Taxi rides are incomplete without drama. I think the drama adds flavour to our mundane day-to-day lives. Yesterday after a long day at work, all I wanted was to get home so I could rest. Much to my delight there was only one seat left when I hopped onto the taxi. My excitement was short-lived as the man whom I was meant to sit next to, indicated with hostility that he did not want to sit in-between two women.
“I would rather get off and walk home than to be squeezed into a sandwich by women. What makes you think it is okay for you to squeeze me like this? Must be this feminism of yours that is ruining everything,” he said.
I went from offended and shocked to confused in a split second. The conversation had escalated fast, and I was failing to keep up. Feminism always finds its way into conversations in the most bizarre ways.
Simply put, feminism is about all genders having equal rights and opportunities. I do not know how a good number of people have twisted the definition of feminism to a fight for power to only benefit women. Feminism advocates for gender equality, it believes in giving equal human rights to all.
The man in the taxi did not have to say much for me to make it out that he did not approve of feminism. He, like many other people associate feminism with femininity and consider it to be an attack to ‘manhood’. These are the myths that we should never tire from trying to dismantle.
According to GlobalData, the literacy rate in South Africa had reached 95.33% in 2021. Feminism is the reason why you and I are literate; it is also the reason why we can follow in career paths of our own liking. Feminism is the reason why my mother can wear jeans and drink wine; it is also the reason we have women who are CEO’s, women can work for their money, have it paid into their own bank accounts, and they even get to decide when and how they are going to spend the said money. Feminism has insured that as of today, a woman can single-handedly buy a house or a car and even own land. Significant change has been brought forward by the presence of opportunity and choice.
Today, men receive paternal leave and family responsibility leave without discrimination. All men are real men irrespective of how they choose to express themselves. Everyone now has the freedom to live up to their own truths and aspirations in terms of their sexuality, their beliefs, and goals. Men no longer have to live up to expectations of being the breadwinner and the burdensomeness of being the only person that works in a household, all thanks to feminism – and this is just but to name a few advantages of feminism.
No matter who you are or where you are from or what you believe in, feminism is your friend. Feminism has nothing to do with belittling, emasculating, and discriminating against any gender. It is about non superiority and impartial fairness. It is unfair to downplay and package feminism into a scheme that hates and disrespects men. Feminists have put their lives on the line forging a new world order where there is systematic balance for all.
I change my mind a lot and I stumble upon new dreams from time to time. I am especially grateful for the possibilities of taking any route towards my destiny because my place is no longer just in the kitchen. It can be at a farm or a construction site or even at the office. I belong everywhere and so do you and this is simply a reality because of our good friend, feminism.
This piece was written as part of the Fundza Fellowship Programme.