How Hard is It to Be A Feminist?

It is a challenging situation for a woman who consider herself a feminist. Especially in the country where most of the people are believe that men should be the leader in every aspects of life.

The answer is extremely hard. I live in a country where everyone (both men and women) still believe that men should be the leader or men deserve to decide any important decision making whether it is in government, company, or family.

The women here are willing to give their authority to the man they trust. It seems consented since it is the man they trust. The truth, it is problematic because men become so irresponsible because it is really easy for them to be the leader and the decision-maker.

They do not become a leader because they have been built to be one, they become a leader because of their gender. This kind of notion is fully adopted in lots of countries, especially the countries that have a high number of religious people. Patriarchy is one of the results of religious practices.

I consider myself a feminist. I believe that everyone deserves the same rights for everything. I also believe that everyone is capable of doing anything in this world as long as they want to do it. Those apply to men and women. Unfortunately, lots of company environment does not see it that way. Women are seen to have golden age for them to work.

Women will have a burden to bear kids someday. Not only stopping in bearing kids but also taking care of them. It does not look good for the profitability of a company because women might need split focus or extra day-offs. Companies will prefer to hire men rather than women for important roles. Men are not seen to have a burden in taking care of children or even household chores. At least, that is what happens in my country, and I believe in most other countries.

If we stop on the company issue with women, it is painful enough to be a woman in my country. But, let’s stretch it into a different scenario. I am aware that I am a woman and I have a womb. It means it is possible for me to get pregnant.

With the company issue that I have mentioned earlier, I choose not to have children at all (and any other circumstances that I believe it is morally wrong to have children). I see my decision as a feminist decision. It allows me to have control over my body, my future, and my entire life.

I feel so powerful to own that decision. Unfortunately, society judges me as selfish, not by nature, and against god’s will. Having a womb as a woman is something we can call by nature. But, it is also a choice. Just because I have a womb, does not mean I want to have children. Talking about god’s will, no one knows what God wants for me anyway.

Another issue that I hear about a lot is the romanticizing of marriage. The people who misinterpreted religious texts always see marriage as a mandatory thing. Even worse, they romanticize it to women only. Religious people see single women as deceptive because everything they see in women can make guys turn on. And it is the fault of the woman.

If women marry sooner, they will get protection from the marriage that no man can bother them anymore since they are married. Not only that, but we also give price tags to women about the older they get, the cheaper they are. Well, if it is about the health of the egg that they concern about, I get it. But most of the time it is just about the social construct on how beautiful and successful you are as a woman to be taken sooner.

As a feminist, I see this phenomenon as an insult to the marriage institution. When you decide to marry someone, it is because you love the person and you want to spend the rest of your life with this person, not because it is an obligation only. Imagine someone marries you not because s/he loves you, but because s/he is obliged to marry due to age, social pressure. I see marriage as a choice and not a destiny. So, people will marry if they want to, if they love each other.

Being the only feminist in my little company gives me a huge burden. They always ask me about the reason beneath my decision. It seems like I need to justify every move that I am going to make. Sometimes, reasons are not enough.

They suggest me to think twice or having a more methodological way of thinking. However, they do not bother themselves to ask the same question every time they want to do something or make a decision. It seems like the burden only relies on me because I am different. Being a feminist sometimes costs me to feel alienated because I need to watch every decision I make.

If I make a wrong decision, people will take it as a feminist fault, not as my fault. So, sometimes it is better for me to withdraw myself from the crowds to prevent any mistake because I feel the burden of being judged as a feminist. It does not have to be like that. People do mistake whether they are feminists or not. If I do a mistake, I am still a legit feminist woman.

The hardest thing being a feminist in my country is seeing everything equally alone when everything is unequal. Women like me want to do just a lot of things but we cannot do it alone. We do not get support from fellow women around us because they have been brainwashed about what is just and equal based on society’s standards since they were born. And, the saddest truth is being equal and just in most countries is everything about patriarchy.

So, this is the time for us (feminists) to unite, not to poke each other’s side and claim it as the best feminist movement. We cannot change this world alone.

Intan Ilaiha

Independent woman who lives alone by herself. She has a background as a journalist and she is interested in the issue of Politics, International Relations, and Feminism.

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