The Sun radiates its warmth over my bookshelf, over me and over my world. I wake up at 7 am on weekdays.Â Looking out of the window, I inhale deeply. I sip the coffee and grab a bite of my breakfast. I get ready for school and leave the hostel. Along the alley, people are exchanging gossip, laughing, shouting, eating, walking, and sitting. As I walk, my mind is occupied with thoughts like – did I finish my homework? What classes do we have?
Duhâ€¦. I wish we didnâ€™t have science class today!
Suddenly, a foreign voice appears from behind interrupts all of my thoughts.
â€śHey! You are the feminist girl from (â€¦..) school?â€ť
I turn my face towards the stranger and nod affably although deep down, I hate having to meet people who come with such question.
â€śYes, Hi! And how do you know that?â€ťÂ I ask.
â€śOh, I am a stalker.â€ť Â She begins. â€śI stalked your Facebook profile plus heard people talking about you being so outspoken and deviant, is that true? Also, I happen to be one of your seniors!â€ť
From the tone of her voice, I know that something more is coming. She maintains a smile as she speaks. Despite the intrusion, I am pleased by her smile and charming aura.
â€śYou know, I donâ€™t understand why you claim to be a feminist. I mean, I am more like a humanist and am concerned about every human being. But you, why do you believe in Feminism? I feel like Feminism is full of womenâ€™s empowerment thing, which supports women in achieving their dreams.â€ť
Surprised by her question, I rapidly examine,
â€śI guess, we are moving forward to achieve the common goal.Â Donâ€™t you think? â€ť
She goes, â€śNo, I am under the impression that feminism means ‘females rule’ and hence never supported it. Whenever I try to have a conversation with the so-called feminists, they tend to be aggressive and defensive. I donâ€™t know but I just donâ€™t like how feminists scream so much and then actually do very little. They just donâ€™t do anything to improve the situation.â€ť
It had not occurred to me that a person, who had graduated from the same school that I am attending, would have entirely different opinions about Feminism. I can tell, from her distribution of opinions, she only sees Feminism as â€śbetter rights for women onlyâ€ť, not its definition â€śequal rights for ALL genders.â€ť She reveals her notions of feminism like many other people I have met before and it is not new to me. However, I become unreasonably frustrated and annoyed.
I want to tell her that Feminism has a deeper meaning to itself. Women have been treated like property, disenfranchised and taken like crap throughout most of the history. So, women naturally (as self-interested beings), wish for a better life. It makes complete sense for feminism to exist. And feminist is not a dirty word.
Despite the storm, no words come out of my mouth. I am feeling a lot of things, yet unable to speak even a word. I stare at her for a while until she says she is late for work.
â€śWe will continue this conversation later.â€ť I quickly add to erase the awkwardness of my silence. We shake hands and she leaves.
I continue my walk to school thinking about the conversation we just had. I cannot imagine how many people have the same notions on Feminism as the girl does. It bothers me very much to learn that most of those people are the so-called â€śeducatedâ€ť people who have the know-it-all-attitudes.
I realize, as a feminist, it is the time for me to do something to remove the misconception people have about Feminism. I have two options â€“ to sit down and piss off everyone who have different points of views or to do something productive and change their perspectives. I choose the second method to approach the problem of misconception. I truly believe that every single problem we face can be solved by changing one’s perspective. After understanding what it means, it is an individual choice – whether the person wants to be a feminist or not.
At first, I think to myself about how I learned all about Feminism. My understanding on Feminism was discovered and developed by reading books, particularly reading stories of women and men, who are suffering from the gender discrimination. Hence, I decided to write stories about me and people around me, especially on women.
Writing is a tool for me to offer my understanding of feminism. In other words, writing gives me, and many other feminists, a voice. After reading stories, many people I know have shifted their misconception on Feminism.Â For me, even if one person starts to think and act differently after reading what I write, is change. Change is with us. But some of us accept it and some, like the girl I met on the street, donâ€™t. Society will take time to understand. Even the humanist girl would embrace the truth, once she discovers it.
One day, if I have the chance, I want to meet and tell the humanist girl that Feminism, like humanism, aims to create the egalitarian world where all human beings are treated with respect. Thereby, she, too, is a feminist.