As a woman, I find myself measuring my words when it comes to speaking out about feminism. I worry about being too loud or too blunt. I worry about coming across as an angry feminist or being labeled a “feminazi” because I worry that saying the wrong thing or getting heated up about an issue will make my seemingly impeccable logic and reasoning crumble in the heat of battle. Basically, I worry that in some way, my input will backtrack the arduous fight and consequential advances of generations of women before me, the female warriors upon whose shoulders I stand.
But here’s the thing, all those advances were only accomplished because someone fervently fought for them in the first place. Peaceful, uncomplicated change sounds wonderful. Unfortunately, society won’t budge unless shoved out of its comfort zone. Social development requires discomfort, and it just gets to a point that you can’t worry about seeming angry, loud, or blunt.
Because WE ARE angry! How can we not be after a lifetime of seeing our sisters, mothers, friends, suffer at the hands of a worldwide sexist system? After experiencing an array of degrading, dismissive, fearful, and even violent, situations ourselves! Our fathers and brothers too, by the way, we’re all in this shit together.
WE ARE loud! We have to be, otherwise, those we face in socio-political battles won’t listen. Otherwise, those in need of support will believe they’re alone, and won’t realize the strength and the numbers behind them. Otherwise, we won’t be heard.
WE ARE blunt. Because we’re tired! Tired of having our basic human rights violated, tired of having our lives dictated and dominated by archaic systems that insist on subjugating us. And we will not be shushed with symbolic gestures or empty promises of change to come. We are that change, today. It is up to us, now.
As a woman, I do not have the luxury of forgetting for more than a couple of days that my existence on this earth is conditioned by my gender before something shitty sets it off again.
Let’s not forget to keep fighting for all women
On a day like today, women are being celebrated everywhere. It is our day after all. 8th of March, International Women’s Day.
But on a day like today, I’m thinking about this time last year, when France banned hijabs in school. I’m thinking about this because they just did it again. The land of cheese and wine has played with our hearts and got lost in the game by banning hijabs in sports. Oops, your racism is showing there…
On top of that, India has just followed suit, with its southern Indian state of Karnataka banning hijabs, setting off ongoing protests. Something I only just came up across, despite it happening very recently and today being International Women’s day. Why? Are we only feminists when it concerns us directly?
Now, I am no better, smarter, or more knowledgeable than anyone else. In fact, when it comes to hijabs, I really don’t know much at all. And I am aware that I do come from, and therefore speak out of, privilege. Which is something I try to keep in mind generally in life, so as to not speak out of turn. But mostly, in order to not speak for other people who I do not represent, it is not my place. So I will not speak on behalf of Muslim women.
I will however ask the following questions, as food for thought:
If one was so concerned with racism and safety, wouldn’t one tackle the causes of such things, rather than the victims of these rampant social plights? How can we claim to be liberating oppressed women from being subdued by their traditions, by enforcing our own?
Why does society keep fighting tooth and nail to control female sovereignty, particularly when it comes to our bodies, what we do with them, and how we present them to the world? What is it about exposing ourselves, or covering up, that is so terrifying?
As a woman I’m strong, but as women, we’re stronger
So on a day like today, I can’t help but look around at all the wonderful initiatives that are taking place and wonder… Which of these is genuine? And which of these are nothing but Facebook profile pic filters that will go back to the norm tomorrow? Of course, it is fantastic to celebrate women, but let’s not forget to celebrate all women.
When will we realize that the fastest, most solid way up is by uplifting one another, altogether?
Don’t think for a second that the feminist movement will advance without fighting for ALL women, and without addressing the various overlapping forms of inequality that affect different women. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, and you are unable to see the inequality within inequality which exacerbates discrimination for the majority of women, I urge you to educate yourself on Intersectional feminism.