Our identity stems from who we are and what we do. That is probably why most individuals introduce their professions right after their names. Our gender is also a key factor that is revealed in those few seconds either through our voice or appearance.
Why is it Necessary though?
Or at least it seems to be.
The first woman president, the only woman on the team, a woman’s perspective – phrases like these aren’t uncommon. So let’s evaluate what this part of my identity brings to me.
Being a woman has never been easy. She has been subject to classification since the dawn of time. The men of an age seem to be distinguished but the women seem to not have even been represented. The few women that did stand out were ridiculed during and after their lifetime.
Why did Women have such a Rough History?
Statistically, the sex ratio has been pretty steady. There never was a time of great disproportions; so why did the women not overpower the men by sheer force? We now know that this is scientifically possible and even the animal kingdom repeatedly demonstrates the might of the female form. So what stopped them?
The physical differences between a man and a woman are thoroughly explained by Live Science (with illustrations). So technically, we aren’t that different. Our differences are largely due to reproduction and identification.
A mentor of mine once told me, “this is the first time in history, Men and Women are truly equal. We not only are equal in the education we pursue but also the goals we accomplish.” I agreed with him, I was exerting my potential in his presence just as well as he did, despite the differences in our age and gender.
So what stopped the Lady Ancestors?
The wave of feminism hit the historians and they set about understanding why women have never seen a powerful time. They scrutinised the challenges and found that many factors such as the society, war, disease, etc. affected the position of women in society.
Moreover, history records mostly contain men’s activities in spheres like Politics, War, Diplomacy and even Art.
Women, on the other hand, have been classified as daughters, mothers, wives or mistresses. Among them, very few have left us records to learn from and that is probably why we struggle to make a point against men today.
So it’s settled.
Apart from the lack of records from women in history, there is nothing that stops women from being equal. Our ancestors were suppressed not just physically but also psychologically. From forcing a widow’s Immolation through her husband’s funeral pyre, a practice called Sati – to social manipulation of the 19th century English women.
Why Did Men do this?
Power, I was told, is like the blood on a lion’s teeth.
If men want to be powerful then the women have to be powerless. As a group phenomenon, the men cut the competition in half by excluding women from the race. They further controlled the competition by creating a caste or class system. The fewer the powerful, the more the control.
‘tis true, Nature is cruel.
Let us admit, if the course of history were to change, women wouldn’t be that much different. If a woman is equal to a man according to all the scientific evidence then they would do the exact same thing. The society would affect a woman probably the same way and she would be a perpetrator of the same crimes.
Yes, Queen Elizabeth I was different, and Cleopatra too, but so was Buddha and Abraham Lincoln.
Women were classified because the times were such; women would classify if the times turn – this is why it is necessary to focus more on equality. If I do to them what they did to me is revenge at best – evolution? Not by miles.
Charles Fourier, a Utopian Socialist and French philosopher coined the term “féminisme” in 1837. Movements by feminists AKA ‘waves’, revolutionised societies.
The 1st wave – promoting women’s right to vote during late 19th and early 20th century (women’s suffrage movement).
The 2nd wave – campaigned for legal and social equality for women during the 1960s (women’s liberation Movement).
The 3rd wave – continuation of, and a reaction to, the perceived failures of second-wave feminism, which began in 1990.
A lot has to be learnt about this movement in order for me to call myself a Feminist. Especially because this is an under-construction project and what I say may make or break the project.
Feminism as I understand it.
I often see my peers engage themselves in bigger pictures. ‘Women suffer in our world and we must do something about it’, is a sentence I have heard more than my favourite song.
I felt embarrassed for not being as passionate and started to do my research. Through it, I discovered that Feminism is a movement that distinguishes itself from proto-feminism. Feminism, as a collective political segment, flourished during the 19th century, anything before that is concerned with proto-feminism.
Even though it is a fairly recent movement, many subdivisions of feminism based on location, colour, cause, etc. sprouted simultaneously; as a result of which, I can read books by women of colour, I can go to work, earn a fair wage, not get sexually harassed and claim maternity leave.
In my opinion, the feminist movement was a very efficient one. In less than 2 centuries we went from no vote to being voted. Many other movements didn’t share the same luck. Or is it because we are the other half of the population and one can’t keep the 50% shareholder unhappy for too long?
So here we are – Free and Equal.
I know gentle Reader, that our world is not perfect. To be honest, I fear that perfection may take the charm away. Life is a continuous process and so are the developments in it. My mentor was indeed right. This is that time in history that will deny me nothing.
My womanhood is no longer the subject for evaluation and true equality demands both parties to acknowledge it. My female physical form is to do with reproduction and identification, over which I have complete control. The only other person (in my present) who should concern himself with it is my husband.
For everyone else, men and women, I am an individual with my own perspective on the world. I fail to see the merit in picking a society that would demand my loyalty against the other half of the population. As we have seen, it is a losing battle.
The Feminists of today seem to discriminate among themselves on the basis of who is more feminist. If I prefer cleaning my home then I am just a person who likes clean stuff, not typically female! If I choose to not do adventure sports then I am a fearful person, not womanly. If I wear makeup then I like to, if I don’t wear makeup that means I don’t like to; it has nothing to do with my political inclination.
The point in having a freedom is to exercise it as a free person.
Just because I am a woman does not necessarily conclude that all my activities are a statement. I realise that I am just as prone to genius as I am to stupidity. I understand that my husband is under just as much social pressure as I am. It is foolish, in my opinion, to believe that I can be more right than him or more harassed than him. Life makes no such distinction; she is what she is to each one of us.
I am now clear on my position on Feminism; I will evaluate their actions and statements just as critically as I do of everyone. My womanhood is a gift from nature but it has no power over my Decision Making.