When I was around ten years old, my mum asked me to sit with her for some time in a tone that stated it was something important. It was the talk every parent gave their daughter as they grew up and attained puberty. “You are getting older now, you will have to understand how to dress, sit and behave properly in front of other people especially men in certain situations.” Being a young girl all I wanted to do was play outside with my mates, and so I didn’t pay much attention. At the age of thirteen, I recall my older brother going out with his friends, I wanted to come with him, but my mother forced me to stay home and said, “Absolutely not it’s nearly dark and you are a girl”. There seemed to be a different set of rules for my brother and me, as if we both had drastically different parents.
“You are a girl”, Every girl must have heard this sentence as an ‘explanation’ at least once in their life, there is no doubt about that. Most of us weren’t raised with the right answers to our questions and were simply written off as “cheeky back talk”. We weren’t raised to be scared of men but every time when us women watch another story on the news, it is rammed into us: another woman raped to death by a group of men for saying no, another mother shot dead by an abusive husband, and yet another female worker sexually harassed at her office for speaking up about her pay. When we walk in the streets at night with our families and a man just simply glances at us, most of us are overwhelmed by fear and sheer panic. Even our male family members don’t trust other men, so why should we? How can the world be equal when 49% of it feels like prey?
It’s not all men, but it is enough for us to carry pepper spray in our purses, to clutch keys between our fingers, enough for us to give out fake mobile numbers and names, enough to have our parents and friends track our location while we are outside, instead of saying a simple word, “no”. And if we do say no, we get attacked, acid gets thrown on us or if all else fails, we simply get unjustly murdered. There is a stigma attached to this another word, feminism, since many misinterpret it to mean something completely different. Even if many individuals like myself are judged for it, I would like to identify myself as a feminist. Feminism is the belief that everyone is equal, regardless of race, gender, identity, sexuality, or religion. Some people are challenging this concept, and they are commonly known as "misandrists”, in simple words, 'man-haters'. Feminism used to be a massive deal; people would march for the right to vote and the right for their voices to be heard, and some males would even support these women. There are still men who are feminists now, but these so-called "man-haters" think completely differently from them and spread the wrong message of feminism to the world.
They want men to be entirely absent from the scene so that women can be superior. As if wanting some sick revenge for something that happened generations ago, and that ‘something’ being women suppressed in the society for a long time. Instead of discussing and spreading awareness of the actual problems, such as the fragility of women’s rights in Afghanistan, they talk about how men are weak, and how they should be punished. Afghan women are in the dreadful situation of relying on the “international community” for assistance. Pushing men down is not going to raise women up, it’s just going to deteriorate society and lay a foundation for further hatred.
Feminism has been and should be about equality, first of all, Misandrists have no place in this vast ideology. “This is not women versus men issue, it’s about people versus prejudice”, said the infamous Laura Bates, and I would like to reiterate that. It is a misconception when people say that feminism causes division when in reality it’s just trying to bridge the gap and make a majority of us feel safer. We can discern that misandrists are corrupting the face of feminism and that it is because of them that men and even several women do not identify as feminists. We need to restore feminism to its core, not this first-world version.
Feminism is a women's right to have a choice and not be harassed for it. It was made to uplift the women who had absolutely no privilege, it’s time to think as an equal community, it’s time for us to prioritize the mothers, caregivers, businesswomen, and every other well-accomplished woman who fought their way into this patriarchal society and not push them further down. We love seeing women raise the bar, but we do nothing to raise the floor for them.