So I started reading up on feminism because I noticed that a lot of people in this generation identify as feminists but they don’t really know what it means. I am one of those people because I only knew it had something to do with equality and women empowerment. It is amazing how the words feminist and feminism have been claimed by a lot of people who only took it at face value without understanding the history behind it. I can bet that if you’re one of those people, you probably were not aware that feminism is multifaceted and divided into factions, meaning that you can’t just be a general feminist as there are certain categories you can identify with according to your beliefs and what you stand for. The more I read into the topic is the more I realized that I didn’t know much either, in fact it all started from a conversation with a fellow blogger when feminism came up, so many valuable and eye opening points were made and since I felt like I wasn’t informed enough to fully participate in the discussion, I promised to look into it and a whole new world opened up after that. Note that even though they all fall under feminism, there are still certain contrasts within these approaches which makes me wonder if those differences do not in any way hinder the sole purpose of the movement. With that being said, there are plenty forms of feminism but I will only discuss the 5 that stood out for me.
IT’S MARCH AND AS the first quarter of the year comes to an end, the whole month is traditionally dedicated to celebrating women with International Women’s day on 8th but there are many more events that take place. There is a blogger from Zimbabwe called Sehli who went on Twitter and called out on anyone who wants to work with her on a blog. When I got down to her DM I didn’t know what to expect. I have tried collaborations much time but they never materialize. She asked what I had I mind and for the time I decided the type of feminism.
In the past, I have been told that a feminist is a feminist point-blank. So one time I got into a conversation with a respected lady who I loathed at the end of it. It got too ugly that at one point she told me I had no write to be feminist simply because I was a man. I thought she was disdainful of knowledge, indifferent to facts and untroubled by her benightedness. From that day I started to feel I was a moderate feminist which is not really a thing. Actually I am proud mainstream feminists which most ladies find disgusting as an identity but to me, it’s a logical point in the movement since the faction’s basis is plainly political and legal reform.
WHAT KIND OF FEMINIST are you? Every aspect of humans is divided into factions that may create a variety of ideas but sometimes they are not good for movements. There are two main factions in the feminist movement the Liberal feminists and the Radical. But the two are further divided throwing the struggle in a state of chaos to onlookers. The chaos that is destructive to the movement. Sadly, sometimes feminism takes on racial forms and socioeconomic divisions.
THE DIVISIONS IN THE feminist movement remind me of the Syrian war where everyone is everybody’s ally and also enemy at the same time. Look at Gender reform feminism that is about fighting for individual rights am thinking self-love started here, so long as one woman reaches the top she won’t care about others. Then the Gender revolution the thought of disrupting the social order will not even make sense from a religious and African viewpoint.
1. Radical feminism
They believe that the oppression of women is the ultimate form of oppression. This to me means that women a basically discriminated against because of gender and it is assumed that they cannot perform certain tasks because they are female. This faction also questions why women must adopt certain roles based on gender when they are capable of doing everything a man can do, and at times do it better than men.
THERE IS A TREND of radical feminism that is characterized by normally relatively well-off, well-meaning but VERY flawed women trying to figure out their immediate historical circumstances, creating both solutions and further problems in the process. So the militaristic approach to me doesn’t cut the chase.
2. Cultural feminism
Suggests that women are special because of their differences therefore those differences should be celebrated. Although radical feminists do not necessarily believe that women’s capabilities should be down played because of gender, here is a faction that believes that men and women are different and so that difference should be used to the advantage of women. This group also believes that women’s way is the better way hence the belief that “if women were leaders, there would be no wars”. This is in reference to the caring and delicate nature of the female gender that would choose peace over war.
NOT FAR from the radicals are the cultural feminist, who completely put aside the political spectrum and concentrate on life-style. They claim the woman/man element is psychological and doesn’t believe in the biological at all but want a cultural shakeup, while at the same time they want bride price to be part of their tales.
In what ladies call outdated feminism the biological rationales were not just always there but were a huge fundamental influence in all the stages of radical feminism, this is another own goal scenario for the movemet
3. Gender feminism
This group believes that men are not the issue, but rather the unequal distribution of opportunities is the problem. So to solve this problem, women should be granted certain privileges in order to be equal to men. The gender inequality stems from patriarchy which favored men for the longest time thus women were left behind, hence the need for measures such as affirmative action which will make women first priority in accessing opportunities in an effort to balance the numbers.
Unlike gender feminists, they advocate for the separation of men and women because they believe that once men are removed from the equation women will start seeing themselves in a different light. This in a way suggests that men are the problem, they contribute to how women feel about themselves and makes them question the power they possess, therefore if the separation occurs, women will value themselves more and they will be able to do more for society. Their dislike of men has led them to be mistaken for lesbians, although it sounds like perpetuating a stereotype because I don’t think lesbians actually dislike men.
There Separatist and lesbian faction of feminism. I find them to be more extremists than the radicals. Alice Echols a respected writer on radical feminism in her book she considered separatism as a lesbian strategy to untie lesbianism from sex so heterosexual women in the feminist movement felt more comfortable. This specific group is why women match events go beyond pink and the rainbow comes down. They in fact can’t have a say in things like maternity leave issues because of the traditional nature of their relationships. If they hate men then how can they even adopt children partly made by men. The separatist claim mainstream feminism has been guilty of homophobia in its failure to integrate sexuality as a fundamental category of gendered inquiry and its treatment of lesbianism as a separate principle
It further gets complicated when Trans-feminism make their show to the party. It brings in transgender and transsexual people. The other genders now come in.
5. Moderate feminism
This group was particularly interesting to me because they seem undecided. It involves women who think they have never directly experienced discrimination. Therefore, according to them, feminist movements are no longer relevant. They also think feminists impose their ideals on other people BUT, they themselves sometimes support feminist ideas although they don’t want identify as feminist. To me it sounds like this faction is aware that feminists are making valuable points towards the empowerment and development of women but they do not want to acknowledge the fact that women are indeed at a disadvantage because they feel like they haven’t experienced the same discrimination that most feminists are bringing light to.
Well, apart from the separatists, it is safe to say other groups of feminism agree on one basic concept, which is that feminism is not about excluding men; it is about empowering women to a level where they can access equal opportunities socially, politically and economically. It is the approach in which to achieve this goal that has seen the formation of different feminist groups who seem to be pulling in different directions but it is the effort made with that basic concept in mind that counts and it is because of this that we have come so far as to acknowledging patriarchy and its role in elevating men more than women. It is thanks to feminism that we now see society with the desire to take necessary steps in empowering women, advocate for equality and move forward.
THE ANARCHISM feminism has also been complicated with a mix up with radical feminism. There is another faction that puts advances that gender roles are socially formulated.
ECOFEMINISM CONNECTS the exploitation and man’s domination of woman with that of the environment and they sort of believe if women were in control we would not have climate change in the first place.
THERE IS THE NEWEST faction that ladies are taking on, the Ifeminists also called individualist feminists, it’s driven on the feminist slogan “a woman’s body, a woman’s right” should extend to every peaceful choice a woman can make. This new faction turns the old stereotype of feminism on its head. Pornography? Prostitution? Let women do what they want to with their own bodies. Verbal sexual harassment? If women want an equal right to explore their own sexuality, they risk encountering the offensive sexual attitude of others. Affirmative action? You cannot create equality with men by embedding gender privilege for women into the law.
Feminism has basically been about, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay which is not an issue in most parts of Africa, women’s political participation, sexual harassment and sexual violence. But today the various factions with varying goals, different strategies, and affiliation the movement is most likely to hit walls.
Vanessa Chisakula in one of her poems says that a woman’s greatest enemy is a woman.