Yes I am a feminist

Wadzanai Dzvurumi

Wadzanai Dzvurumi
Wadzanai Dzvurumi

Yes, I am a feminist.

No, I do not detest men, but I simply do not want to live in a world where women are constantly oppressed and denied even the most basic rights. We live in a world where women face thinly disguised misogyny in their everyday lives.

Let us get things straight: feminism is not about being anti-men and pro-women. Instead, feminism is about the liberation and freeing of women. It is the advocacy of all women’s right to be politically, socially and economically equal to men.

Yes, men can be feminists, too; asking men to reject sexism and the abuse of women, I believe, does not take anything from them. But because they are are sitting in a position of privilege, it is hard for some men to understand the depth of injustice women face. Therefore, I feel like a man’s opinion on feminism will always be limited. While it is important for them to call out inequality and oppression against women when they see it, it is also important for them to recognize that their voices should not shout over those who have actually experienced misogyny and sexism and have a far better understanding of how it operates.

Do not get me wrong. Men are oppressed in society, too, because they are poor or racially despised or homosexual or do not conform to certain gender stereotypes, but not because of their gender. Women are oppressed in these ways, too, in addition to their gender.

Award-winning actress Emma Watson, a Women’s Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations, said: “Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong. It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, not as two opposing sets of ideals.”

I strongly value this statement because I have had endless encounters in which I was oppressed and denied of things simply because I am a woman.

I remember, back in elementary school, when I wanted to be become a class monitor, and my teacher told me girls were not strong enough to become class monitors. Can you imagine how such words completely destroyed and belittled me?

We are fighting a good fight. Three years ago, I did not say a word when people joked that women belong in the kitchen or when adults told me to cover my body so boys would not leer at and objectify me. Today, when I make a decision to reveal my skin, I am saying that I am in control of own body. I own what it is, and that is what I want to do. Some women want to be housewives, some want to become Oxford professors, some want to be surgeons and some nuns, and that should all be okay. This is the element of freedom.

We need feminism for those women who get asked why they want to get into engineering since it is not oriented toward females. We need feminism because sexual assault should not be a learning experience, especially for those women shamed into believing they were not raped. We need it for women who do not receive the same wages as their male colleagues even though they are more educated and experienced, and for women who decide to earn less than their partners or become housewives so their men will not be frowned upon for making less.

To parents, I urge you to nurture your daughters. Do not raise them to believe that the earth is flat and that if they venture out, they will fall off the edge. Raise them to aspire to be all they can be without putting limitations on them because they are female.

To all the women reading this, I hope you choose to become women of your own kind and likeness. I hope you continue to fight to eradicate the inequalities we face. We are not fighting to be above men, but we are fighting for equality in workplaces, professions, households and communities.

We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.