Feminism has been understood and explained in many different ways. But what is it, really? Well, I cannot talk for someone else and their opinions on the subject, but I can talk about what I think it is. I felt inspired by Virginia Wolf’s definition of a feminism. She said:
“A feminist is any woman who tells the truth about her life”
I resonated deeply with her words, and I decided I would write this post. So let’s talk a little bit about feminism!
Feminism is, first of all, a movement that started in the beginning of the 20th century. Women went out on the street and started asking for the right to vote. And then asked for the right to work and inherit. And later, they asked for the right to have an abortion if they found it necessary… Lately, the right for equal pay has been largely advocated, and with the rise of the #MeToo movement, women started to speak up against sexual abuse and sexual harassment.
But how has feminism been portrayed throughout time?
I know that many people (women included) misunderstand feminism. If feminism represents the women’s fight for equal rights to those men have, in time it started to be identified as the women’s fight to be equal to men in all regards, not only rights. Women who call themselves feminists started to behave manly and adopt manly views on life. Nowadays, we seem to equate feminism with self-sufficiency and, more than that, bitchiness. Women started to deny their femininity, and not only by burning their bras.
Yes, historically, being a woman has not been easy. Women have been denied the right to choose their husbands and professions, the right to get an education, the right to own property, the right to be the masters of their lives and bodies. Fighting and asking for our rights is the correct thing to do. But as Marilyn Monroe once said,
“Women who seek to be equal with men, lack ambition”.
By embracing our feminine power, we can be so much more than just men’s equals.
We can be assertive and demanding, but without losing our sensitivity and tenderness. We can be fierce and powerful without losing our grace and elegance. And by embracing the duality that lives inside of us ( and inside everyone else), we can be so much more than just equal to men.
Going back to Virginia Wolf’s words… “A feminist is any woman who tells the truth about her life”… Yes, I believe that this is what feminism is truly about. It is about women who have the courage to stand up, to be truthful and authentic. It is about women who stand against social norms and expectations and by doing that, they change history. It is also about women who stand up for themselves and who speak up in face of injustice. It is about women who have the courage to listen to their own heart and follow their dreams no matter what.
Rosa Parks was a true feminist. Maya Angelou was a true feminist. Amelia Earhart was a true feminist. Marie Curie was a true feminist. Women who did what they wanted to do and fought for their right to express their value on this planet. And they did it all without forgetting to love, without losing their sensitivity and without losing their feminine essence.
So when it comes to feminism, this is my plead to all women out there:
Be more than just a man’s equal, be yourself!