Feminist. That’s a loaded word. Almost every time someone says they are a feminist, the reaction they get is one of two extremes. Either they are vilified for being “men-hating, panty-waving, entitled” women or they are canonised for being “champions of the voice-less and believers in women.” Without necessarily exploring how perceptions of the word became so polarised, I am going to state today that I am a feminist too. Or at least I think I am. Why?
I am a feminist because I believe women have the right to life. I know it sounds like a truism, but I say that because I believe the right to life applies even to women who are so small, they cannot exist comfortably outside the bodies of the women who bear them. Yes, I believe it is wrong to violently wrench little women out of their mother’s bodies. I believe it is wrong to abort, because abortion kills little women. So I am a feminist because I believe even those little women have a right to life.
I am a feminist because I believe women are equal to men. I do not base my recognition of that equality on the fact that, in our age, women have done everything that men have done — gone to space, pioneered nuclear research, played football — and, in many cases, better than men. No, I base my view of the equality of men and women on their equal dignity as human beings, sharers in human nature. Even without women doing all those other things, they would still be equal to men. Their worth does not come from what they do, but rather from what they are; human beings.
I am a feminist because I believe that, despite their equality, men and women are different. As in, they are not the same. Each comes in a package of bodily features, feelings, intuitions and abilities that set them apart from one another. These differences do not denote any inferiority or superiority whatsoever, as some would have us believe. They are just differences, pure and simple. So I believe it is wrong to make women think they need to be able to do everything that men do for them to be equal. That would be to judge women by male standards, which just isn’t fair.
I am a feminist because I believe there is one thing women do which cannot be surpassed by men. Women bring life into the world. Carrying a human being in their womb for nine months, bringing them onto these sun-washed shores through the bitter pain of labour, nursing and nurturing them into adulthood, easing them into society to fend for themselves, and sheltering them when they get hit by the billows of the world, they serve a most valuable and irreplaceable purpose in our world.
No achievement of a man has yet managed to surpass this one miraculous feat. Yet women achieve it every day, seemingly effortlessly. In fact, I could argue that all the achievements of the male members of our species, put together, cannot be equal to just one act of a woman bringing life into this world. Good luck convincing me otherwise.
I am a feminist because I believe women deserve better than to be pumped with chemicals that mess up their natural systems, drugs that suppress their natural femininity by blocking their life-giving capabilities. I believe getting women to take contraceptives is like taking grandeur of womanhood and flinging it to the dust. It degrades women into instruments by which men can achieve guiltless sexual pleasure. It is the height of male chauvinism.
Contraceptives are not the liberators of women. They are the chains that tether them even more firmly into servitude to men who do not know the true worth of women. I still believe the greatest con in the history of humanity was the sales pitch that convinced women to turn in their femininity in exchange for these destructive chemicals.
I am a feminist because I believe women hold the world together. Their capability for sacrifice, their tenacity in work and their sensitivity in social dealings are the balm that heal the wounds of society. Their contribution tends to be hidden, but that is not a bad thing. Their dignity does not depend on recognition. In fact, no amount of recognition can do justice to their contribution.
Finally, I am a feminist because I refuse to buy the lies women have been told by those who appropriate the feminist title to themselves but are in truth traitors to the common dignity of womenfolk. They claim they love women yet support abortion, which kills countless little (and big) women.
They claim to love women yet support the Pill, which turns women into chemical wastelands. They claim to love women yet tell them they can only find their worth by dressing skimpily so men can see more of their flesh. And countless other unhelpful things. This is not feminism. This is a BIG lie.
I am a feminist. Because I am a feminist.
Feature image: unknown source.
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