Whether you’re a 19-year-old Feminist like myself, searching through all the blogs to re-evaluate your existing ideas of feminism, or a hardened feminist warrior already, we all know feminism comes with its very own unique baggage! Here are 5 (first world) everyday struggles young Feminists understand.
#1 The Stigma
Let’s start with the obvious and usually the most common!
Just dropping the F bomb (Feminist – to all the potty mouths) causes all kinds of crazy depending on the crowd you’re in. There is probably someone that comes to mind when I mention this – whether a loud-mouthed stranger, a bigoted friend or ignorant family member and oh gosh the commentary;
“So, does that mean you’re a lesbian now?”
“Damn, didn’t think you hated men THAT much!”
“Please take your FEMINAZI shit elsewhere!”
Feminism comes with so much stereotypical hate and negative stigma, we all know that people then stop using the name just to avoid it – despite still doing the work!
#2 Chivalry vs. DIY
The constant “do I let him help me or do I do it myself” debate..
Imagine this; you’re on a kayak and trying to get out on a rocky shore, a guy kayak instructor is only helping out the girls. Do you take his hand and let him help you or DIY and risk falling into the ocean? – Me *Uses the air as leverage and risks swimming with the fish*
You’re going on a date and he offers to foot the bill; do you let him, DIY, or insist on going Dutch – Me *Insist on going Dutch so I have no sense WHATSOEVER of obligation to give any more than I’m willing to*
I can’t speak for everyone, but the sense to prove my equal capability of doing gender divided labour has been embedded in me since I was young. That has then led me down this irreversible path, that no matter what I’m doing, my sense of being able to prove I can do it all steps in!
#3 “It’s a boy/girl thing”
Especially in a pacific household, we are always told there are certain things as females we can and cannot do as opposed to your brothers and male cousins.
Females are both the most over protected/ cherished but ultimately also the most underestimated within our families. Sometimes I wonder whether, I’ve somehow been put into a time machine and wound up in the 60’s.
Not only do we have to be the ones adapting to the behaviours of the males around us, with those around us making excuses for any boy’s wrong doing with, “boys will be boys”. But this also delves into the divisiveness of the jobs we’re told we’re “capable” of doing based on our gender – that’s a NO from me – if boys can do it, Girls can to!
There are many assumptions people have on what they think they know about Feminism. Have you ever heard someone say, “well you’re a feminist so you shouldn’t like the traditional feminine things like cooking, wanting to shave or wanting a door held open for you” And if you say you do, you have to why we can still enjoy these things! So many assumptions and such little actual knowledge!
#5 The making of a good Feminist
Last but definitely not least sometimes we get caught up in what we could do to become a “good feminist.” And it always leads to so much unnecessary competition with the next person. My fellow feminists – the mere fact that you’re willing to learn more, raise your hand and take on this movement is always good in itself! Whether you proudly wear the label or you unknowingly practice, all benefit the equality and equity we want to ultimately achieve.
By Tupou Valu