One of the greatest joys that comes with the privilege of running a column is the barrage of weekly feedback. Lately, your feedback has borne an overarching theme and general “complaint” that I have become too … feminist. (I mentioned this in my previous column).
“We want the old, man-bashing Njoki Chege back! Who appointed you the ambassador for women?”
Today I have chosen to clear up the air and announce for once and for all, that I am a feminist.
Yes, I am a proud feminist. I support feminism and all that it stands for. I ascribe to the notion of feminism in its purest form, which, according to the Oxford Dictionary is the “advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”
Certainly, my brand of feminism is not the man-hating, bra-tossing rabid feminism that believes men are good for nothing.
The shade of feminism I ascribe to is not same that misleads the dreadlocked pseudo feminists to trash the beautiful institution that is marriage. I think you can be feminist and still live a fulfilling family life, doing your small part in ensuring girls and women realise equality.
My brand of feminism is pro-women without being anti-men.
My type of feminism is rooted in the philosophy of equality for girls and women galvanised on that day in July 19, 1848 when the first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, in New York.
Mind you in this watershed moment of feminism at Seneca Falls, 300 people attended, including men and women, who discussed steps to realise equality of the sexes.
Now, anyone who tells you feminism is a preserve of women is either a liar or a fool. Men were at the inception of feminism, they continue to be at the heart of feminism, and we have some pretty powerful supporters, Barack Obama being one.
INJUSTICES AND INEQUALITIES
My philosophical underpinning of feminism also encompasses the realisation that we need to be aware of the injustice and inequalities towards women (by men, or otherwise) and we must do our part to challenge these issues.
My brand of feminism dictates I should be uneasy with male-dominated societies where the voices of women are not heard.
Now what is wrong with that?
Feminism, to me, is about teaching young girls that they can be whatever they want to be, study whatever subjects they want (math or chemistry and other sciences) without feeling inferior because of their gender.
Feminism is to me, the freedom of young women to be allowed to pursue their careers to the highest levels possible, and not to feel that they need to make apologies for being ambitious and aggressive.
Feminism, from the way I see it, is that little girls are taught to take charge at a tender age without being branded “bossy” and are able to carry on these leadership traits into their adulthood to become female presidents, CEOs, Ministers, heads of churches and institutions, powerful politicians and businesswomen of note.
HEIGHT OF IGNORANCE
Feminism has done a lot for women and using the term “feminist” as an insult or a slur to in describing a woman is the height of ignorance, if not foolishness.
Since the advent of feminism in the early 19th century, feminist scholars have identified four waves of feminism, which we must appreciate.
The first wave of feminism took place in the 1830s through to the early 20th century. The main aim of this wave was to open up opportunities for women, particularly on suffrage- the right to vote in political elections.
The second wave of feminism took place between the 1960s the 90s. This phase of feminism happened against the backdrop of the civil rights movements, and the key issues tackled here were around reproductive rights.
The third wave took over in the 90s whose main aim was to critique the idea of “universal womanhood”, an agenda that was driven by young and hip feminists who brought back the red-lipstick and high-heels previously ditched by the second wave feminists.
Some will say we’re currently in the fourth wave of feminism in which we’re fighting against issues such as sexual assault and unequal pay.
Feminism is not the near-cultic movement many of you perceive it be. It is a beautiful and empowering thing to be a feminist. So, allow me to re-introduce myself; my name is Njoki Chege and I am a feminist.