The F-word many people hate

Actress Emma Watson at the U.N. Headquarters in New York City.

A friend shared a link to a Vanity Fair article highlighting Emma Watson’s speech at the U.N. Headquarters in New York this weekend. Her speech spoke about her launch of the HeForShe campaign and hit my feminist nerve to write this piece.

Do I think this post will get many “likes”?  I highly doubt that as women will bat their eyelashes and ignore the big swear word of Feminism and assume “oh that loud mouth Nikita doesn’t know her place”.

As long as I can shed a little light on the inequalities in society as a 20-something year old woman in South Africa to one person, then it will make me happy to know I helped educate a person to change their view.

I’ve seen men and women look at me with disgust when I say that I’m a feminist. These same said people have never been educated on the word feminism and immediately assume that I’m an aggressive male hating woman. This couldn’t be further from the truth, ask my fiancé.

Even my own father who only has two daughters has said how infuriating the notion of a woman not needing a man is to him.
To be honest, when I tell him what I want to achieve in life, I do feel that he looks down on me as a girl, a supposed second-class citizen based on my gender.

I choose not to feel sorry for myself but rather I feel sorry for him that he does not know of a society of equality. I choose not to accept him looking down on me but I choose look at him straight in the eye as an equal.

I know it touches a nerve that I am determined to succeed on my own terms, but I know that I do not need to be chained to the ideals of being a barefoot and pregnant woman in the kitchen.

I’m sorry but I don’t NEED a man in my life to be successful. I am an educated woman; I work hard too, I pay bills, I vote and feel that I should not be discriminated against daily for my gender.

As a feminist, I am asking why I should get paid less because I am woman. I put in the same amount of hours of work, day in and day out. I studied alongside men, paid the same tuition and studied the same degree. I ask what makes a man superior to me then. As you can see, the answer here is nothing besides the dangling parts between his legs.

Do you know what it is like to be a woman here in South Africa specifically? I have to think twice over what I will wear to work to avoid having a man oogle me out because a little cleavage of my below average sized breasts might call for unwanted attention and sexual harassment in the office.

My skinny jeans that supposedly cover me modestly might look tight over my butt. I’ve been told before that I need to wear loose fitted clothing because my body causes men to look and sin by being a temptation. Excuse me but what a load of horse shit!

My body is my body; I should wear what I want without having to worry what the male dominated office might think. To walk on street without having men “catcall” or try to get my attention just because I’m a woman and feel their eyes undress me as I try to ignore the harassment. To stress about and worry that a man will rape and kill a woman without blinking an eye during his crime.

It makes news headlines about women affected by these horrendous crimes, but often this type of news won’t make the 7 o clock news. I know this and I’m a qualified journalist. This is what I’ve experienced being a woman in South Africa is like.

Why do I think stories about inequalities, abuse, rape and crime to women are overlooked and ignored? It’s because it happens to women, not strong, aggressive men supposedly. (Yes this is a stereotype I just used, I am fully aware of it).

My question to men out there is, how do feel that your mothers, sisters, wives and even daughters are still treated as unequal’s in society?

Despite seeing how much of their time, blood, sweat and tears they have put in to move forward in their lives. Whether it is in their careers, schooling or raising a family, only to be looked upon and treated as second-class citizens who are paid less and are less respected than men in society.

Feminism is not a notion only supported by women; it should be equally accepted and understood by all.

So think twice before you roll your eyes over the word feminism and remember how you would like a society to treat your mothers, sisters, wives and even daughters.

For just like Emma Watson, the girl you remember and loved in Harry Potter, she too is someone’s daughter and is right to stand up for feminism.

So thank you, Emma Watson for reminding people the important conversation of feminism that needs to be continued until equality is the norm.

Go ahead and show your support for women with the HeForShe campaign here.

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About Nikita Camacho

Nikita Camacho, a freelance writer navigating life as a working mom. Take a seat to enjoy authentic, amusing, mothering with this mommy and lifestyle blogger

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