Healthy Feminism Vs Toxic Feminism

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Two weeks ago there was a debate about whether abortion should be legalized or not. All the men in the office were against it and I jumped in to make two points: 1. Abortion has the same weight as any other sin; like adultery and fornication so if the issue is about religion then let everyone face God for their own individual Sins and 2. Motherhood is a calling; some have it, and some don’t. It is therefore really cruel to down throat this responsibility on those who do not want it. After a brief silence one of them sarcastically said, “Na wee ni kafeminist.”

The word ‘feminist’ has been so tarnished that most women shun away from being associated with it. Feminists are not women who ‘try to compete with men’ or who ‘try to prove they can do better than the other gender’. It runs deeper than that; it’s a pure movement that should not be associated with hormones and feelings.

Let’s not put the word in a tiny box by relating it to campaigns and being aggressive or loud; feminism can be silent too, it can be so gentle and pass its message through the daily random acts like smiling to a fellow woman when she gives a great presentation in a meeting or giving a hug to the woman you find crying in the bathroom. Feminism can also be firm and strict, like calling out your friend who’s being too dumb to see that she deserves better in a relationship.

Betty Kyalo. Sweet, ever smiling and unafraid; that woman has been through it all- Crappy employers, a divorce, twitter trolls and body shamming but she has managed to remain as bubbly and cheery as ever. She knows who she is and what she brings on the table. We see how she uplifts women in her interviews; how she nods and smiles to encouraging them to keep talking about all the successes in their lives; I mean that right there is a feminist. You won’t ever see her with a banner written ‘GENDER EQUALITY’ but you feel her message in how she walks and talks.

Feminism becomes toxic when you let it define you. There are quite a number of pointers on toxic feminism like:

  1. Insisting on paying the bills on a date
  2. Denying him the chance to help you get the cooking oil from the top shelf and you’d rather break your leg while at it
  3. Starting all your arguments with ‘as a feminist’- this just reflects on your insecurities and constant desire to remind everyone that you are strong.
  4. Not wanting to let yourself enjoy some sexual positions because the feminist in you might feel ‘disrespected’ – which is utter nonsense by the way.

Let the feminism be swift. It should never be strenuous because you are so much more than your gender. Remember that you control it; not the other way round and one does not have to disrespect men in order to prove herself. Also, real feminists uplift other women and ensure the spirit of sisterhood blossoms around them.

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