There is usually so much talk about women hating on women, women not supporting other women, and women being their own worst enemies. There are two interpretations of this. I agree with one of the interpretations but disagree entirely with the other interpretation.
The first interpretation – which I agree with – is how some women (mainly out of ignorance) constantly harm women’s empowerment and gender equality advocacy.
I always tell men who accuse me of hating men because I am a feminist that my grievance is targeted at society and the patriarchal system, not men in particular.
If you are a man who enjoys the benefits of patriarchy so much you don’t see the injustice, you might feel attacked. But I do know the grievance of feminism is not directed towards men.
Women are, in fact, the greatest custodians of the law. Women are, often, the ones on whose shoulders culture and tradition rest; they are the ones who push it.
Many of the people who are in favour of FGM, who shame victims of sexual assaults and abused women, who shame divorced women without hearing their story are women. In this sense, yes, women can be their own enemies.
While we are trying to make society hear us, some women are on the other side of the divide, championing the exact cause we are fighting against. Of course, it means we are not united as women, and the fight cannot be as progressive as we want.
The other interpretation of this statement is when people expect us all to agree with each other, and then when we don’t, we are suddenly seen as enemies. That logic is flawed. Let us look at it this way;
I love my family, but I don’t always agree with them and vice versa. It doesn’t make us enemies, and it never will. It just means that we see that subject matter differently. As far as we are humans, it is very typical to understand and process things differently.
We are thinking beings, which differentiates us from other animals. You cannot put two thinking beings together and expect them to agree, which is simply impossible. The worst part is when people say we are not united as feminists or don’t know what we want as feminists. It always amazes me when I hear that.
Do people think feminism is one big organisation with a leader who churns out rules that we all must abide by? It is okay for a conservative Christian to believe women should not wear trousers, while a liberal Christian believes it is okay for women to wear trousers. They are both Christians, but is it not okay for two feminists to disagree on certain things?
Why do we have to draw non-existent theories from a simple disagreement between two feminists?
I don’t get it.
One of the most significant themes of feminism, in the first place, is that women be allowed the freedom to choose how they want to run their lives as far as it is legal and they are not hurting another person.
So why is it strange that one feminist wants to be a housewife and another wants a career, and how is it odd that they might argue it or not?
Men are not expected to always agree with each other. Why do I have to agree with every woman I meet so we can avoid being called enemies?
A person who believes women are not inferior to men, are human beings that should be treated as individuals based on their strengths and weaknesses and not based on their gender and believes every gender should be treated with fairness and equity, and believes that traditions that discriminate and degrade women should be done away with; that person is a feminist.
If we disagree on other more minor matters, it doesn’t change that we are all still feminists. For example, I admire Chimamanda Adichie, but I don’t always agree with her, and that is okay.
There is nothing wrong with it. It doesn’t mean I hate her or I am her enemy. We might see things differently.
Yes, we are feminists, and we are allowed to disagree.