Why am I a feminist?
Maybe it’s because I practice such an unpopular religion in the west. Maybe it’s because I balance a tightrope many have failed to balance. Maybe it’s because I refuse to generalize, but somehow I’m still a feminist.
Even after deciding that I will not place my career first, even after deciding that I do need a man, even after deciding that I’m ready to sacrifice things to have children and a happy family, I’m still a feminist.
As I wear my heels, as I wear my skirts and dresses, as I enjoy my makeup, I’m a feminist.
When I’m concerned with the future of young Arab men, when I’m discussing religious inheritance laws, when I’m learning about the great Prophet and other male religious leaders, I’m still a feminist.
The F word has become a dirty rag no one wants to touch, as opposed to a banner to wave proudly. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. There are those that have taken this beautiful movement for equality and freedom and dragged it through the dirt. As inconvenient as it is, the way an idea is presented can and often does overshadow its merits. As a prime example, the feminism of today has been presented in an aggressive, unfriendly, accusatory manner. Sadly, this has caused many to abandon the movement and simply refuse to have anything to do with it, despite actually agreeing with the fundamental beliefs of feminism.
I’m a feminist because I believe, above all else, women are human beings. Because I believe my sisters around the world deserve to make their own choices, whether that is become a housewife and spend their days mothering children and cooking food, or become a prime minister.
Quite simply, women deserve the same respect as men. No, men and women will never be the same. And that’s ok. We don’t have to be identical to be given the same rights.
Yes, I believe feminism is still necessary. Yes, I believe it remains a movement for equality, not for special “female privileges.” Therefore, as difficult as it is to do, I label myself as a feminist, despite its image, despite its connotations. Where others fear being misunderstood, I do not.
That’s the long version, anyway.