A friend recently asked me: loud feminist that you are, why do you let the guy pay when you go for a date? My answer was simple: just because I am a feminist doesn’t mean that I have stopped being a woman. I walk, talk and breathe and live like one. Thus, society hasn’t stopped treating me like a woman.
I haven’t stopped hearing derogatory remarks about my body shape, size and the way I walk on a daily basis. I haven’t stopped encountering people who try to undermine me based on my gender, only to get angry and call me “too loud for a woman” when I stand up for myself.
I haven’t stopped hearing disrespectful remarks from men when I am about to pay them my hard earned cash. “Why are you being so mean with the money? You can always ask for more from your boyfriend.”
My long lost acquaintances (because my friends know better) haven’t stopped exclaiming. “Eh! You look good. Which man is injecting cash in you these days?”
I still live in vivid fear of sexual assault every time I turn a relatively isolated corner and there are men approaching. This is the reality that my loud feminism has not yet changed.
Feminism doesn’t turn you into a man or even an honorary man. And feminism is not about trying to be a man as it is about striving for equity, mutual respect and peaceful coexistence of the genders. By being a feminist, I am not fighting for the right to have strong muscles so that I won’t have to ask for, or accept help when I am carrying a heavy load.
It’s about much more important things, like equal pay. It is about the right to full ownership of our own spaces and bodies and choices so that a woman will not need to be someone’s friend or relative before she is worthy of protection from abuse.
While we wait for this to happen, as I continue to take the challenges of the patriarchal society, I might as well take the perks too.
So yes, I am going to continue to enjoy dinner dates without offering to pay as long as I am invited. Yes, I am going to accept the self-sacrificing gesture of a stranger when he offers me his seat. I am going to accept my boyfriend’s jacket when I am cold. I will be glad about the gallantry of walking on the inner side of the pavement.
If a man offers to carry my heavy load, you can bet that I am going to let him because contrary to popular opinion, we don’t have a feminist shop where they sell manly muscles.
I will take the perks until patriarchy gives way to equity. Until women are no longer seen as subordinates by default.Until society treats me like I am my own person.I will take allthe perks that this society is offering because it doesn’t take away from the feminist cause.