Advocation for gender equality and rights have gained full momentum in the 21st century. Women have protested against the injustices pervading all domains of life – in the workplace, at home, on the streets. Truly, we have come a long way.
While I laud the valiant and ardent efforts of my fellow 21st-century women, and their predecessors who challenged sexist norms in society, with unfailing awe and pride, I lament a factor hindering our steps towards equality – the “us against them mentality”.
Yes, feminism is a woman’s cause. We fights for our rights, dignity, recognition as equals to the opposite sex. We advocate for the aforementioned with downright fervour. We aspire for an equal society – social equality and equal rights for all. We do not want to be painted with a broad brush, to have stereotypes hastily imposed on us before we can prove our worth at something, to be chastised for taking on roles conventionally prescribed to men by societal norms. We do not want any of that. But when the roles are reversed, do we practice the very ideals we advocate for? Do we challenge the stereotypes and expectations imposed on men by society? Do we support men who take on roles conventionally and traditionally prescribed to women?
While I agree that misogyny is the bane of every feminist’s existence, I have to remind some that sexism and males can be mutually exclusive. Yes, this is a perception held by many women, but the number of women who do not hold this view is staggering. We cannot paint all men with a broad brush, assuming that they
Both sexes have an important role to play in the eradication of sexism. By turning a blind eye to such double standards, we allow ourselves to wallow in a cesspool of shameless hypocrisy. Excluding men hinders our aspirations. We have to recognize that both sexes experience great disadvantages and injustices in different areas. We have to work against double standards against both men and women. Through this, we can achieve true equality.
So instead of driving a wedge between the two sexes, let us declare war on sexism, misandry or philandry. We can do so much better than attack the opposite sex, we can together topple sexist notions and injustices, all for the sake of peaceful coexistence. It is not “us against them (men)”. It is us against misogyny, misandry, and the all-encompassing sexism.
By Feliciana I.K. Nezingu , South Africa