Feminism, a powerful word that scares a lot of people when being pronounced; a word associated with a lot of stereotypes. No, I have nothing against the existence of men in our beautiful world, neither do I spend my entire evenings reflecting on how to overthrow the existing hierarchy built to in favour of men. In a world where ethnic, socio-economic, political rivalries keep on increasing like the global temperature of the Earth, I just don't see the point of adding another conflict in our society.
Although men and women are naturally equal, therefore they should have an equal position in the society, I believe this assumption is very utopian. In the Western society, rights and duties have been granted regardless of gender, however the question is how you are using power given to you. It has only been less than a century ago that women were given the right to vote; having a job as a women is also a very modern idea that our grandmothers unfortunately did not enjoy. Some women fiercely dedicate their life to work, other decide to stay home and take care of children.
These variety of cases is mainly what differentiate women from men. I am not implying that men do not take part of the life of a child, yet men don't bear a child for nine months and don't need a couple of weeks to rest after giving birth. That particular divergence is one of the main reason why we find men on top of the hierarchy more often than women. Employers (even the most genuine manager) are working in a capitalist environment where having constant employees is essential to sustain.
Given that biological difference, it is not surprising to see some women are choosing not to have children and others are deciding to stay home to take care of kids, even if they obtained a higher education degree. In social media, I have noticed a rising number of articles dealing with the personal choice of women who have decided a lifestyle they think is the best for themselves. Controversially choosing to be a housewife should not be regarded as a rejection of contemporary evolution of women's position in our society. The fact that those women have the capacity to work and still decide to stay home is an improvement.
In Western societies, the supreme social goal to achieve is the so-called "gender equality". From Daoist perspective, one of Chinese major philosophy, gender roles aren't visioned through equality but complementarity. Men and women have complementary role so as to avoid this gender competition occurring in Western society. Following the patterns of the Daoism (Theory of the Yin and the Yang), women and men are interdependent: you need both to find harmony. Of course, that does not mean gender issues does not exist in China however it releases the eternal feminist cause of "achieving gender equality".
One question that challenges me with feminism is the advocacy for gender equality. How equality is looking like in a competitive society driven by money? Is feminism an issue in itself or a consequence of the kind of society we have chosen to live in?
In my opinion, feminism goes beyond gender equality or recognition of women's roles in society. Feminism is about self-respect and having the freedom to decide what works best for you whether it is full-time job or being a housewife or doing both. It's having enough respect and dignity for yourself to stand up and decide what you want in your life. Feminism is the empowerment of women as an individual.
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