A couple of times, a friend here and another there have asked me whether I’m a feminist. Argh, labels. How I like to frown upon them. I have never been one to be fit into any kind of box; no matter how noble or coveted the label is. For as long as I can remember, life has been about finding my own meaning of everything. Basically unpacking who I am, who I could be with all cards placed on the table, and then who I actually want to be or rather, who I am becoming. Funny thing is, in all this thinking and figuring out things, it’s never been about a movement, religion, peers or media. I know what they all say, but I have found it more interesting to define myself from what felt true for me.
Do some ideologies of feminism turn me on? I mean, hell yeah. The whole idea that a woman can be self-aware, independent, empowered, articulate and a high achiever is really quite something. Also, that there should be economic and social justice, and a more progressive view of division of labour? For real, like for real, I ain’t mad. Check yourself. Are you even upset at all? If yes, why would you be? Why would it bother you so much that another human being wants to do better, explore their limits while being of significance to the world? Whatever reason you have, I still don’t get it. It beats me.
The superficial belief that women are meant to be looked at and not be heard no longer has its place. Not in the modern world where women are now awakening to the reality of how much more they could be. A woman in today’s world realizes how powerful she can be. She realizes that some lies have been told in the past and her identity has been masked into playing roles that she could choose not to. She realizes that even today, her identity is still masked into fitting a certain profile and meeting certain expectations. I mean, at least I hope she does. I hope that as a woman, you realize these things. But the biggest realization for me has been that it’s all vanity. It’s utter vanity to try to check society’s little boxes of who a woman should be.
A woman, any woman, can be who she chooses to be. And that speaks to growth and aspirations. A woman, every woman, should be exactly who she is. And that speaks to her intrinsic value as a person. A woman’s person, her identity and her being is not something you should want to change. Her ideals, her values and her beliefs should not be something that needs to be twisted just because they differ from what’s common or what’s ideal. So what if she likes rugged jeans and distates pretty little dresses? So what if she argues back? So what if she is loud? So what if she doesn’t want marriage? So what if she can’t cook to save her life? If it makes you cringe, remember, it’s not a (point) of contention. There is no argument here. It’s just one human being living their best life. You don’t have to agree.
The full humanity of women needs to be appreciated. Not as a tool, a sex symbol, a housekeeper, a clown to make everybody happy at all times or a puppet to bend to everyone’s will. Rather, to acknowledge a woman as a person, a human with infinite potential and capability to create, to speak and to decide. There is no one way to live life. So every woman should freely be able to choose how she wants to live her life. After all, we are all just able humans gifted differently for different purposes in life. What we’re not is we are all not one woman fulfilling one fantasy to fit in the world.
We need a world where a kick-ass female lawyer can be a kick-ass female lawyer without funny theories of how she made her way to the top. We need a world where a stay at home mum can be a stay at home mum because she actually wants to, not just because her husband said so. We need a world where a woman can be everything she wants to be without reason or the need to justify it. Let her be a mother or not, a boss or not, a wife or not, girly or not. Let her be skinny or not, dark-skinned or not, talkative or not. Let her be everything or nothing at all. Just let her be.
We can all be a walking dream. But only if we can all live as we dream. As I’m not crazy about labels, the only definition of a woman I subscribe to is who she wants to be. I am not the role I play, just the value of what I embody by playing that role. Every woman is a master of her own self-invention. There are not enough labels to define us. And every label you try to put on a woman without being aware of her, for your own amusement, your ego, insecurities, or sense of stability, can be fluid. It can all be a lie so good you refuse to believe reality.
So don’t be the person telling her to be the woman you prefer, the one the media talks about, the one men want or the one that’s more acceptable to society. Life has more value to it than spending every minute of it role playing or being trapped in anyone else’s fantasy. To set someone free to be is to be part of the truth of their life; no appearances to be kept, no lies to be upheld and no acting to do. Just life in its truest and fullest. For a woman can slay dragons and calm the oceans, if that’s what she wants to do. So let her dream. Let her imagine and build a life of her own. And woman, dream, and live your dream.