A Take on Feminism

I think I’m gonna write this since it has been on my mind for quite some time but i never really want to seriously address the issue until I realize that lately, i have encountered so many experience that are upsetting but did not really know how to start a discussion. (Disclaimer maybe this sounds like ranting but anyway this is my personal blog)

If we’re talking about disappointment, then, it is intuitively came from expectations we’ve had initially towards something. My expectation began at spring 2015, where it was my early months of moving to Japan, at a dinner with an Indonesian family i knew from Indonesian Students Association at Kyoto. The father, the husband, was pursuing a master degree back then. This small Indonesian family actually have been living in Japan for some years, they lived in other city before moving in to Kyoto. Little did I knew, they move to Kyoto after the mother, the wife, finished her PhD at that other city in Japan. At that time, my 18-year-old self, thought (and I still am, actually) that it was very cool for the family to decided on that. As a girl who’s been told by a lot of people that most men are not willing to marry a woman who has higher academic degree than him, or that a woman should not settle with a man with lower academic degree than her, the story that I heard during this family dinner enlighten me that after all not all men feel insecure or intimidated by the higher status of his partner. I came in to this new community of Indonesian living in here, and I found it amazing because it turned out it was not only this family with this condition. I witnessed other families with same condition too. I saw young couples who moved here because the wife has to pursue her academic here. I saw dads take care of their babies while moms go to school. Of course, they each have different contexts and conditions, but still, I think that this small community of Indonesian, especially the men, have a very progressive view on gender role in family, and on feminism. Unfortunately the reality does not cater to my expectation. Recently I encountered more and more evidence through what they called it as “jokes” (which are not funny but instead, uncomfortable for women), or small talks, discussion about relationship between man and woman.

Before I came to a new realization that I am actually a feminist, I did not want to be one. It was because I had this stereotype about feminist that they were always grumpy, they hated men, and they did not like to dress up– which is one of my very favorite things to do. So then it never occurred to me I wanted to declare myself as one. But then, I always find a conflicting perspective with most men, that are actually my friend and are around me, about women’s right or equality or about gender roles. And I find that my perspective are actually in line with feminism idea, and I want to stand for that and to speak about that. I have been trying and I am still trying to educate myself about it, How not to be a (quoting the internet) “fake woke feminists”. Especially when I found some critics that came from self declared feminists about principles in my believe. For example, why women have to be behind men when praying together in Islam. That kind of critics honestly frighten me and made me more reluctant to like feminism. It gets very confusing sometimes, but as an advice from Saoirse Ronan after listening to her podcast with Scarlett Curtis (Feminists don’t Wear Pink podcast), it is okay to not figure it all out. Let’s learn and learn and learn. Besides, I do think we, women, have more important issues to talk about such as equal pay, equal opportunity, gender role, or how women should value ourselves.

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A Take on Feminism