There is something very powerful in engaging with a group of independent highly accomplished women who have created families and jobs both. In terms of current popular lingo we could say it’s “empowering”.
I am not keen on describing these meaningful interactions with women as empowering though. It indicates that we somehow need to be empowered externally when our power actually comes from within ourselves. I am not where I am because someone else empowered me. I empowered myself. So did a lot of successful women.
In that sense, the definition of empowerment should mean the ability to enhance your self-worth, to feel confident in your choices in life, to not be consumed by guilt about something or the other, and to be able to inspire or influence social changes that enable women to chase their dreams.
Feminism has become a derogatory term. It has been projected to mean women demanding equality with men while hating them, sugar coating the hate with terms like ‘smashing the patriarchy. In truth, that is not what feminism stands for. Though feminism was born from patriarchy, the prime goal is not to hate men or demand equality.
Feminists want equal opportunity.
Feminists want equity, not equality.
Feminists want a spot at the table.
Feminism fights for women to have that spot, regardless of all other variables.
Because men and women are not equal and identical.
We are equal but different.
Critics of feminism have taken the liberty to describe it in waves – first wave, second, and third waves. I am clueless about the differences in these waves. Apparently, we are in the fourth wave.
There are some arbitrary variables used to define these waves, as if women had different demands and alternate goals, whereas in all honesty women have only ever wanted equal opportunities as men on a cerebral level and to be treated with respect. Everything else is just white noise and tools used to put down the movement.
On a personal level, I often say that I am not a feminist. This term barely describes my mindset and work. What I do in my life as a woman to elevate womanhood in every possible way, is far above simple feminism.
As a Women’s Healthcare provider for more than 3 decades, my role in the world of medicine hardly has anything to do with feminism per se. Any philanthropic work done for social justice with women at its center, is also not aimed at spreading feminist principles.
But also, why should I call myself a feminist when masculinism does not exist? In keeping with the core principle of feminism for women to be equitable with men, I can only be labeled a feminist when I meet the first masculinist. Not chauvinist – trust me I have met hundreds of those men. But I have yet to meet a masculinist. Maybe men can define it for themselves.
Or maybe we can just do away with these labels that are inherently divisive and treat everyone the same. Novel thought, but possible, no?