermon where a well-known Nigerian female pastor called housewives “failures.” What broke my heart the most is the ignorance of the fact that these days, many women who choose to be housewives, are housewives by choice. As feminists, if we are fighting for women to have the right to choice, yet we are demonizing women for their choices, what is the point of our fight?
Same with abortion. If you are pro-choice, I don't think you are allowed to call another woman a murderer for aborting a child, because you advocated for the right of women to have the choice of abortion.
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 victims 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 want to be nurses, some, doctors, and some, housewives, if they have means to sustain their living.
At one workshop that I attended 2017, Kam Wong, the CEO of Municipal Credit Union shared his life-story. He talked about his wife, whom he acknowledged as a highly educated woman. He also mentioned that she chose to become a housewife when his income increased exceedingly. He said, although she is a housewife, while he works for the money, she manages all the accounts for the money. Kam Wong's wife is one among many women who choose to be housewives and also voluntarily choose to be dependent on their husbands, yet are highly productive and respected in their homes.
As a woman, you are not less successful or less deserving of respect, if you are not aspiring to be or to do what the masses are pursing. Even if you are a woman who sells fish, you deserve respect.
Six, feminism that demonizes men to praise women...
As feminists, we should be aware of feminism that demonizes men because we have then as brothers, sons, and husbands. When they suffer the consequences of our actions, we are connected to them so, it becomes our suffering too. It is not all men's fault that women suffer and just because women are rising, doesn't mean men are less deserving of going higher or benefiting from our developing 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 possess, it was forced upon them. Rather than demonizing them for their privilege, we can show them to use it well.
Seven, letting her rule, just because she is a woman?
I am all in for women progressing and I think 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 a woman has not earned a position or qualified for it following the due process, it is unfair to other women and even men if she gets appointed.
Don’t get me wrong. If in a situation, there is a contest for women only, then obviously, it only women are eligible for it.
An example that explains my point better is the case of Hillary Clinton running against Obama in 2008. Of course Obama had more credibility and he could definitely do the job well, not because he is a man, but because he was very qualified for the position. Rather than deciding to vote for Hillary Clinton because she is a woman, I would have voted for Obama because he could do the job well. The point is this; it is not the gender that does the job. It is the skill and experience that is required to perform well at the job.
This past election, I heard more people say they voted for Hillary Clinton just because she is a woman, although truly, she had more qualifications than her opponent. When the election concluded, it got me thinking that as feminists, 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 other people 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 or even better, but I think that you may have had one or two experiences in your life, when you wanted something so bad, you settled for less than what you deserved. Months later, you thought to yourself, I should have waited longer or selected the other option.
Eight, paying women for the same reasons we jail men...
Look at this scenario; man hits woman, the cops are informed, man is arrested, a hashtag begins, some people blame the man saying; "A man should never hit a woman." while some people will blame the woman saying; "The woman should never have provoked him in the first place." Some folks may even decide to march and ask the government for more laws that specially protect women against assault. Second scenario; woman hits woman, some people see it as entertainment, so, they create shows for the women who dislike each other and title the shows; "Housewives of this" and "Housewives of that." Some feminist say that these shows are teaching young women and girls to stand up for themselves and create careers for women. I disagree. While the bullies and victims of these shows are becoming role models, there are men rotting in jail for the same thing these women are doing and are getting paid for. Double standard.
Nine, bad feminism, good feminism...
Feminist A says that women should have rights to their bodies; to do whatever they like with their bodies and without societal criticisms. Women, go ahead, do plastic surgery, wear exposing clothes etc.
Feminist B says women should remain the way they are, and that it is the society's fault that women alter their bodies.
Feminist A says women alter their bodies because they feel like it, Feminist B disagrees, saying that women alter their bodies because the society pressures them to.
This is just a scenario and what you can learn from this scenario is that feminism is not a pure entity. Our feminism is influenced 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 in other regions. It can't! We create and form the feminism that suits us and 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 people, especially women post this phrase;
“I can come to your house and strip myself naked, and I will still say no to your advances.”
Some people cheer in response to these words. However, if we reverse the case, and a man comes to a woman’s house to strip himself naked, he has extremely high chances of getting himself jailed for sexual harassment or something related.
What happened to our decency and the idea of "being our brother’s and sister’s keepers"? I wish Elijah could resurrect this one.
I get the 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 through your chest right?
I was watching one of Chris Rocks comedy specials recently and he said that there is nothing more powerful than a woman who knows that a man can’t do anything to her, regardless of what she does. Chris said that is when she provokes him a lot.
I think this mentality is sickening. I think it is more sickening because women have degraded themselves to the point of misusing a safety so rare and precious; one that we constantly fight for; to set men up for failure. I also think it mocks the pain of the women who are victims of rape and sexual assault. It creates a low-quality caricatured solution or prevention to their circumstances. You say, let's teach men not to rape and I say, let's also teach women to have good intentions towards men and not set them up for failure.
Don’t get too hyped here, I am all in for women wearing anything that they want but I don’t support the intention to set men up for failure.
Eleven, our selective feminism...
This 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 women who are 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 the heights that we have the potential of becoming as women. We should not wait until a sexist person becomes president before we pick up our feminism to march. We should not 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 interest 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 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 who pretends this current feminism is good enough for us. In addition, like Roxanne Gay said; "I will rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all."
If you happen to be sexist, 'patriachist' or someone who has the least of women's concern in mind, don't be fooled to think this post pats you on the head. It doesn't and it won't. If feminists can address these flaws appropriately and even the ones unwritten in this post, feminism will bounce; ten times better and kick your sexist butt.
In short; feminism can be better and it starts from you and me doing what's right.