I am a strong woman, self-confident and happy. This doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t feel like a cracked potato. But I live a good life, I love the men around me, and I am a feminist. I know there is a stigma against feminism in South Africa. But advocating women’s rights is important in a society with such gender-related problems, seeping into every culture it touches.
There is a global feeling, that boys are braver than girls; men more capable than women. But boys are told that they can jump from that tree, and if they break their arm, it’s part of growing up. Girls are told we’ll never make it up the tree. Certainly never jump. It’s too big, too difficult, too scary. When I was young, of course, I hardly noticed these things. But we were conditioned. My mum – clever lady – told me not to listen to certain music because I was impressionable. But meanwhile, every adult was telling me exactly what my gender meant that I was and what I could do.
A culture which uses feminism to balance its approach to humanity is one finally on the right side of history. Our past is one brawling ode to white men. If it is not time for the ‘minorities’ to gain ground, then it’s certainly time for our equality.
“Our culture teaches girls to be careful because men are predators. Feminism teaches girls to be strong because women are not prey.” – feministontinder
Feminism has turned into something unappealing. From the women’s march in 1956 for freedom during apartheid, it has been shoved aside, to a retort to our opinions. People tend to believe that feminists are always men-hating, angry, ‘feminazi’ types, strangely aligned with cats and spinsterhood. This is not feminism. A woman who hates men is a misandrist. And while there are many misandrists fighting for the feminist cause, they do not define feminism. Also, everyone should love cats, cats are great.
A beautiful statistic for South Africa is our number of women in leadership positions. Particularly political, with 41% representation of women in the National Assembly. This is perhaps why many South Africans believe that feminism is no longer needed in South Africa.
But then there are the other statistics. We know them, if only roughly. That South African women earn an average of 28% less than men. That girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are up to eight times more likely to be HIV-positive than boys the same age. That a woman is raped or battered every four minutes just in South Africa. That still, we own only 1% of the land in South Africa. Women are the backbone of our society, with many as the only income earners in their families, but we continue to be looked down on, and look down on ourselves, as less important than men. And that’s just not true.
If these are the signs of an equal society, then yes, I would prefer to be in an unequal society run by triggered cat-holding misandrists.