He Says - What is Feminism

January 29 - February 04 , 2020

Gulf Weekly He Says - What is Feminism

A few years ago, Malala Yousafzai in her speech said: “We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” Today, as I reflect upon everything, I feel that this quote is increasingly relevant. It’s the struggle towards equality.

Today, most women around me are feminists. What has to be explicitly clarified to everyone is that this isn’t a movement led by women alone, and it certainly isn’t a fight between women and men. It is a drive towards what is right and we need to work towards this goal together as a society, irrespective of our gender, age, socio-economic backgrounds, lives etc.

This also means that we break the walls around what has been toxically fed into our brains about being “masculine” or “feminine.” This ranges from accepting men to be capable of displaying a large array of emotions such as crying and other vulnerabilities, women choosing not to have children, men being scared of lizards and women not liking flowers and chocolates. It is when we accept the abnormalities in our mundane normal lives that we gradually develop a deeper understanding of equality.

Additionally, I do not believe in the segregation of tasks and roles based on whether a person is a female or not. Not that I feel that this has ever been right, but, especially now, tasks are so gender-fluid that it is the duty of each and every one of us to encourage this positive movement.

We have come a long way already. The stereotypes regarding gender-based occupations are slowly falling. Women are acing it in engineering, construction, flying and so many other fields where previously, their entrance was considered taboo. At the same time, men too have been able to expand and successfully strive as makeup-artists, costume designers and other domains where they weren’t considered capable.

What I want to reiterate is, feminism isn’t, and never has been, a struggle for women to become equal to men – it’s much larger than that. It is about both men and women reaching equality together. After all: “We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”

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