No, feminism is not an insult

I was talking about something with a friend and she told me, laughing, that I was becoming a feminist. When we talk about feminism, we talk about Femen and other groups of activists. We only think about groups considered as radical. But to be feminist is not an insult. Feminism is essential in a world built by and for men.

What was the situation ?

I was talking with a friend about a guy who flirts with me. I don’t flirt back, but apparently I am not clear enough. She explains to me how it works in Arabs countries with Arabs people and I should be more clear and I should do this and that. He doesn’t understand and so I really have to do this. And I am here, listening. This boy is absent, but he is in the center of the conversation. She gives me advices, she tells me that I have to be careful about him. She explains to me that he doesn’t know. We talk about his feelings, about what he feels. But mine ? Nonexistent. The fact that I am really not comfortable in this situation ? No words about it.

And so I am aware, listening, drinking my tea. And at some points, I can’t listen to this bullshit anymore. Ok, he doesn’t know, but why, me, should I know ? I am French, he is Arab. We don’t have the same culture, OK. But why, me, I should be interested by his if he doesn’t try to know anything about mine ?  Why he is the main subject of the conversation ? The only answer is : because he is a man and I am a woman. As a woman, I have to take care of the feeling of the man I have in front of me. She is a  bit surprised, she laughs and she says that she understands my point of view. And she concludes saying that I am becoming a feminist.

To be feminist, what is that ?

I have a Master in linguistic so, since I am in middle school, they told me that I have to define every important words. So what is feminism ? According to google, feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. If we check on Wikipedia, feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes. 

So, basically, to be feminist is only to be in quest of an equality. I don’t think there is an insult in those definitions…

Ok, so I think I could end this article now. I don’t have to write more, to explain and to go into details. After the definitions, it’s like everything is clear, right ? But no. Apparently, feminism is not seen as it should be, so let’s talk about it a little bit more.

I am feminist. I am not becoming a feminist, I am a feminist. And I say it without any shame. I am a woman and I would love to the equal of men. No matter the country I live in.

Feminism : a really scary word.

As I said, when we talk about feminism, we directly talk about activists. We mention the Femen or other groups considered as radical. Feminist have the reputation of being aggressive. People think that feminists hate men. Most of the time, people imagine really angry women plotting in their basement about how they can kill all men on earth.

But, sorry not sorry, it’s not like this. I have nothing against men I see daily. I don’t hate men. But I am mad at the society, for sure. There is a part of me who understand men who take the advantages given by this society.

It’s hard for me to choose the better words – especially in English – because I want to be as clear as possible. I arrive in Kuwait with my french point of view about all of this. I am aware about things, I did research about feminism and so now, I can understand how work different societies. And so I can understand and explain the reactions of people living in this society.

For example : if a Kuwaiti man marries a Kuwaiti woman, they will have a lot of advantages from the government. If a Kuwaiti man marries a foreigner, he will keep his advantages and will give it to his wife and his children. But if a Kuwaiti woman marries a foreigner, she will lose everything. So, a Kuwaiti woman have everything to lose marrying a foreigner, but not a Kuwait man.

So… It’s hard for a woman to refuse a marriage arranged by mom, isn’t it ?

I understood, living in Kuwait, something I couldn’t understand when I was in France.

 

An equality essential for everyone.

Most of the time, when it’s about socials fights, we see it as if there were two teams. In our case, it’s women VS men. Is it true ? No, not at all.

No, it’s not a war between women and men. It’s not like a fight, women VS men, winner wins by KO. In reality, men can participate too. Men don’t have anything to lose and women everything to win. And I think that men have more to win that they think.

Let’s think about it quickly… Ok, let’s say there is, finally, equality in education of kids. At the end, women will be able to be more ambitious when it’s about work and men will be able to have more time to take care of their kids. Is it a really bad situation ?

In Kuwait, it’s obviously stronger than in France. I was reading an article about a 40 years old woman not married. And she was thankful to her parents because they never put pressure on her to get married. I can’t understand this.

I am not sure that men are really happy about this situation, by the way.

This daily machismo seems to put a huge and big pressure on everybody’s shoulders. But it’s, obviously, easier to live with it for a man ! Really harder for a woman. In every country, in every society, there are still women dying because of being beaten by their husbands. A lot of woman being raped by their husbands… And it’s still not considered as a rape.

Yeah, men don’t want to talk about feminism because they feel they will lose a lot of privileges. Hitting their wife, for example…

Feminism is obvious

I really don’t understand why feminism is a topic. We shouldn’t need to talk about it. For me, it’s so obvious that men and women should be equal. Half of the population is women. And for the society, half of the population is less important than the other half…

As every woman, in every country, I’ve been the victim of this inequality. For example, all those men who insulted or whistled me in the street. I wan also talk about this boyfriend who thought it was normal to choose my clothes. It wasn’t a problem for him, it was normal. There is also this boss who called me by my name when every man in the office had the right to be called with a Monsieur.

We, women, live with it daily. We are raised thinking that all of it is normal.  Feminism is seen as something aggressive and violent. In reality, society is aggressive and violent for women. Feminism is the quest – that seems inaccessible – of an equality. This equality starts from something we can’t change. I didn’t choose to be a woman, I can’t be a man.

I really refuse to be the victim of a situation I didn’t choose. And for that, yes, I am a feminist.

Quelque chose à ajouter ? :)