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In a group of women, many would be reluctant to say out loud if they’re a feminist. This might be caused by the common misconceptions revolving feminism, that feminism is a man-hating agenda and it is a radical movement some women choose to steer away from.
What Feminism Is and Isn’t
Feminism is a collective empowerment, and as collective empowerment is a part of social movements, its aim for greater abundance cannot be achieved individually. It is more critical than ever to heed the notion that collective empowerment is a melting pot of many individuals with different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Collective implies the importance of eradicating problems from the lens of intersectionality. That means focusing on economic independence, easier access to employment, and education. To have full control over their bodies and the decisions related. All these should be achieved without the bounds of access, domination, power relation, and hierarchy.
There has been discussion over “can man be a feminist?” mostly focusing if the practice would be an oxymoron. However, we need to remember that the concept of masculinity and femininity are products of patriarchy, hence men are also at stake here. Need we keep in mind that feminism is not in any way binary, the distinction between what men and women experience shouldn’t hamper men from becoming feminists.
Equality vs Equity
United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESDOC) explained the distinction between gender equity and equality :
“Gender equality, equality between men and women…does not mean that women and men have to become the same, but that their rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they were born male or female. Gender equity means fairness of treatment for men and women according to their respective needs. This may include equal treatment or treatment that is different but which is considered equivalent in terms of rights, benefits, obligations, and opportunities.”
Equality focuses on “same as,” it dismissed the differences of needs between women and men and it implies an already ideal status quo for them to acquire the same thing. Equality means comparable, albeit the difference of the background. White men of the working class cannot be equal with an Asian single mom because they don’t share a comparable consciousness and reality of the world. Instead of equality, we should remember that we need equity to achieve fairness as the means to get to the end goal that is equality.
Intersectional feminism requires a major reconstruction of the society, and our goal is still a long way to achieve.
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