Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Beyond Feminism: "Fair-minism" - Pope Jay

I am a huge fan of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Beyond her literary prowess, both oral and written, I respect her in-depth consciousness of the world around her. The ability to notice the so called “little things” in the society and forge them into a story worth listening to is a very rare character, most especially in this part of the world. One of the ideals which I share with Chimamanda is her stance on the equality of the Homo Sapien; the belief that everybody can and should be treated equally at least to a reasonable extent, irrespective of some superficial factors like gender and race.

Feminism is the belief in the political, social, and economic equality between women and men. Feminism as a concept can be traced back centuries. However, there seems to be a rising trend recently, most especially in Africa, a development long overdue. In as much as feminism to a reasonable level is a just cause, I believe that it is perhaps too one sided. The said aim of feminism is to achieve a rational level of equality in the sexes, but this is frequently approached from the female’s perspective and very seldom from the man’s point of view. I once asked a female friend what she thought of paternity leave and she said it was totally unnecessary; I tried to remind her that the man too had just had a child but she felt it was the woman who had done all the work. I further tried to approach the topic from the feminist’s perspective; since the woman wants to be treated equally with the man and the man doesn’t get any holiday for having a child, why should she get a holiday? At this point, my friend just saw me as wicked, lazy, inconsiderate and even further went on to predict that I would be a bad husband in future. The fact that this same friend of mine may be the first to lift the protest placard whenever a case of gender discrimination arose seemed quite unfair to me.

The society gives a form of partial treatment to men, it also demands a lot from them: A man is expected to be one without emotions; “the strong one”, the one who has to be away from his family in order to provide for them, the one whose name should scare the children etc. So far, he has not complained because I have tried to find out if there is such a concept as “masculism”, or “masculinism”, and I have discovered that it defines the very opposite of feminism. But I am sure that there are men who want to attain a level of equality with the women too and currently it seems the average male feminist tends to be either seen as shameless and lazy for competing with a female or ungentlemanly for not standing up for her to sit. This indicates that even in the pursuit of equality that is feminism; the sexes are not treated equally.

As a way out, I would have suggested that the men too start to rise and chase equality from their own end, that they invent the idea “masculinism” in a fair way; however, this would only duplicate the shortcomings of feminism. I thereby want to plead with all those who fight against the discrimination against the female sex in a bid to achieve equity in the treatment of both sexes not to be one sided in this task because beyond feminism, we should try to achieve a state of fairness to both sexes. Simply put, we should all be fair-minists.

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Pope Jay

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