Being angry seems to be a bit of a cycle. You get angry about some injustice, then people start being weary of you because they don’t like angry people, then you get more angry because you’re now angry and you’re alone. You even get angry for being angry!
I get it. I run a Woc (women of colour) based feminist blog – I get it.
No one wants to talk about issues forever.
It’s exhausting to be angry all the time.
But when gender-based discrimination is pointed out to you, you start to see it everywhere, and then you can’t help but get angry about the injustices of the world.
Call me when you hit the wall of realisation that you can’t speak about these things without upsetting people – that’s when it all starts coming down.
Now, Western women have experienced embracing feminism. The 20th century saw the rise of Suffragettes, working women in Britain who demanded equal rights and the power to vote. The 60’s brought on flower power, bra burning, and marches for equality in America. In South Africa women made history by marching to the Union Buildings. The march was a triumph for women in South Africa, and it’s one we are still proud of today. While some women of colour, mostly African and Caucasian did participate in these movements, I assure you; in this moment of history, the majority of Indian women were at home, standing at the stove, vaguely listening to what was going on via the radio, and thinking that none of this was relateable to her because this was:
A “Western woman” thing.
Though still a part of the overall struggle, the brown woman’s struggle for feminism, is unique. To be a Brown woman, is to be a holy mother figure. Culturally, it feels a little like we physically do hold the universe together, as I’m sure it does to any woman. But we differentiated ourselves from western women, proudly, and in doing so, we overstepped the injustices in our own culture.
We’ve been so fluent in patriarchy that there’s barely a translation language for us to speak.
To older generations, who spent their lives in the kitchen, and patiently did as their fathers and husbands asked, feminism is just absurd. When the younger generation learns about it, all you really learn is how much you can’t do.
Are you going to say, “Ok Nana, today you make your own tea”?
I didn’t think so. And you don’t have to, because doing things for elders is a mark of respect and love.
We’re Dilwale – people of heart. I feel like dismantling the system would confuse the daylights out of everyone. Men in the kitchen would be trying to chop steak with a butter knife, and women in the lounge would laugh to cover their nerves at the thought of having their Corningware handled, and then say “Alright, can we go back to the way things are supposed to be now?”
We’re lost without patriarchy – we don’t know who we would be without it.
Some of us came from generations of women who didn’t even attend school because they were woman, some were pulled out of school and others never had the chance to study further. Having cooking and cleaning and motherly skills – those are strengths. I commend the women who feature these traits.
But certain skills are also formed on the basis of experience, because they’re responsibilities, and responsibilities should be shared. Women do not come born with these skills, they are developed. Some enjoys these tasks more, and to some, they’re just a chore. Some are better at them than others, and the fact is that we can’t be judged based on these skills; we’re just humans.
Men have the ability develop these skills as well.
If women and men were to both develop skills for taking care of themselves and their homes, they’d have equal opportunity for developing other aspects of themselves.
There are things we might love and excel at that we haven’t even thought of, because they’ve been considered as being out of line with our gender.
Even if the vast majority is in line with the expectations of being a man or a woman.
So if you want to know what feminism is – it’s about opening up life to everyone.
It’s about letting people decide what they want to do, and giving them the choice to do it.
It works just as much for men as it does for women, because men are taught to work and be emotionless and face the outside world, and that’s a tough burden and unfair that’s placed on them too. Humans are just humans. Let’s all be angry about it, together!
When you say ‘feminist’ in a brown house, it scares people. (We’ve tried.)
What you say is “f-e-m-n-i-s-t” but what is heard is “a-g-g-r-e-s-s-o-r.”
Because being a woman who says she stands up for herself is understood as being… unpleasant.
Having your role in life decided for you based on your sex – that’s unpleasant.
Having to conform your identity to what everyone thinks it should be – that’s unpleasant.
But asking to be accepted just for being you is not unpleasant to anyone except the people who are trying to control others. And controlling people IS unpleasant.
Feminism is not the opposite of love. Rather, it is a love for all.
It’s not saying, ‘one type of person ought to do one type of thing for another.’
It’s saying that we should all do things for each other, and this doesn’t mean disrespect – it means respecting one just as much as we do the other. Recognize that brown mums need to be cherished and revered just as much as brown dads.
Recognize that brown girls can do just as much as brown boys, and vice versa.
We deserve equal love and support.
We’re not going to smash the patriarchy in one go.
But we’ve gotta keep pushing. Get angry. Stay calm. Get angry again.
Understand yourself and what your take on justice and your beliefs are, and then stand up for them because they are important. The personal is political.