Feminism isn’t about women; it is all about partnerships

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Lanji Ouko

Next time a man or woman expresses how much they loathe “feminists”, whether the word or the movement, be sure to implore them for the reason! Ask them to define a feminist. Not a branch of feminism, but feminism in general. Parties with an issue with feminism can barely define the term, and neither can they identify its various branches! But they strongly believe the movement is out to bring to his knees every man on earth, eradicate them even.

But, is feminism synonymous to the extermination of men?

Feminism is an ideological, political, social movement whose main objective is to achieve equal political, economic, personal, cultural and social rights for women. Next time someone declares their frustration with the feminist movement, inquire why they would be frustrated by a group of men and women seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment among other things!

Why create a movement to solely promote the rights of women, you might ask. For centuries, women have been treated as second-class citizens and continue to be treated the same. Indeed feminism is synonymous with equality and freedom. Every man and woman should root for equality! Anti-feminists and the mainstream media have programmed the masses to believe that a feminist is an angry woman out to emasculate men and take his role in society. Anti-feminists mistake “equality” for “dominance”.

Traditionally, both in Africa and in the West, the woman was viewed as the weaker sex, with their male counterparts were viewed as the privileged sex. Men too are victims of a number of social vices, including gender-based violence, but how many other issues affect men as diversely as they affect women? Objectification, reproductive health, workplace discrimination, economic discrimination and issues of maternity leave, are a few that fall squarely on women. Even down to the petty arguments, how many women are CEOs banks today? What’s the percentage of women earning more than men? How many political leaders have been elected or appointed in office? The women in office are primarily there for symbolism of equality but are simply puppets. Until these answers can be answers positively, we may as well accept that feminism is here to stay.

Retrogressive stereotypes view the empowerment of the girl child as a threat to the boy child! But why can’t the men empower the boy child while the women empower the girl child? Contrary to popular assumptions, feminists empower the girl child and invite the boy child and involve the men and boys in these conversations in order for them to learn how to live with an empowered woman. The main aim of this is to put an end to the “battle of the sexes” to create a “partnership of the sexes”.

We live in patriarchal society that deems feminism as a movement instilling bad, aggressive attitudes and rebellious traits in women. A few isolated incidents involving radical feminists may have led to these conclusions; however it should not be used to define the entire movement.

Anyone against feminism champions the degradation of women, and is therefore a hostile sexist. Feminists despise hostile sexists but appreciate benevolent sexists, despite the fact they view women as sensitive creatures, in need of protection, but still respect their rights. The only reason “feminism” carries a negative connotation is because the patriarchy shifts the conversation by illuminating any minute flaw associated with feminism. If we understood it essence, all men and women would be feminists!

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