26 feb. 2019

Why do we call it feminism?

I have had the discussion as to why the movement towards equality is called feminism and not humanism or egalitarism— many times. People sometimes have a hard time understanding that something that seeks equality seems to only focus on "one side".

Why do we call it feminism?

The first reason is the simplest and most obvious: when there is an oppressed group, the way to free it from that oppression is to focus on it. I cannot achieve equality between white men and slaves if I don’t focus on freeing the slave. I cannot achieve equity between a homosexual and a heterosexual if I don’t make sure the homosexual can go outside without being beaten to death. It's as simple as: to make everyone equal, I need to give that one oppressed group the rights and opportunities the other group has been enjoying since always.

I know you may think women have the same rights as men nowadays. We kinda do, in a sense. We can go to school (which we couldn’t until way into the 17th , 18th, even 19th century), we can vote (which we weren’t allowed until the 1800s), we can own a credit card (only since 1974), we can choose our husband, we can ride trains (which we were not allowed to do before the 1900s), we can run marathons (which was banned from us until 1970), we can smoke in public (which was against the law until 1908), and so on. However, many of these things are still prohibited in some countries. Arranged marriages, clitoral ablation, driving, voting, studying and ownership prohibition, sex trafficking, are still very common things in many countries. Simply put, women are just not able to enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men yet.

The second reason, which is the one that seems most logical to me, is that it is called FEMINISM because it seeks to restore the dignity of THE FEMININE. And the feminine is not exclusive to women.

For centuries, sensitivity, empathy, concern for details, delicacy, passivity, asking for help, showing emotions, caring for others, have been seen as signs of weakness. "That’s just girl stuff," they say. And with that, they imply that when women are born, whether or not they have developed those attributes, they belong in a “lower class”, a weaker, less worthy class. And, at the same time, they imply that a man who dares show any of these characteristics is "weird" or simply "less of a man". Feminine is worth less., and that’s why a man being called a girl is an insult.

So, with these preconceptions, all of us, men and women, are unhappy. Women, because those characteristics that seem so intrinsically “ours" are seen in less, and men, because they grow up believing that showing any feminine characteristic removes their validity as men, and in the end, as human beings.

It's called feminism because it's THE FEMININE of both men and women that has been invalidated, abused and dismissed for centuries. It is called feminism because we want to give dignity back to dialogue, passivity, empathy, the validation of emotions. It's called feminism because we want everyone, men, women and any other non-binary category, to be happier.


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