FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS/MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT FEMINISM

by - May 17, 2019

Hello lovelies, welcome to the first segment of the Feminist Handbook. On today's segment,I will be answering fifteen frequently asked questions about feminism and the popular misconceptions most people have about it, while Thisblackwoman will be answering the other fifteen questions.

1.WHO EXACTLY IS A FEMINIST?

A feminist is either a man or a woman who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.  Anyone who stands against gender inequality and believes no gender is superior to the other gender is a feminist. Anyone who acknowledges the travails and the subjugation of women in society and readily speaks up about these issues women face in this patriarchal society is a feminist.

2.CAN A MAN BE A FEMINIST?

Of course yes!!! Although, the feminism movement started essentially to liberate women from the cold claws of patriarchy in the society and also to demand for equality among the sexes, that does not in anyway mean a man can't be a feminist. Just as I stated earlier, a feminist is either a man or a woman who believes in the equality of the sexes.  So, the feminist label is not only for females. A man can also readily take up this label so far he shares the goal of feminism which is about establishing equality among the sexes.

3.WHAT BROUGHT ABOUT THE FEMINISM MOVEMENT?

The age long patriarchal practice that is responsible for the thorough subjugation and domination of women centuries ago brought about the feminism movement. It might interest you to know that so many centuries ago, women were not allowed to vote. In fact, they could not actively participate in politics.  They were not allowed to own lands and properties, they were not allowed to go to the universities like their male counterparts.  Instead, they were being tutored by their various governesses on how to read and write although not to the advanced level of their male counterparts, they were taught how to be  good home keepers, how to clean and cook, how to throw a dinner party, how to pamper a man, and how to basically live for a man because a woman is never complete without a man in her life. No one asks the girl child then about her dreams and aspirations in life, because the girl child was/ is still considered as an inferior being, which feminism is trying as much as possible to put an end to. So many women who showed interest in formal education were relegated to the background. It was the belief of the society then that whatever degree a woman acquires will definitely end up in the kitchen with her.(Some people in this present dispensation still have this type of archaic mentality by the way).

Some exceptionally good female writers of that period had to take up pseudonyms ( pen names) to conceal their true gender just for them to be taken seriously in the literary world. Some of these female writers include: Mary Ann Evans whose male pen name was George Evans,Charlotte Bronte whose pen was Currer Bell, Emily Bronte whose pen name was also Ellis Bell, Nora Roberts whose pseudonym was J.D.Robb. etc. They were able to sell their books because of the masculine names they used just to hide their identities as women. But now, the world is evolving. Women are now going into professions that were once considered strictly for the males, all thanks to feminism that made this possible. A woman can now decide to be thoroughly educated even to the highest level, a woman can vote now, a woman can own properties without seeking a man's consent etc. All these were next to impossible centuries ago. But with the feminism movement, certain restrictions on the female folks have been removed. This is not to undermine the fact that gender inequality is still very much thriving, and based on research, it will take 108 years to achieve a society where gender inequality will no longer be an issue.

4.IF FEMINISM IS REALLY ABOUT EQUALITY, WHY CAN'T IT BE CALLED EQUALISM OR HUMANISM?

Feminism cannot be referred to as either of these names, because their ideologies are totally different. Let's check out the brief definition of both. Humanism is a system of values and beliefs that is based on the idea that people are basically good and that problems can be solved using reason instead of religion. Simply put, humanists focus on how wonderful the human mind is and how humans need not to rely on the supreme being. Equalism on the other hand is an ideology that believes that all humans are equal irrespective of their race, status, gender etc. Feminism is a movement established at seeking gender equality. It recognizes the travails of women like the issue of rape, wage disparity among the sexes,reproductive right and a whole host of others which seeks to put an end to it by elevating the status of women in the society. We are yet to achieve that, hence the term feminism.


5.DO FEMINISTS HATE MEN?

This is a big lie. It is pertinent to understand the fact that the feminist movement is not a war against men, instead it seeks to dismantle the patriarchal system by creating a society devoid of gender inequality. Feminists are not men haters. We are only passionate about being treated as equal human beings in the society and also to free men from the age long shackles of patriarchy, because, believe it or not, patriarchy also has a negative effect on men which feminism seeks to dismantle. Although, there are some feminists who are misandrists (women who hate men) but they do not stand for every true feminist who advocates for gender equity. So, no! Feminists do not hate men and neither are we aggressive.

6.WHY ARE MOST FEMINISTS DOMINEERING?

Hold up! Being domineering is a trait found in some people. But, labeling every feminist you come across as a domineering person is outrightly wrong! Please,get rid of this false narrative. Feminists are not looking for who to subjugate or who will be submissive to them. All we are advocating for is equality.

7.WHY ARE MOST FEMINISTS LESBIANS?

