Feminist …. No Shame !!

I am woman! I am invincible! I am proud being a Feminist!!

A week ago I was in a group discussing human rights from various perspectives. A girl started to speak and pointing out that she defends women’s rights, but “she is not a feminist”.

Then I began to hear the following: “I’m sorry if this seems rude but why are almost all feminists either lesbians or physically unattractive. Its true! Isn’t feminism really just about ugly women who hate men trying to get some kind of sick revenge?”

“I have this image because the word ‘feminist’ itself has such an unpleasant ring to it, plus I’ve never really met any woman who claimed to be a feminist that hasn’t had severely disturbing/militant opinions about how other people should live their lives.” He added

For many people, the term feminism has a negative connotation. Feminism been blamed for everything from destroying the family to women drinking more alcohol, to hook-up culture. Imagine a stereotypical image of an angry, ugly, fat, man-hating, bra-burning, unattractive woman with hairy armpits screaming irrationally about imagined insults.

As a result, women find themselves prefacing statements about the need for equality and civil rights for women with the caveat of identifying themselves as feminists, and you will hear the famous saying: “I’m not a feminist, but…”

This is a shame, because feminism as a philosophy has a good deal to offer to both men and women.

I noticed also that the feminist statements are often disguised behind (I’m not a feminist, but I believe men and women should have equal rights. I’m not a feminist, but I think that women deserve to get the same pay as men do for the same jobs).

People who say that may not know that they are feminists or may be intentionally shying away from the label of “feminist”.

Hating men does not come in to feminism and is not its definition. Nor does it mean that feminists can’t be feminine. It makes no logical sense to assume that all feminists are masculine or, as is sometimes thought, that they want to be men. Why would a woman who spends her time defending the rights of women and supporting the idea of equality between sexes want to be a man? And what about men who are entirely comfortable with calling themselves feminists? Do they look to their own sex with hatred?

Maybe some feminists hate men, some other women who don’t call themselves feminists hate men too, and some men hate women. But most feminists don’t hate men.

The meaning of feminism varies from person to person, but in its most basic form, feminism is the belief that men and women are equal. For me, feminism is a way to examine and challenge the dominant power structures in society and the ways that these different forms of oppression intersect to maintain the status quo.

And about accusing feminists that they are angry women, we have to admit that everyone is angry sometimes, especially when you’re dealing with injustice. It’s natural to feel angry when you’re being discriminated against or repressed in some way, no matter what group you belong to. When dealing with women’s issues, it’s natural to feel angry some of the time.

We still need feminism when women are still discriminated in the workplace; they are not given the same rights, wages or time off as their male counterparts, and females are judged by their looks instead of their experiences or skills.

We still need feminism when women may feel uncomfortable or unsafe walking down the street because of sexual harassment. When classmates, friends, family or even we ourselves are sexually assaulted or raped and are afraid to come forward because of the fear that we will not be believed or will be blamed. We still need feminism when teenagers are taught nothing about sex in schools except not to have it, and consequently, many young women have unintended pregnancies.

So if you’re a feminist, don’t be ashamed of it. If you’re a feminist, don’t deny it. If you’re a feminist, just say it.

By: Jasmine Elnadeem

One thought on “Feminist …. No Shame !!

  1. Thanks Jasmine for this interesting post!

    I was there at the very same discussion and I was infuriated as well.

    It’s really sad to see all those Egyptian women denying they’re feminists or who use the same patriarchal, male-dominated arguments!! I was very angry when they started to make fun of Nawal Al Sa’adawy. They don’t know the real value of this brave woman.

    The whole situation was kind of ironic for me because Danes (and Scandinavians in generals) are known to have the most rigorous forms of feminism and most Egyptian women seem to have surrendered to their male-dominated fate!

    Thank you and it’s really nice and refreshing to meet a real feminist!

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