The F word: Feminism

Okay, first things first: FEMINISM. IS. NOT. ABOUT. HATING. MEN.

We have three kinds of people in our part of the world, the first kind being feminists and the second kind being anti-feminists a.k.a meninists, and the third kind being the ones that don’t really care.

In Pakistan especially, it has become a stereotype that all feminists hate men, when in reality men being trash is the least of their concerns. Most of the people do not even know what feminism really means, for starters, feminism doesn’t mean that ‘men are trash.’ A feminist, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is a person who supports the belief that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men. So men can be feminists too, surprise surprise!

However, people in Pakistan consider feminism as an anti-Islamic movement that only promotes vulgar western ideologies. When in reality, there’s no religion more feminist than Islam. The message of feminism does not signify that women should in any way be superior to men, nor does it call for immoral and anti-religious practices. It only delivers the message that men and women are equal, one gender is not superior to the other but equal.

In the age of hashtags it is very easy to be swayed away by feminism being a western concept, hashtags like ‘free the nipple,’ ‘free bleeding,’ may influence our society’s perspective of feminism but it is very important to understand that feminism has so much more to offer if you dig deeper. It is not defined by these hashtags but by the personalities of Fatima Jinnah, Begum Rana Liaquat Ali, Jehan Ara, Nighat Dad, Malala Yousafzai, Samina Baig, Muniba Mazari – these are the women who should be the real inspiration and not some Kardashian. These are the women who truly define feminism by proving the patriarchal society wrong with their achievements and actions that speak volumes of what women can do, only if given the opportunities.

People say that women in Pakistan have greatly progressed, they have access to basic necessities, they have the means to get educated in whatever field they want to, they have jobs, they can drive freely – but what we fail to realize is that these are the basic rights every human has, which, a few decades back were not available to women in Pakistan. I really don’t care if you call yourself a feminist or not, but you do owe it to the movement if you have access to sanitary and basic health facilities, higher education, if you drive, if you cast your vote (because women weren’t allowed to vote), if you feel safe at your workplace (#MeToo), you owe it all to this very movement. And if I were you, I’d actually do my research thoroughly before dismissing feminism as a useless and western movement.

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