A  guy actually asked me this question because I'm a feminist. It is very essential to reiterate the fact that not all feminists are lesbians. Feminism allows people who share its ideology to embrace their sexuality and own it. Some feminists are sexually attracted to the opposite sex, some are attracted to the same sex. Remember feminism is all about acceptance and establishing equality. So, before you label every feminist you see as a lesbian, you might want to have a rethink about it.

8.CAN I BE RELIGIOUS AND STILL BE A FEMINIST?

Yes of course. I am a devout Christian and also an unapologetic feminist. Christianity teaches us to treat people with respect, love and consider them as equals. This is exactly what feminism is all about. I know you might have some reservations about some certain verses in the Bible which states that the man is the head and a woman has to be submissive. To me, so many men have used this as a vital tool in the subjugation women for a very long time. They have misinterpreted this verse without having the full knowledge about what it really means. I want to ask you a question,do  you really think the Almighty considers one gender as inferior to the other?  We were created in the image of God and we all deserve to be treated equally without relegating any gender to the background. We will revisit this topic some other day. So back to the question, yes! You can either be a devout Muslim or Christian and still be a feminist because we are all equal in the sight of God and man.

9.DO FEMINISTS MAKE GREAT PARTNERS?

Well, this depends on what you are looking out for in your significant other. If you do not have any trouble with the feminist ideology and your partner ticks all the right boxes,the relationship might turn out great. It is important to understand the fact that people have different personalities. The ideology of feminism is what has united the various feminists that we have all over the world together.  So relax, we feminists are not angry birds who chase men away and sabotage relationships. Get rid of that mentality. People have various traits they exhibit which is totally different from feminism.

10.WILL MY FEMINIST WIFE TAKE MY NAME ONCE WE GET MARRIED?

Well, feminism is all about choice. A feminist might decide to take her husband's name or join it with hers because she wants to, while another will vehemently refuse this and hold on to her name even after getting married because she feels that is her identity. I am all for retaining my name after getting married because it's clearly my choice.

11.FEMINISM IS NOT IN THE AFRICAN CULTURE AND IT IS LEADING SO MANY WOMEN ASTRAY.

This is not true. Although, feminism is a western ideology but many women in the history of Africa have looked past their gender by contributing greatly to the society during their own time and also resisting the oppression back then which is what feminism clearly stands for. For example, the Dahomey women soldiers fought tooth and nail to keep their lands and contributed greatly to the military power of the Kingdom of Dahomey in the eighteen and nineteenth centuries. Moremi Ajasoro of Ife, was a bold woman who delivered the Yoruba tribe from oppression. These are exceptional women who didn't let their gender deter them in anyway.  Please, let it also be noted that feminism is instead liberating women as opposed the false narrative that has been perpetrated for long that it is leading women astray.

12.IS THE IDEOLOGY OF FEMINISM DIFFERENT FROM WOMANISM?

Both feminism and womanism have similar ideology. They both advocate for the equality of the sexes in the society. So, womanism is to feminism as purple is to lavender. Feminism was historically spearheaded by middle-class white women whose struggles didn't include racial discrimination. This brought about womanism propounded by Alice Walker which caters for all black women and other races like Asia, Hispanic etc by fighting against racial discrimination not just for women of colour, but also for their men and also advocating for equality among the sexes. Feminism in recent times has come to embrace every woman irrespective of her race by advocating for equality which womanism also stands for.

13.WILL A FEMINIST MAKE HEAVEN?

I was actually mortified when someone asked me this question. For the love of God, feminists are not murderers. We just believe in an ideology that will make the world a better place. You making heaven depends entirely on your character which could be either good or bad.

14.WHY DO MOST FEMINISTS HATE THE 'WIFE MATERIAL' TAG?

Of course, we hate this tag because it stifles a woman. There is this certain gender expectation placed on this label which a woman has to succumb to in order for her to be accepted in the society. This tag forcefully teaches our girls from a very young age to know how to cook and clean in order to make a good wife in the future while excluding the boys out of it. No gender is born with a cooking or cleaning gene. Socialization is responsible for this type of mentality. Anyone can learn how to cook and clean irrespective of his or her gender. This is exactly why feminists reject this tag because they are always expected to constantly live up to societal expectations.

15.WILL FEMINISM ALSO ADDRESS  THE STRUGGLES OF MEN?

Of course yes. Feminism understands the fact that patriarchy also has a negative effect on the male folks which it is seeking to dismantle. Toxic masculinity was birthed as a result of patriarchy which feminism also intends to solve. So, you can now see that feminism clearly advocates for the equality of both sexes yeah?

Let's Check out Thisblackwoman's questions and answers. Kindly click on the link below.thisblackwoman.com.ng


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