Have you ever felt like a bad feminist? Here are a few things that definitely don’t make you one.
How many times have you been glared at for doing something ‘un-feminist’, like getting glitter-ready for a party, reading a romantic novel, or finding a not-so-feminist flick funny? The guilt of being a feminist is real, and so is the struggle, but nothing that you do for your own comfort and happiness can be counted as un-feminist, no matter what the popular opinion. Feminism is not a slippery slope; it is just an uphill ride. You can make mistakes, but as long as you move ahead and do better when you know better, you’re as good a feminist as any other feminist out there.
Here is a list of things that definitely don’t make you less of a feminist:
1. Reading And Watching Rom-Coms
Admitting in public that we sometimes enjoy shows that don’t portray women as strong and confident or have, from time to time, enjoyed a hardcore romance novel can make us feel ashamed. We often call these our guilty pleasures. But hey! Why should we feel guilty for liking what can lighten our mood or make us see the world through rose-tinted glasses from time to time?
Loosening up is a way of self-care, and if a little bit of indulgence can help our emotional and mental health, it’s not taking away our power to stand up for the rights of women.
It is just rejuvenating us so we can put up a stronger fight! The idea is to lift our spirits, but this short-term goal shouldn’t make us forget how movies mirror our society and reinforce patriarchal norms. As long as an indulgence for fun from time to time doesn’t end up becoming a way of our lives, and we can be mindful and critical about them, we’re okay!
2. Loving Makeup
How often have you been asked to not cover yourself with products if you are a ‘true feminist’? Yes, we know, the score would be a solid 11 on 10. But loving makeup – whether to cover up a scar or just to have fun with colours as a form of art -has absolutely nothing to do with how good a feminist you are.
It all comes down to how you want to feel on a certain day, and if a few products can make you feel a little more like the queen you are already, then makeup can be empowering.
Whether a product can make you feel what you want or not, it is for you to decide. So go ahead and try it all out and then go days without anything on. This will allow you to find out what products empower you- which look is the closest to what you feel to be your true self. Experiment and have fun in the process. Go on, discover new things about yourself!
3. Being Quiet
Any introverted feminists in the house? This reminder is for you – yes, you! Your voice and the sound of it has nothing to do with how strongly you feel for the causes of women. A lot of introverts are shamed for not being able to talk, and ‘talking’ – implying loudness and brashness – is considered a must to be a feminist. No, it’s not.
To those who have labelled your silence as un-feminist, remind them that actions speak louder than words. Continue doing your bit in making women’s lives better as you are.
A huge part of being a feminist is to be comfortable with who you are. We need to accept and love the parts of ourselves which people around us don’t necessarily agree with. It is difficult to not fall prey to others’ ideas and expectations of us, but we must try to understand if we’re shunning the ideas to feed our egos or if those things genuinely do not align with who we are.
4. Difficulty In Speaking To Authority Figures
Have you ever been made to feel less of a feminist for having trouble speaking to an authority figure? You’re not alone. We all have, from time to time, felt afraid while talking to or confronting an authority figure, whether it’s at home, in public, or at the office. It is perfectly FINE.
Being a feminist doesn’t mean that you have to be fearless in the face of turbulence at all times. Before anything else, we are humans.
And it’s okay if our bones quiver inside of us or our hearts sink down to our tummies on occasion. Confront these feelings whenever they crop up and try to trace them back to their root cause. Are you afraid of a person because you respect them, or because you’re afraid to speak up? Either way, it doesn’t take away from the fact that you are a feminist.
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5. Your Opinion On (Your) Body Hair
“Feminists love it all natural!” Nope! Feminists love what they love, and they keep loving it no matter the number of tongues clicking at their choices.
If you’ve done the work of recognising some of your own conditioning, or are on the journey, what you choose to find beautiful about yourself is your perspective, and you have every right to it.
Keep trying different things and see what makes you happy. If you like removing your body hair, try to go wax-free for a month. If you like keeping your body hair, try waxing it and see how you feel! That will make you sure of your choice.
6. Deciding To Not Go Dutch On Occasion
Yes, it’s an excellent habit to pay your own bills. Yes, you must pay what you owe when you step out, even if you are with your friends or family. But, who doesn’t like to be treated once in a while?
Sometimes, like on your birthday or when you’ve accomplished something, letting the other person treat you is the best form of celebration.
If someone insists on paying and you’re comfortable with that person, it’s okay to give in and let them pay.
7. Loving House Work And Doing Things For Others
Being clean and keeping your surroundings clean is not a gendered activity, it’s a personality trait.
Sure, cleanliness is expected of females more than it is of males because females have traditionally been assigned the role of caregivers, but if your love of cleanliness stems just from your preferences and you like your house to look like ones we find in magazines, go ahead, click a picture, post it- inspire us all! If you love taking care of others, it just makes you, you. Females have historically been looked at as ‘natural’ caregivers, which has done us a great deal of damage. But this fact, in no way, should take away from one’s natural tendencies of caregiving.
Caring is about love and effort, and feminism is allowing all humans to do that just as they please.
8. Not Being Completely Free Of Our Conditioning
Yes, we live in a patriarchal society. Yes, we are conditioned. Yes, we are helping to break the mould and unlearning slowly. Every day is a new learning for us, and we must accept that about the process of becoming better feminists. We are works in progress, and that is something we should be proud of!
Nobody is born free or ‘woke’ in a patriarchal society; we become free, we become woke.
As long as we are open to unlearning and keen awareness, we are becoming the feminists we want to become.
To be feminists, we don’t have to follow what’s approved of as ‘feminism’ by society. To be a feminist is to be keenly aware of what makes us feel independent, strong, happy, at peace, and what takes closer to the best version of ourselves and helps us grow. It’s about constantly unlearning and learning and doing better. As long as your actions are in alignment with your true self and you make space for others just the same way, nothing you do can make you less of a feminist!
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