A few months ago I realised what the core of feminism is: The lack of and desire to have choice. In so many contexts plagued by sexism and inequality, choice is the core bit of the puzzle (that needn’t be a puzzle) that is missing. And of course that puzzle piece is being forcefully hidden under the patriarchy’s ugly, old and dusty shoe. From the expectation for me to sit and do handstands at lunch time rather than play football with the boys, to the girls being forced out of education and into a non-consensual marriage at the very same age, what is missing, is choice. The choice to play football as a girl; the choice to stay in education and avoid society’s horrifying expectation and instruction to be a wife at an age that should be defined by innocence and learning. As it was for me.
It’s frustrating to hear people – of any age and/or gender – say feminism’s work is done. We are equal now. Finito. Bye bye. In my corner of the world, we have made massive, respectful strides in the name of equality but even experiences in the Western culture need to be significantly improved and addressed daily. My heart breaks again when I then cast my thoughts to places in the world where those far less fortunate are struggling daily, without even the chance to have the privileged voice I have that enables me to explore why inequality sucks so much.
Despite any choices I am not socially given – or easily given – I am, of course, lucky. I have the choice to marry when and who I want; I choose my profession; I am free to make so many choices I maybe take for granted. And yet this guilt of my freedom only lurks because of the millions and millions of people around the world who live their lives by a strict set of rules I thankfully don’t even need to entertain. To me, choice seems like such a simple concept because I have so frequently been given it. Yet, upon reflection, I am not given it nearly enough.
Although I feel so heartbroken considering the worldwide issues equality faces, it doesn’t mean my experiences and those alike are trivialised. And yet, those who protest that gender equality is over are trivialising my problems. This then encourages a lack of focus on feminism, potentially leading to more ignorance regarding worldwide problems. I think in considering choice to be one of the core characteristics of equality, the world may open their eyes a little wider. So wide they might just look shocked at the lack of choice we are given.
As choice increases, inequality decreases.
~ Kat ~