Originally inspired by ThatWriterChic 8 Days of Feminism posts in March…
The first time a guy ever called me a ‘feminist’, I honestly thought it was a swear word. I didn’t know what the word meant but whatever he had just said I was, I didn’t want to be it. His tone expressed offense with my feminism (bacteria), and I kinda liked him so I made sure to deny any association to the despicable term he had just accused me of. The word continued to follow me around a little bit, until a curiosity grew in me to understand its meaning and origin. I must admit though, that my internet search on feminism wasn’t really one of my most motivated because right after opening just the first webpage on Google, I fell asleep…
Men still spew the word in my face whenever we converse about anything really, and sadly it is still not expressed as a compliment. Church men believe I am possessed and those that I am not religiously affiliated with, think that I am taking ‘this equality thing too far.’ I’ve had to make peace with the reality that the only time these type of men are ever comfortable with listening to a woman’s voice, it is when it’s an undetectable giggle tickling away at their fragile egos. They prefer women who don’t challenge their chauvinistic ways, or else you will be branded as rebellious, unmarriageable or disrespectful. These kind of men want women to always be wowed out of their socks by their ‘unspeakable awesomeness’ but never interrogated about their antagonizing beliefs, ideas and doctrines that are prejudice and unfair to the same women they proclaim to deeply love and respect.
From the time a girl child is born, she is never taught how to be her own first. She is moulded and preserved for a nameless husband that she might never even grow up to want. Even in 2016, women in the black communities are still continually being discouraged by their families from appearing to be too successful or too independent because it’s believed she will scare away all the men that still need to qualify her as a ‘real woman’ with a ring and a bride price first. This is a form of brainwashing that ensures women grow up believing that their sole purpose in life is to belong to someone else. It is constantly hammered into our minds that a woman should always be in waiting to be acquired by the ‘unknown great honorable one’. Slowly but surely women are beginning to realize that these ridiculous teachings are only holding them back, misleading them into thinking they can never be perfectly complete without any external qualifiers.
After (shamefully) falling asleep trying to understand why I was branded a feminist by all these men. I woke up the next morning and thought to myself, So What? So what if, I am just a woman who is taking this equality thing too far? So what if, even though I don’t subscribe to this term, but still manage to find myself cussed out by unintentionally possessing all its power? A power that gives women a new vibrant voice, even if we have to dig it out of the vocal cords of people who think we are undeserving. The power to be anything a woman declares and aspires to be. The power to be overwhelmed with options of who you can be in life. The power to be beautiful in any way you choose. The power to speak up even when the world is trying so hard to silence you. The power to dream and have equal opportunities.
Not only have we been stepped on and punished for showing the world we are capable of standing on our own two feet but we are also expected to be apologetic for living out louder than expected. Thing is now, we are done being sorry for realizing our strength, and we are certainly no longer pleading for a listening ear. Women should exceed every little limitation they’ve been restricted with, we will train our dragons with the same greatness that can never be taken away from us and this time there will be no going back. We are determined on defying the very same options that are dictated to us and occupying spaces that have been deemed unworthy for us to possess.
Cover Photo By: Andile Phewa