I decided to start a conversation with you on a topic of gender equality and give you arguments on why we need feminism. It is impossible to say everything I have to say in only one letter. I will rather write to you often and about different topics that might interest you, topics that I, myself, am learning about.
Why we need feminism more than ever
I am writing to you from the XXI century, the one in which we all placed our hopes. We naively thought it would be better and more just in many ways. Many say that we, women, have acquired more rights than we had ever had before. Things have been moving and changing. However, the recent events with this strange virus might set everything behind.
That is why I am worried about women’s rights, and being women’s, they are also human rights. Why?, you are asking. With the economical, and sanitary crisis the unemployment and social problems will follow. When there is a social, economic and health crisis, the far right wing always uses the situation to take away one of the rights women have been fighting for. Women’s rights are questioned and very often regressed.
What does feminism mean?
There is fire in me that only equality among genders can extinguish. What do you say mom? I’ll wait? Maybe I will, but I will no longer be still and do nothing about it! What does feminism mean, you are asking. Feminism is about all genders having equal rights and opportunities. It is a movement that seeks to put an end to sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression and to achieve full gender equality in law and in practice. Because, you see, Mom, laws are simply the mirror of our society and since society is not always just or beautiful, laws aren’t either.
Why we need feminism and not gender equality? It is because gender equality means that there are predefined gender roles that need to be respected and therefore certain prejudice
about women will be maintained. What does feminism mean? Well, as I said before, that there needs to be equality between genders, but individuals decide first of all what gender means to them. There are not predefined patterns or expected behaviors. Individuals can simply be and as such be equal to everyone else. Do you understand, Mom?
Proof we still need feminism
The fact that today millions of girls around the world do not go to school filles me with anger. That is one of the biggest triggers for me. There are many more girls outside of formal education than boys. And, Mom, you might think that it does not concern us, people from the ‘’developed’’ world. Maybe our girls go to school, Mom, but when they grow up, do they do unpaid housework as much as their husbands? Are half of working women on highly paid positions at their work? Do men and women equally take care of their children?
Gender equality that lacked in your life
What do you say, that story about equality is nonsense? This is exactly why I wanted to talk to you about it, because I know you do not completely understand why we need feminism. And everyone that asks himself or herself why we need feminism needs it! How come you don’t believe that equality between genders should exist, you who didn’t and don’t live it and who visibly suffer because of it? You would return from work to do the house chores, to raise and educate your children, without much, not to say, any help. Mom, I cannot remember that you reluctantly accept washing, ironing, dusting while dad was sleeping or watching soccer. We all know that you were dissatisfied, sometimes grumpy and who could blame you for that today!
And listen to me saying without help… It’s not about a man helping a woman, my dad helping you, my husband helping me, it’s about equally divided housework and raising children. Neither the children nor the house are yours alone or his. What do you say? He won’t do things as well as you would? He doesn’t know well enough to do boring, unpaid work like you do? Your anger did not teach me that mom! I didn’t look at your tears to swallow my own now!
What I don’t understand now is why you are blindly sticking to a tradition when you yourself preached to me that I should be independent of a man. ‘’Always have your money in your wallet!’’, you used to say all the time. What does feminism mean is not a question to ask me, you can surly answer it yourself!
Why is feminism important?
Feminism is not there to destroy men, Mom, feminism is there to prevent patriarchy from oppressing, humiliating women, considering them inferior, less valuable, and even killing them. No, I’m not exaggerating! Do you know that every single day 137 women are killed?! Most of that violence happens in their own homes! Likewise, street violence is much greater against women than against men. Are you equally scared, Mom, for me and my brother? Who do you think more about me than him when I go out at night, especially when I put on a mini skirt?
Feminism, Mom, is not an ugly word, let alone a curse! It is a movement that fights for men and women to have the same rights. Fights for men and women to walk side by side. Did you know that it is the most peaceful movement in history so far? Don’t you want the same rights for me and my brother? Let me explain. This means that my brother and I can have the same salaries if we are in the same job positions, it means that we can reach those positions in the same ways and that we have equal chances for it. It also means that scientists will be more interested in diseases related to the female body and will probably find solutions.
Mom, if only there were more women in science, you could have endured menopause more easily! If only women’s body is equally important as men’s and if only we invested in research about it accordingly!
I agree with you that then another name could have been given to this movement. Humanism would fit it well. And because I know that you will continue asking a question why we need feminism, I’m going to write you letters, Mom. I will write to you about feminism, about everything I learn about it. You can already read about how it all started here.
And, please, bear in mind that I do not consider myself a perfect feminist. I rather think of myself as a ”bad feminist”, as Roxane Gay would describe herself, or maybe even better – a feminist in progress. Because what is even a perfect feminist in today’s world that has colors of patriarchy, in a world where we were raised according to certain rules that we need to change now.
This is not a question of women, this is a question of all of us, because we all deserve to live better, more fulfilled lives. In the next letter I will write you about when feminism started.