Picking up on the brief discussions I had with my sister about being a feminist in 2015, I realised that to some degree, I had influenced an already unstable teenager to become even more unstable and angry as she discovered the truth of the world; that it is Patriarchal and filled with misogynists(yes, female misogynists are a thing 🙂 stupid right??) . To be honest, her awakening was long overdue and I could not be prouder 🙂
2015 on LoveSelfBeautiful saw a shift in focus from theoretical and mildly superficial scenarios and rants to more “real- life” situations, mostly discussed in person than in writing. Now that I have found the perfect time and chill-state to discuss what I found most irritating, let’s begin.
Right then… so I must be frank (not that I am anything else otherwise); all of these things I thought I would be concerned with as a feminist in corporate South Africa have become the least of my worries. Last year, I noticed something quite interesting (read: disgusting). Obviously the feminist movement is growing, but with its growth there are many individuals who on top of their previously advantaged disposition feel that they have some sort of entitlement to the way a feminist movement should be carried out.
Now, I am all for educating oneself and gaining clarity on events I cannot naturally relate to, but these individuals that I encountered, not only did that, but took it a step further and I realised, began mocking women on the things that they personally chose to take seriously as feminists or… began telling women….how.to.be.feminists. LIKE? Some even took this a step further and declared themselves as “meninists”. Can someone explain to me offline how a man becomes a male feminist? To me it actually seems like a stupid fad where men put on this title just to get laid because they believe somehow that we are so desperate for a “white knight” who will come rescue us from this oppression. I do not believe in male feminists because men cannot be feminists. The day this can be acceptable in society is the same day a man gives birth to twins. So, since this is naturally impossible, I refuse to accept that men can be feminists as they have never lived a day in their lives as women. You cannot speak on a struggle you know nothing about so FOH with your fake facade mmmkay?
At best what men can do to help progress the movement in a corporate environment is by offering support that empowers women to attain leadership positions in organisations. When women become equals in the workplace, the ground breaks and a new, level playing field emerges where decisions that are made for an organisation with female employees, become practical and constructive. I am soooo sick of reading stats like these below, especially when “meninists” claim to exist and support us. Clearly from the extract below you can see how great a contribution they make:
“Women make up 52% of the South African population in 2012 but they account for just 3.6% of CEO positions, 5.5% of chairperson positions, 17.1% of directorships and 21.4% of executive management positions. This is one of the central findings from the 2012 Women in Leadership Census undertaken by the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa (BWA).”
As the first week of 2016 begins, I challenge you, my fellow feminist to live your truth. There is no rule to being a “good feminist” nobody can teach you how to fight for you but yourself, you are the best placed person for this movement by virtue of being born female. Just like Roxanne Gay said, opt to be a bad feminist than no feminist at all because even then you are being progressive.
We have a lot to do this year, we have many women to help and many people to teach the shortcomings of our world, lets not be distracted or be made to feel small and inadequate with what we individually want to fight for. Our small little drops in the ocean make a huge difference, DO NOT GIVE UP! But also please never forget that your leveling up must mean that you are pulling another women up with you. This journey is not to be traveled in isolation.
Have a blessed Monday and be inspired!