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Guest Column

What is Feminism?

Womenlines takes pleasure to welcome Underneath the Pink Umbrella as a guest contributor on Womenlines panel. Underneath the Pink Umbrella is a student in Singapore and feels strongly about women issues. This month she is sharing her views regarding ‘Feminism’-

Underneath the Pink Umbrella: Are you wondering the wonderful thought that I wondered about just recently. What a wondrous notion is feminism that it is the unspoken wonder of the world that has persisted since the civilisation of mankind. Let me take you through my (perhaps wonderful) wondering and wandering mind.

What is Feminism?

Feminism is a historically relevant topic that has come in waves, and with its rich history of women’s struggle, it is a bit annoying to see how loosely the word is being thrown around and misinterpreted.

Feminism is one of the most relevant civil rights issues of the moment. As simple as that. A video: 50/50: The True History of Powerful Women Around the World, has changed me as a person. In a concise 20-minute video on Facebook on Refinery29’s page, this video has concisely wrapped up a millennium of women empowerment, making history relatable and accessible.

People like you and me, we have a very narrow idea of what feminism means. It is not women complaining because they are not paid the same amount as men. Neither is it the PMS-ing woman who is frustrated because their sanitary napkins just got more expensive. In reality, these are the examples of feminism that we see around us, but it so much more than that.

I with my initially anti-feminist stance would have never given them the benefit of the doubt, but as cliché, as it sounds, women need to work together and come together in solidarity and continue the struggle to achieve equality.

That’s the magic word that is not the antonym, but the synonym for feminism. It may be hard to comprehend, but that’s the fact. Women are not crying their eyes out, rallying, marching and confessing their cases of sexual harassment of the #MeToo campaign just to get more likes and build their social media presence, it is the increasing awareness and synergy of women, not divided by race, religion or region, contributing the new wave of Feminism. Each individual who fights for it could conveniently opt to just accept the world the way it is, but they choose not to.

This article has so far just been providing a bird’s eye view of feminism, by drawing parallels, it may be easier to understand it’s essence.

We are privileged to be living in a world where economic and political stability means we can exploit each opportunity we are presented. But we forget, just like the natural progression of things, the world has truly evolved and grown, the world we live in is drastically different to the ones in which our ancestors lived in. Just like we should be thankful that there is no war, we should be thankful that we have achieved rights such as the right to vote and voice our opinion. Thankful that we are no longer constrained to the stereotype of being the home-maker and a tool to make life easier for men.

However, the point of giving the mini history lesson, is to highlight is exactly that, it is history. We need to move past that, we can say that yes, women won the right to suffragette, and they did break multiple glass ceilings to arrive at where we are today, so feminism is not the petty issues of women realizing that they are not equal to men. The historical evidence for this is the unfolding and unfurling of history itself.

Appreciate the past, and let it put into perspective what we have, so we can proudly say, that no, being a feminist is not wanting better treatment or that we hate men, but clarify, that what we want is to be equal, wholly and completely.

So coming back to the question, what is Feminism? It is the identification of areas in which inequality yet exists, it is the single mother fighting for her right not to be prejudiced and be pitied, it is a woman accepting that yes, I have my weak moments, so I will ask for help, but a weak moment does not make me weak. Feminism does not mean that you cannot pamper yourself or indulge in a spa day, neither is it looking down on women who choose to be a stay-at-home mom, it is being given the choice to do as one pleases, and not being judged for it.

Just like Gandhi persevered, each wave of Feminism is a wave of perseverance, to not back down, even the odds are stacked against you.

Underneath the Pink Umbrella:
Hey! I am currently a freshman studying business, quite boring you might think, right? But I’m passionate about it! Besides that, I’m passionate about women’s rights, which is a topic that has been debated for centuries. A historian and artist, I try to research the story behind everything and imbue creativity in whatever I do. My contributions will show you my stance on women’s issues and offer a historical background and a fresher and more relatable perspective for the world and women around you.
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