This semester I took a class called "The F Word", and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made! 😃
First off, the F word is not the word you're thinking it is. At least not in this case. Lol. The F actually stands for Feminism, a movement that has been associated with a lot of negative things in the past, hence the decision to call the class "The F Word". But as I have learnt, those things don't define what feminists truly stand for.
Some people think that feminists hate men, and that feminist women think that they don't need men, but that's not true; true feminist women are actually less hostile towards men than other women are, and feminists actually have healthier and more stable romantic relationships 💑 - at least according to studies. 😊
By definition, a feminist is a person who believes that women and men are equal, and that they should be treated equally. In fact, going by this definition, men can be feminists, too! 😉
There's a lot about feminism that I really liked from the onset. For example, when we started discussing the traditional gender roles that society had assigned to men and women, I found myself agreeing with most of them. However, when we started talking about how these gender roles are no longer relevant today, I didn't fully agree.
I understand that the arrangement of women staying at home and men going out to work is a bit outdated; and that, in turn, it is unrealistic to expect men to take care of all the financial responsibilities on their own. However, when people started saying things like, "A man shouldn't have to be the one to always carry bags if they are heavy" and "A man shouldn't give a woman his jacket when she's cold - she should offer him hers if he's cold, too," I felt like we were taking this equality thing a bit too far...
Personally, I almost always carry a sweater or a jacket whenever I'm going out; but if I don't, I see the man I'm with offering me his sweater or jacket as a courtesy. And until recently, I never thought of offering him mine if he was cold. Honestly speaking, I didn't think he'd be comfortable walking around in my jacket no matter how cold he was feeling. Lol.😄
But the conversations in class got me thinking, and I realized that there were some flaws in my own personal view of feminism. I'm all for women being treated equally to men, but I haven't really given much thought to men being treated equally to women, and what that would entail. Am I really okay with sharing all the responsibilities that come with a relationship - even the ones that are traditionally supposed to be taken care of by men?
Am I really okay with giving a man my jacket if he's feeling cold and accepts my offer to borrow it - even if it means that I freeze in the process?
It wasn't easy admitting to myself that I wasn't sure of what my answers to these questions are, even though deep down I know that a true feminist would give a confident "Yes!" in response to both of them. I guess the real question that I was asking myself was, "Am I really a feminist?"
Learning what feminism is really about has opened my eyes to something. I mentioned in my last blog post that I don't like it when we, as women, compare ourselves to men - and that's true. I don't think that it's something we should do, especially if it prevents us from appreciating how we are different from men.
To add to that, the Bible says, "The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Genesis 2:18
"...So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man." Genesis 2:21-22.
The word "helper" probably wouldn't sit well with feminists. But if you think about it, whenever someone asks you for help, he/she is acknowledging the fact that he/she cannot do what he/she wants to do on his/her own - or rather, he/she can do it better with your help.
Therefore, if a man asks for a woman's help, it's because he knows that he can do whatever he wants to do better with her help - and it works the same way the other way round. From there, they work together as a team.
Whenever the question of equality in a relationship between a man and a woman comes up in a Christian setting, the verse that's mostly referred to is Ephesians 5:22 "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."
But we seldom read the verse before it: "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." Ephesians 5:21.
From my understanding of these verses, equality doesn't have to be about me being able to do anything a man can do, or him being able to do anything that I can. Honestly speaking, if that was the case, would we really need each other?
I don't have to offer a man my jacket for me to feel equal to him, or for him to feel equal to me. I believe that some gender roles are flexible, but that doesn't mean that they all have to be! There's actually beauty in the fact that there are some things men can and are expected to do - that we women can't and aren't expected to do - as well as things that we women can do that men can't. It's our differences that bring us together, and they don't make us any less equal to them. Our God-given roles are different, but that doesn't mean that one is more important than the other in any way.
So it looks like I'm not really a feminist after all. However, I am grateful for "The F Word" class because it made me think about gender roles at a deeper level. It also made me realize that as a woman, I first need to become my own person.
I first need to become a suitable helper before I can help anyone else.
It made me realize that I first need to be able to stand alone.
Photography📷: Wambui Wamutwe.😘♥
I find it easier and more effective to write down how I feel rather than to say it.
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