“Men and women are like right and left hands; it doesn’t make sense not to use both”
~ Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973)
I have had quite a number of friends ask me whether I am feminist or not. So I answer them here. I am not “feminist”. Neither am I “not feminist.” I am also not “a hybrid of the two”. I am simply put “me”. The first and primary category that should answer your questions. Now shall I explain my stance?
I am not shirking off the responsibility of bearing the title “feminist”. No in fact, it is an honorable title, and I deeply respect many of the valiant women I have seen adorn themselves with this title. Of course, I have also seen some wear this title and make me cringe. What I am though like I said is “me”, and perhaps I can divulge a little what “me” is.
“Me” will not stand to see any gender discriminated against purely because of “gender”. “Me” is of the view that women and men do both have a phenomenal place in this world. “Me” agrees with the fact – this is a male-dominated world and it must really change. “Me” knows for a fact that there exist “gendered” biases in power, influence, class, politics, economics, business, health, etc. , and “Me” believes that these two must change. “Me” knows for a fact that we can really get to an equitable playing field if we put our minds to it. “Me” applauds those who fight for justice and the freedoms of the oppressed in many regions of the world but urges them to consider the question of how we define freedom and justice? Is it the same worldwide? Should it be the same? (Read: Abu-Lughod on Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?)
“Me” fundamentally believes in the charge given to us “to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8, NIV Bible). “Me” will fight for the rights of those given the shorter end of the stick any day, when and if they rightfully deserve to have an equal part in whatever they have earned. Character and competence should be the motivations of selections, not gender or race.
Therefore I say it loud and clear that, I do not find it necessary to give me a category. I am feminist to some, I am not feminist to others, I am not “feminist enough” to yet some other people. But in all this, I will advocate on the terms of justice. If women are not given their due worth, you will see me at the forefront of the feminist fight, but fighting as “me” who believes in justice. If men are not being given their due worth at some other corner of the world you will see me, take on the label of “me” again, fighting for justice. Because for “me”, justice is the primary motivation, and justice has different names – “feminist” or not.