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Nasiphi Mvunyiswa
 
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Feminist in the closet

04 May 2014, 19:00

It seems feminism has become somewhat of a joke to most people, even women.  I constantly see jokes and insults about feminists on social networks.  Jokes about how women who are feminists are just lonely women who can’t find a man or how they like to act better than others.

A close friend of mine randomly told me I’m a feminist a few weeks ago and I reluctantly agreed with her.  I had never referred to myself as a feminist before that day, even though I always knew I was.  I was raised by a single mother, who supported my two siblings and me all on her own.  And my grandmother was a woman that financially supported herself, since my grandfather had died before I was even born.  My point is I grew up around strong independent women who never needed financial support from a man, so I don’t understand this thing of girls wanting men to give them money to do their hair, or buy them clothes.  There’s even this ridiculous thing called “girlfriend allowance”, where boyfriends monthly give their girlfriends an amount of money.  That is by far the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of.  But girls are proud to constantly brag about how their boyfriend gives them money every month.  I would honestly rather go bald and starve to death than have a man give me a “girlfriend allowance” every month.  I have never actually voiced out my opinions about how I think women should see themselves as equal to men and not accept being patronised with “girlfriend allowances”.  I’ve never voiced it out because feminism is seen as being “uncool.”

I’m constantly being told I’m not “wife material” because I’m not fond of cooking and I hate doing domestic work.  So let me get this straight, I have to know how to cook and clean so I can do these things for the man I get married to, but it’s okay if he can’t cook or clean? Well if that’s what married life is about than it’s not for me.  But every time someone tells me I’m not “wife material” I just laugh it off, and not say how ludicrous I think this concept of being “wife material” is.  The other day I realised how phenomenal one of my friends is, she was telling me about this great meal she had cooked and I casually joked using that ridiculous statement they always say to and told her she’s “wife material”.  She laughed and said to me, “I cook because I love to eat, not so I can cook for a man”.  What she said to me that day made my heart smile.  And I realised how silly it is for me to be ashamed of being who I am, a feminist.

Let me define what being a feminist means to me.  I don’t mind going out to eat with a man and he pays, but I also don’t mind being the one that pays the others times we go out.  Sometimes I got the bill.  I prefer to use my own money to do my hair and buy my clothes, basically I prefer to not be financially dependent on my partner in any way or form.  I don’t see myself as inferior to men.  Human beings should respect each other equally and gender should not play a factor. 

And men are not the only ones to blame for gender discrimination, women are responsible for this too.  Some women still have the mind-set of inferiority.  Some mothers will teach their daughters to cook but not see the need to teach their sons, or teach their daughters to clean but not teach their sons.  Which is weird, because how will these boys function when they move out of home? Who will cook and clean for them?

I just want to live in a world where women aren’t made to feel like they should be subordinate to men.

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