The lies about feminism

It has never been so hard to start an article. Writing the file’s name (Lado M article — Lies about feminism) made me shiver. Talking about a movement so diverse is not easy and escape from the trap to create a guidebook about what it is to be a feminist is a constant struggle. But, even so, here I am, with my fear in one hand and my will to understand better the feminist movement to in the other, to talk about the lies about feminism. About lies created to demoralize a movement that, as observed Malala Yousafzai in the last few days, is “only” about equality.

Malala, just like me, was afraid. The girl who was shot by Taleban, who faced hospitalization in an unknown country, was afraid to declare herself as a feminist. Malala changed her mind after hearing Emma Watson speech in ONU about the campaign #HeForShe, that aims to recruit men to fight for gender equality. On her applauded speech, Emma talked about how the word “feminism”, in an erroneous way, began to signify “hate to men” and, consequently, pushed people away from the movement. Those mistaken impressions arise, multiply and perpetuate supported by lies, and feminists, besides of having to fight every day for a less unequal world, have to get rid of those constraints that stop them from reaching not only men, but also their main target: women itself.

Red lipstick?

Bianda Cardoso, from Blogueiras Feministas (Feminists Bloggers, free translation), said that their Facebook page receives messages from girls that have doubts about what means to be a feminist. Since the beginning of the interview, the blogger made it clear that the blog’s goal is not to create a guide about feminism, but that there are doubts that can be resolved without falling into that trap. “We get messages like ‘can I use red lipstick and be feminist?’ ou ‘can I use makeup and be feminist?’ and we say that it has nothing to do with feminism”, says Bianca that believes that feminism criticism is much bigger than this.

There isn’t an absolute definition of feminist movement, but Djamila Ribeiro, Carta Capital columnist, managed to define the biggest goal of this fight — “We are not trying to create another kind of imposition, we are questioning the impositions and pressures on women.” The issue isn’t, thus, being allowed or not to use red lipstick, is about using it because you want, not because you obligated to. If there is something that we are not is obligated, right?

“Lady, I am not obligated to be feminist”

The Facebook page that named this subtopic has about 100 thousand likes and reproduces daily a hate speech against feminist movement. The posts go from images like “Feminist Woman x Conservative Woman” to statements about how feminism is a fight for privileges, not for equality. And, obvious, arguments about how feminist is the opposite side of sexism. No, the feminist, as said Djamila, is not another kind of imposition.

This fight for equality between genders is led by women and, in a general way, do not preach hate to man. Is understandable that some women, on behalf of daily violence — result of sexism — that they are submitted, have aversion to men, but it does not appear as argument of feminine empowerment. Due to this false dichotomy — feminism x sexism — Facebook pages such as “Moça, não sou obrigada a ser feminista” (Lady, I am not obligated to be feminist, free translation) find space to spread their baseless hate speech. Again, feminism is not a system of oppression and does not aim to get privileges for women, but aims to deconstruct inequalities between genders, that harm both in different ways. A man won’t be less paid because of feminism, a man won’t be stopped, neither obligated to do something because of feminism, a man won’t be violated because of feminism. Then, in a practical sense, not even misandry stands itself, since there is not a system to englobe it.

Other polemic Facebook page is “Lady, you are sexist”. The opinions about the page’s name are diverse. Born and raised in a sexist world, some women naturally reproduce sexist discourses. Although, it is problematic to affirm that a woman is sexist, just like saying that a black person is racist. Reverse racism and reverse feminism do not exist, the oppressed by those systems tend to, for obvious reasons, to reproduce discourses and actions that harm themselves. A woman that, for example, says that other woman “deserved” to be assaulted due to her clothes, can’t see that her discourse is supported by a system of oppression that can harm her anytime. Therefore, it much more coherent to problematize the spread of sexist discourses by woman, than to create a label that, frequently, creates an aversion to feminism. It is necessary to make some room for problematization and dialogues, since being a feminist is an everyday deconstruction.

Feminism (de)constructions

One of the worse lies about feminism is related to maternity. Djamila refutes this fallacy sharply: “What we are questioning is maternity as fate, we want maternity to be a choice of women. In a society that imposes this to women, maternity is not a choice. The feminism criticizes the imposition and not the choice.” Besides problematizing it, the feminism questions the social construction of maternity. Biologically, women are different of men and, because of this, after fecondation our body is the place where a new life develops, not masculine body. After the birth, mother and father have exactly the same capacity and responsibility of taking care of the baby. Djamila points in the article “Besides biology: Beauvoir and the refutation of biological sexism” how this biological difference is used as an argument to built social roles, and this harms both genders. We have expressions such as “Mother’s love”, that diminish the affective relationship between fathers and children, eventually creating barriers that stop men from showing love, since their role is to provide, protected and be an authority. At this point, it is clear how feminism deconstruction will no privilege woman, but put both genders in the same path, creating fairer conditions in several ways.

Therefore, feminism fight for the regulation of abortion is directly related to this questioning about “maternity as fate”. There is no apology for abortion and, believe me, no woman likes to abort. This last finding may seem obvious, but many people believe that abortion regulamentation would cause an outbreak and women looking for this method for trivial reasons, harming “a life”. Iara Paiva’s article for Feminist Bloggers couldn’t be clearer and more sensible about how feminists face this issue about abortion (to read, be prepared: if you still believe in the lies mentioned into now, the shock may be huge).

So feminism it not, one and for all, a new system of opression. The is no reason to fear to declare yourself as a feminist, reader. There is not a perfect feminism, there is not a imperfect feminist, once there is no rule to be part of this movement. Moms, woman without kids, maried, single, divoced, unshaved, shaved, blond, brunettes, white, blacks… feminism is here to add and to show that we are stronger together, no matter with lies are created to demoralise this fight that is “only” about equality (and I will never get tired from repeating it).