Good morning! It’s raining outside and I have no big plans for the day, which means I have time to catch up on some things I’ve been meaning and wanting to do. One of those things was finishing my article on feminism, which I promised a few weeks ago, and finally, here it is. This is just one of at least three articles I’ve created in my head on the subject, and it’s about some of the truly important reasons I believe we still need feminism.
First of all – what is feminism? If you Google it you’ll get this definition: the advocacy of women‘s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. A lot of people feel we don‘t need feminism anymore. They say women and men are equal. Women are in total control over themselves. In earlier years women had to fight for the right to vote, the right to get education and have the same opportunities as men. They had to fight against being owned by their husbands. But today, a large part of women in the world have gained these basic human rights. Women can have jobs and get paid. They can wear jeans and drive cars. But the situation isn’t the same all over the world. The world is so much larger than the Western world. And until everyone in the world has gained equal rights and has control over their own body we still need feminism. Here are a few examples of why we still need feminism:
- Yes, you might have your driver‘s licence and trendy jeans. But in some countries women aren’t allowed those things. In Sudan, women are not allowed to wear pants. In Saudi Arabia women can‘t drive cars and if they leave the country their husbands will get a text notification…you know, just in case they‘re leaving without their permission.
- Female genital mutilation is still happening in 29 countries and is done to girls as young as 5 months. FGM is when bits of the woman‘s genitals are cut off and then stitched back together. This is often done by non-professionals in dirty places and not only is it extremely painful, but it‘s also dangerous. If they don‘t bleed to death they often get infections or become infertile. Sex becomes extremely painful or even impossible for the rest of their lives and they don‘t feel any pleasure from it. Even peeing hurts.
- Child brides still exist in countries like India, South Sudan and Yemen. Child marriages affect both girls and boys but more girls still suffer from it. In South Sudan and Yemen, girls often get married to a man decades older than them. And if they refuse? Chances are they‘ll be physically hurt or even murdered.
- Infanticide is when a baby is killed by their parents. In most cases it‘s the baby girls who suffer because they are valued less. Having a boy is considered economically better for the family. This has caused a so called “gender crisis“ in countries like India and China, where they have millions more men than women.
- Honor killings are still happening in countries like India, Jordan and Haiti and are estimated to be over 5000 a year. Girls are murdered by their relatives because they feel she‘s dishonoured the family. In some countries people are even encouraged to do this or at least excused for doing it.
- Women in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, to name a few places, get their ears and noses cut off or are doused with acid, because they tried to escape horrible situations, bad marriages or even for reasons as ridiculous as going to college.
And let‘s not forget Malala Yousafzaiwho was shot in the head on her way to school…
I know that you and anyone reading this most likely lives miles away from all of this. But does that mean you shouldn’t care? Wouldn’t you feel terrible if you were one of these women? The fact that so many of us do live in fairly equal communities and have what it takes to help gives us an even bigger reason to actually stand up and do exactly that.
Still feel you don’t need feminism because you have the right to drive, wear jeans and no one’s cut your clitoris off? Well, you do have reasons to be a feminist. There are other things going on in our society, which in comparison might not be as serious, but are still important, affect us in a bad way and need to be changed. I’ll share my thoughts on that another time.
Some people also say they‘re not feminists because the main focus of feminism is on women’s suffering while men are forgotten. But feminism today is about equality for all, and men are just as important as women. That brings up another question, should men be feminists? And can they be feminists? I’m still trying to answer that question myself. I’ll get back to you on that.