It’s something that scares men away, and divides women. It’s something that is used so loosely nowadays its value diminishes. Its origins stem from inequality between the sexes in a patriarchal society. Fast forward to today, most first world nations have taken steps in the right direction. Canada being at the forefront of a feminist-centric movement through equal gender representation in its government, a movement advocated by its male prime minister. All over the world women are recognized, even put on a pedestal for “having it all.” We toss these names all over our newsfeed, our modern day Amazonians – Hillary Clinton, Beyoncé Knowles, and other figures than may have not made it in mainstream consciousness but have become movers and shakers in their own fields, male dominated or not.
Despite these developments, I think this generation has gotten feminism all wrong.
With the advent of social media, I find it so alarming that the likes of Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus are seen as icons of the modern feminist movement. I find it alarming that “Free the Nipple” and “My Body, My Choice” are battle cries breeding a generation of women that is so blinded by freedom, it forgets about consequence.
It’s one thing to be free to choose. Most, if not all human beings have that right. But where the conflict lies is how empowerment is seen in the act of free choice, without considering the consequences of that choice. It’s a fine line that separates empowerment with narcissism. If you get up on that bar top and take your bra off, that is your choice. But you need to be able to own up to the consequence of that action, or the worst-case scenario. In this case it could be as mild as heckling and as bad as sexual harassment. In an ideal world, men should respect you and your decisions. In many parts of the world, this is not reality.
And to be a true feminist, we need to understand that before getting blinded by narcissism in the disguise of empowerment.
The trap of modern feminism is thinking it stops with free choice, without taking into account the consequences of that choice within present day realities.
Yes, it’s hard to be a woman in a somewhat, still very male dominated world. Yes, sometimes you just want to wear that short skirt and screw anyone you want, without facing consequences. Yes, sometimes you just want to shed all of what society expects from you as a woman and begin acting like a man. But in doing so, you still conform to the very ideology you are trying to rebel against- by conceding to the thinking you very much detest. We are dangerously attracted to the recklessness, relentlessness and ruthlessness men seem to get away with in the arenas of love and career, we forget about the natural strengths and abilities that come with being a woman.
To be a true feminist isn’t to act like a man. It isn’t to embody masculine traits and add more fuel and division to an already very male eschewed world. To be a true feminist is accepting the uniqueness that come with your gender – strengths, limitations and all, and respect that same uniqueness in the opposite sex.
You can be a feminist if you’re male, female, or gay. To be a true feminist is to own up to your choices by owning up to their consequences. Know the difference between narcissism and true empowerment. “I will make a choice based on the consequence I am willing to face.” That takes it a step further than the mainstream take on feminism. The mark of a true feminist is making informed decisions. It’s owning up to not just our choices but the consequences of our choices, considering present day realities. It’s one thing to dress provocatively to express yourself, but take it a step further and think of the consequences of that choice. That is true feminism for me. In fact, it goes beyond the gender wars. Thinking of consequence takes you beyond feminism to what I think the world needs more of – HUMANISM.
More than showing the world our bodies, let us show the world what kind of humans it needs today – one that exercises freedom with full knowledge of consequence, one that accepts and respects the strengths and limitations of both genders, one that seeks to unite rather than divide the world even further.
So the next time you want to shed some skin, think of your true motivation before you #feminist what you show, do, or say.