As feminists, we have been fighting against the global oppression of women. But what does that really mean, and who gets to decide? Oppression is defined as "prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or exercise of authority". By looking at the definition you would think it would be simple to identify what is oppressive to women. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Traditionally, Human Rights and Feminism has been led by western cultures, and this in itself creates a problem. It means that a judgment is often made by a "universal" (mainly western standard), without taking into account the unique cultural attributes of specific groups and religions. Take, for example, the wearing of the hijab in muslim faith. Wearing or not wearing a hijab is part religion, part culture, part political statement, even part fashion, and most of the time it is a personal choice made by a woman based on the intersection of all four. (https://www.learnreligions.com/when-do-muslim-girls-start-wearing-the-hijab-2004249).
Then why is western society so concerned by women wearing the hijab? Especially in public spaces? This been a cause of worldwide debate, and has even lead to it being banned in some western countries. The basis of these bans has been for various reasons, including issues of public safety, the ability for all people to live together, the reasoning that a ban is integral to women's equality and the prevention of a proselyting effect on children in schools. But are these reasonings really valid, and do they really contribute to the feminist goal of female empowerment and gender equality? Isn't feminism about allowing women to make their own choices and to be break free from a system that has dictated their choices for way too long? So, then how does legislating against women being able to practice their religion and express themselves freely contribute to female empowerment. In short, it doesn't. Most women freely choose to wear the hijab as an expression of their religion and to deny them this right is to essentially create another level of oppression. As long as a woman chooses to do something of her own free will, we should not be intervening. We should not be telling women what they can and cannot wear. Empowerment looks entirely different across the globe, and it is important that we do not infringe of the rights of women from cultures and religions that are vastly different from our own.
True feminism is where we stand together and celebrate our similarities, but more importantly, respect and celebrate our differences. It is not up to us to decide what is oppressive to another, especially, if we are not fully educated on their religion/beliefs or customs. In an attempt to save women from perceived oppression, we have yet again added another level of oppression. We need to take a more holistic approach and stop judging what is empowering, based on outdated western views. Only then, can we achieve true equality.
Welcome to the first edition of the DKST Journal! We are so happy that you are here. We are on a mission to create a global movement of powerful women who support gender equality and female empowerment. Through the DKST Journal we will share important messages and stories about revolutionary women, feminism, activism and all things Female empowerment. We talk a lot about Revolutionary women and feminism, so what better way to start, than to talk about what that really means. We hope you enjoy the first edition 🖤
The Modern Revolutionary Woman
What is a Modern Revolutionary woman you ask? Well, basically she is anything she wants to be! There is a belief or myth if you will, that a revolutionary woman is someone who achieves something extraordinary, is a trailblazer in her field, or is actively fighting the system. But is this really true? Do you need to become VP of a Country or cure diseases to be a revolutionary woman? Not at all! A Modern Revolutionary Woman is someone who has decided to no longer be a slave to society's expectations and stereotypical gender roles. She is redefining womanhood on her own terms. She doesn't have to be shouting it from the rooftops, but can be quietly forging her own path. Being a revolutionary woman means leading by example, and supporting and elevating other women along the way.
There is an outdated notion on what is means to be a "feminist" and all that it entails. Think bra burning, protesting, man hating and a general disdain for their sisters who chose to conform. This is NOT feminism, and has unfortunately resulted in a movement that has often alienated the gender it aims to support . Feminism in it's truest form, is the belief in social, economic, and political equality of the sexes. So, to be feminist, you are someone who supports equal rights for women. How you choose to do this, is completely up to you. Not all of us are comfortable waving a placard at a mass protest, or using our voice on a large scale. Much like womanhood, doing out bit for gender equality and female empowerment will look radically different for everybody. Confidence and empowerment starts at home, so perhaps you are a stay at home mum who is teaching your kids about equality, or helping your daughter to love herself unconditionally. Or maybe you are contributing to a safer and more supportive working environment for women in your particular industry. It all counts. It all contributes to the larger cause. Remember, a journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step.
If you are wanting to support gender equality for women, but are unsure how to do it - here are some simple ways to support and elevate each other:
- Support female owned businesses.
- Be supportive and celebrate the achievements of your sister, no matter how big or small.
- Find a charity or organisation with a mission to create gender equality, and donate or volunteer your time.
- Teach your children about gender equality and allow them to live their lives on their own terms.
- Share messages in support of gender equality on your social media.
- Live your own truth and help to guide others to do the same.
- Contribute to gender equality and collaboration in the workplace.