Being a feminist seems like a simple enough concept to the world, but few realize the complexities that come with being an African feminist. This is because culture often times requires women to be subservient to men, resulting in vast inequalities. Perhaps one of the most highly criticized groups of feminists, because of the culture we live in. With strong traditionalist culture the concept of one choosing to be a feminist is unfathomable because its seen as wrong. This is mostly due to so many misconceptions about the movement. So now that you’ve found yourself here, let’s take a moment to set a few things straight:
- There are different types of feminism! Please recognize that!
Feminism like many things has variations. There are so many different types of feminism. Each one with a common cause but various degrees of the change they want to see. There’s liberal feminism, radical feminism, socialist feminism, cultural feminism, eco-feminism and so much more!
I personally would describe myself as a dynamic liberal feminist.
So take the time out to enlighten yourself on the different types of feminism. Maybe you’ll discover the inner-feminist!
- Feminism DOES NOT mean we hate men
My goodness!! The most ridiculous misconception I always hear! Being a feminist certainly doesn’t mean you want to hurt men or that you hate men. It has more to do with ensuring that women are recognized as humans too and that women are given equal right and opportunity. Now yes there are some insanely radical feminists that probably want to chop of guys’ heads like they did Ned Stark in Game of Thrones- but don’t worry boys, most of us feminists have no issue with guys. We have fathers, boyfriends, husbands, sons, cousins, and friends. We still love you! ***Whispers*** as long as you aren’t misogynist
- Feminism seeks to deal with real issues!
One of the reasons I became a feminist was that I began to see real issues affecting African woman in my day-to-day life; not just to join the global fight of equality worldwide.
Objectification, sexual harassment, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Gender Based Violence (GBV), lack of adequate access to healthcare, child marriages, just to name a few- are real.
They happen every day! Feminism seeks to the provide a platform for change towards addressing these issues in order to make a difference.
- Yes, I’m a feminist no I’m not a horrible person: Difference between the “feminist” and “feminazi”
Being Feminist by basic definition means standing for equal rights of both men and women, not just women. Whether it is a social, economic, educational or a political structure. Social rights may include right to education which many girls are deprived of, in 3rd world countries, rights to housing, rights to basic adequate standard of living, rights to basic health and the right to culture.
The term Feminazi is basically one sex being superior over the other. A symbol of oppression over the other. It’s someone who believes “women>men”, which isn’t what true Feminism strives for. True Feminism strives for equality. Not to oppress men or make them feel lesser but rather to empower women to be seen as equal beings giving them equal rights and opportunity.
- Being an African Feminist does not make me any less of an African woman
The most common statement I get is “Feminism is un-African”. This is simply not true! Women are the back bone of many African homes, ensuring they have rights, their stories are heard and they have opportunities free from gender discrimination will build our societies not hinder them.
We need feminism in Africa because:
- 28 million girls between the ages of about 6 and 15 are not in school and many will never even set foot in a classroom because in many societies the girl child is not to be educated but should rather know her place and leave education for the boy child
- About 125 million African women are subject to Female Genital Mutilation due to mislead cultural beliefs
- In East and Southern Africa young women will acquire HIV five to seven years earlier than their male peers
- Violence against women is a widespread problem in sub-Saharan Africa. Surveys conducted in sub-Saharan Africa reveal that 46% of Ugandan women, 60% of Tanzanian women, 42% of Kenyan women, and 40% of Zambian women report regular physical abuse. In a Nigerian survey, 81% of married women report being verbally or physically abused by their husbands. Forty-six percent report being abused in the presence of their children.
- According to The World Health Organization Zambia has one of the highest incidence of cancer of the cervix in Africa yet most women don’t have access to healthcare because there are few provisions for them to do so.
We need feminism because the future of our girls and women depends on us recognizing that the African woman should be recognized and be treated equally.
Yes, I’m an African Woman. Yes, I’m a Feminist. Yes, I intend to make my mark in the fight for women’s rights. No, I will not be ashamed. No, I will not apologize. I am an African Feminist!