Social Media FeminismIs Not Real Feminism
The above is the lie of chauvinists to undermine feminists who use their platforms to send the message of nonconformity to women across the world. Many times I see men make this statement, Ghanaian feminists aren’t feminists, Nigerian feminists aren’t feminists, South African Feminists aren’t feminists. These usually coming from men in those countries who want to undermine the validity of feminist messages or undermine the women making them.
Then comes the famous line “social media feminists are not Feminists”, to say that the messages are not their “definition” of feminism (as if men are now the ones who define feminism for us) First of all feminism is for gender equality. How that is done is not a text book thing. I have said over and over that my feminism is not Lily Anne’s feminism, it is not Becky’s feminism. It is targeted at Nana AMA, Chioma, Aishatu etc. feel free to be offended by that as well, it’s fine. The issues facing majority of the women in this country and Africa as a whole aren’t mostly being addressed on social media because let’s face it, Adjoa the village widow who has been kept at home for 6 months because of some archaic useless traditional form of mourning, and has no source of income for herself and her 7 children is not on facebook. She is not concerned with data bundles and news feeds. Adjoa can’t read, Adjoa doesn’t have a Facebook account and probably doesn’t know what the internet is. Adjoa’s feminism is being able to work to educate, feed, clothe her children. Adjoa’s feminism is to be able to do what men are just naturally expected to do. Adjoa wishes to be allowed to fend for herself without being ridiculed as a witch, as a hopeless widow. Feminists will reach Adjoa on a bus to her village with capacity building programs that teach her a trade and educate her on how to manage the money she earns from this new trade. Maame Akua who has an education, is independent, lives in the upper middle class neighborhood and still is told to conform because she is a woman, Maame Akua is on Facebook. Maame Akua logs on to see messages of empowerment, Maame Akua is not alone when she sees her sisters speak on social media. Two different messages two different platforms, two different targets. Feminism has at its basic core the fight for equality, equality is subjective depending on your location, your upbringing, your financial status, and your level of education among other things. To me who is educated, strong, has a family to back her, and a platform at work and in my personal space to speak, equality is not being able to work, equality is not being defined by what a man thinks I should be able to say. What I should be able to wear and not being shamed for it. I took that freedom already. There are many who haven’t. What I have come to realize is that the new strain of chauvinists want women are who are educated enough to hold a respectable degree in their eyes, but not educated enough to not want to be controlled by men.
So the messages on social media of non conformity are disturbing to many men because they are the messages telling women to take control. Telling women not to be controlled, not to conform to societal standards of beauty, womanhood, education, not to be held back by gender roles and not to be confined by the perceived “weakness of a woman” the chauvinist says, you can be empowered to sound educated and look good but not enough to make me lose my control over you. You can speak but not too loudly, you can have money but not more than I do, you can say no but not to me. You can be free but not too free “Oh by all means be empowered to look free but I don’t really want you to BE free. The men who have come to the stage where they know subjugation of women is wrong and therefore do not want to be called sexist, chauvinist, misogynist, etc will completely deny the existence of patriarchy and gender disparity in societal structures so as to ease their own guilt. Much like white liberals will deny seeing color as a way of saying “I’m not racist and racism is reduced or nonexistent with me”. This is what the message of nonconformity is for. Against all odds deny them their control, and it is a message that would scare any man who thinks he has the right to control women or that his privilege gotten from the marginalization of women in his society is being eradicated.
Those offended by these messages are mostly guilty. Those who pretend to be on the side of what is right, but stand behind us and tell us we are wrong for not coddling their egos, not being nice enough about freeing ourselves of this prison we have been programmed to accept. From this prison we are being forced to live in. Those who say to us, no no not too hard. Ask nicely for freedom. You cannot take your freedom. You cannot force it from our hands, you must cry, grovel and beg for it. The green snakes at our picnic. Those who subtly tell us to give up on this fight for ourselves and for our daughters and our sons.Yes sons. Patriarchy does not only imprison women, it saddles our young men to unrealistic expectations of who a man can be. You MUST have money otherwise you are inadequate. You must take care of her otherwise you are inadequate. You cannot cry because you are a man and must not show emotion. You can love but not too much because you are a man. You are controlled by your genitals and not your brain nor your heart. This system that enslaves the victim and the oppressor to impossible inhuman standards.
To all the men and women on the frontline fighting for gender equality. Financing projects, empowering women, constantly posting on social media, doing interviews on radio and tv for the advancement of women. Speaking life into women and urging them to be independent and be whoever they want to be and whatever they want to be without the limit of “gender roles” I salute you. Y’all are the real men. The real leaders of our time along side women doing the same thing. My respect to you all. We got this
“I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it,” – Niccolo Machiavelli
Written By: Awereba