True feminism has always strived to bring about equality among genders. The main goal of feminism has not been that of making women superior but to be a voice to speak about equal rights. The roots of feminism can be traced back to as early as 1410 when French writer Christine de Pizan through her book “The Book of the City of Ladies” brought the role of women to the limelight by presenting them as equally valuable members in the society. This was followed by a number of other writers whose works became a voice for the long unheard muffled voices. This was eventually followed by action when women started working for equal rights, educational rights, reproductive rights, basically to be treated as equals. Over the years, women and even men through their efforts have succeeded to liberate countless other women in every way possible, be it politically, economically, culturally and even sexually.
Feminism for me however is that and so much more. It is not just about equality but is also about liberty. Feminism is about giving women the support to develop the courage and freedom to openly discuss about taboo issues like sexual harassment at home, work and public places, about body shaming and a plethora of other issues which were earlier considered trivial. It is about giving power to women. Teaching little girls that it is okay to have goals and dreams and be driven and ambitious, encouraging adult women to make them realize that it is okay to choose not to marry or have children and that it is also possible to be both a homemaker and have a career. That choosing to be a career oriented woman does not make her more of a feminist neither does choosing to be a homemaker makes her less of a feminist.
It is about enlightening teenagers that the standards of beauty of a woman as decided by the world is not real beauty, that being skinny does not make her more of a girl, being heavy does not make her less appealing neither does being muscular make her less of a girl. That she can choose to be a plain Jane or a dolled up Barbie and be confident about it. It is about giving power to girls and women not over men but over themselves, power over their minds, hearts and bodies.
Feminism for me is about how true she can be to herself. It is about freedom to choose her own path in life, freedom to make her own decisions, freedom to make mistakes and learn from it. It is about having the independence to be a human. That the goal of feminism is realizing that there can be no equality of genders without liberty.
(Temsutula Longkumer an amateur writer with a passion for reading and the art of writing and currently residing in Dimapur teaching Economics to undergraduates in Eastern Christian College) (On E-mail)