Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Debate Tuesday - Who is a Feminist

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So I come across this debate a lot of the time. What is the meaning of Feminism? Who is a Feminist. I am one of the people who identify as the later. And while people tiptoe about the issue or the word, I say it plainly. I am a feminist. I am not confused by the noise, I know where I stand. I think the more we quibble, the more we allow ourselves - and dare I say men - to draw lines between us, the less chances the less lucky women may have.

Yeah I live within an economic and social status where I am educated, I have a voice and so on. What of the poor girl in the less developed parts of Nigeria, the rest of Africa, India, China, even in some parts of the Western World. No I cannot become relaxed. It is working for me so let me keep my head down and not rock the boat. No way Jose! Whatever it means, who ever else bears the name, let me join the ranks. If some of those women did not talk or take action in the past, we wouldn't be here. Margaret Ekpo, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, The Aba Market women, you name them. I sure want to be counted among them.

The latest episode started when a discussion cropped up on Sefi Atta's Everything Good will Come. Those who've read the book will know that there are some gender issues raised in the book. Actually, I also explored male chauvinist domination in A Heart to Mend. Maybe I did not push it as much as in EGWC because the focus of my story was the relationship between Edward and Gladys but it is still a topic very close to my heart. Aunt Isioma in AHTM had gone through a very disturbed marriage but remained due to being subjugated almost to the point of abuse. She only became free to live a full life after her husband died.

I think it's a man's world. At this stage of my life, I have come to accept it. However, I believe that women should have a choice to carve out a portion of that world for themselves. If they want to be bad, it's their choice, there are bad men too. If they want to be workaholics, good on them. Do they want to remain single, sure. Travel the world? Of course. Men have been doing these things for centuries so why not women?

The person I actually got into the debate with was another blogger. It was on chat sha. She thought that the extreme feminists have taken over the name and giving others a bad rep? Really? Have the Neanderthals among men given them all a bad name? Along the line, I cooled down and allowed her to make her points. Some I actually see the point of, others not so much.

1. Some Feminists actually go ahead to degrade men,
2. Some Feminists mistreat people generally, and make bad primary earners
3. Some Feminists are workaholics and do not pull weight in the household
4. Some Feminists go into clubbing and all that
5. Some Feminists will blink twice before going for divorce, etc.

More talk that came up involved Gender roles (boy, how I loathe that phrase). How women are supposed to take care of the home, how women are weaker, how only women can have children (the only point I agree with BTW, and it is not a ROLE!), how only women can be satisfied by staying at home, and all the other stereotypes and generalizations that go alone this line of thought.

OK, I have vented. Talk your own. Convince me.

Thank you.