It’s interesting to me how the tides have turned when it comes to feminism.
More and more women are realizing that they should be treated equally to men and standing up for that right, and it makes me proud to be a small part of that. Feminism to me isn’t the hatred of men, but the idea that women are equal to them and are share every right they do. One is not more powerful or more important than the other, but somehow there has become this great and gaping imbalance between the two sexes.
I have to contribute my passion for feminism towards what I was a witness to growing up. In Chinese culture, males are considered more important than females. Giving birth to a boy is considered good luck. Sometimes, if a woman gave birth to a girl, she would dispose of her. I feel there is a very sexist culture within the Chinese community and it cannot be more evident than in my family. The women would sweat in the kitchen making food, only for the men to be served and seated on the dinner table. The women would either sit in the lounge or feed their kids. Afterward, it would be the women who would clean all the mess up. I’ve seen men hardly put a fork in the kitchen sink let alone ask if they needed any help. I also noticed how differently my parents treat my brother and I. The injustice of it stresses me. He gets away with most things and the consequences for his actions are non-existent or very light. However, I have a double curse: I am a female and an older child. This means I bear the flag for the family and have most of the responsibility on my shoulders. If I was disobedient or did something wrong, punishment was more severe. I have been reprimanded for being disobedient, and me moving out of home was seen as an act of abandonment and sin.
I have also seen much abuse within my family, immediate and extended, and the men puff up with pride and use the excuse that they are the head of the house to exert tyranny. It was sickening and I hated it. I wanted my mum to leave my dad, or at the very least speak up to him. I wondered why she would never file for divorce for the amount of times he has beat or stolen from her and, being a victim of that myself, I vowed that I was never going to let any man walk over me again – in my family, in my friendships and in love.
Now, when a man displays any kind of sexism, it angers me. There’s a double standard which is so seeped into our culture that we don’t even notice it sometimes, especially in regards in the rape culture. Women are blamed for rape because of what they wear, but if a man falls victim to rape we immediately become sympathetic. He is not told to dress differently or to not walk around late at night anymore and yet we readily tell women the same. Instead of blaming the victim, why aren’t we blaming the rapist? (Check out the Gulabi Gang, a woman’s gang in India who have learned to defend themselves against rapists!).
No, not all men are sexist, inconsiderate and egotistic. But the ones who are need to be stood up to by those who believe that all men and women were created equal, that the world would indeed fall apart without women and that they are more than capable and strong and intelligent than the world has come to believe. The voices for change and justice for women are soaring higher and higher, and you can be a part of that movement. It doesn’t just mean fighting for the right to be treated equally, standing up to sexism and misogynists and calling them out when something isn’t right, it also means supporting and empowering each other as women. If you do this and believe all those things, you are a feminist, and that’s a powerful thing to be.