Monday, June 28, 2010

Do feminists wear make-up?

For the longest time I believed that feminism was about being as gender neutral as possible. A true feminist would be strong, masculine and shed her stupid girly traits. It was demeaning to dress up, wear frills and put on make-up. I truly believed that the mark of a perfect feminist was one who wouldn't shed a tear, come what may.

And one day, it hit me. I beg an to think truly about what feminism really meant to me. Was it being equal to a man, being able to step into his shoes and carry your bags, open your doors and pay all your bills? But if awoman were to try so hard to be like a man was it not belittling her own self?

Women are made the way they are to serve their evolutionary purpose - nursing, child - rearing etc. To do these, carrying heavy objects was not a pre-requisite. Heavy lifting was left to the men, and rightfully so. After all, they were the ones hunting, bringing home the food. In this scenario, its more than fitting that women are more sensitive to their needs and the needs of others around them, more attuned to their emotions and that of others, more empathetic and a whole host of qualities that come with their role in society way back in the cavemen days.

Granted that today a lot of these functions are redundant - technology has stepped in and filled the shoes of both men and women in so many different ways! That said, somethings are better left to women and some to men.

Back to my original train of thought, if the case is that women and men are supposed to serve a different role in society even today, why is it that women strive so hard to be equal to men. Why do they need to be equal. Equivalent, yes. But not equal. By equivalent I mean "Equal Pay and Equal Respect for Equal Work." Something that even today is not

Think about every thing that is considered girly or feminine, and think about every big female leader : Margaret Thatcher - She was the epitome of stone-heartedness. Fondly called the IRON LADY, a name that screams all that is not feminine in the world. Indra Nooyi - sporting a short bob and manly suits, nobody recognizes an ounce of femininity in her demeanour. It is saddening that women have to shirk off all the qualities that make them female to be taken seriously at a male-dominated role.

There is a massive need in the world to embrace female qualities as potential strengths and for women to not be apologetic of themselves. Isn't that the height of un-feminism?

In my opinion, feminism is to be shamelessly female. To take 2 hours to get dressed, spend an hour on your hair, to cry when a movie's sad, to eject high-pitched sounds when excited and to be emo when something or somebody hurts you are part and parcel about being a women. These things do not define us, but they come with the territory. So why apologize, why shirk? Accept, embrace and just be yourself! That's what being a feminist is all about.


Mohinish Sinha said...

I loved the post.. for your thoughtful and fresh perspective on feminism. I cant help but agree with your perspective. We are meant to be who we truly are. Not attempt to be someone else..certainly not because people approve of !

Jamie Fan said...

Well said

Anonymous said...

Gender or no gender i believe everyone is equal whether u like it or not. If someone is destined(or should i say determined) to achieve what he/she wants it will invariably happen!