We are all born of woman... we have women in our lives

Saturday March 28 2020

feminism

Women take part in a feminist march along Nairobi streets on March 8,2019. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG 

ELSIE EYAKUZE
By ELSIE EYAKUZE
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All good things must come to an end, as will March, the month in which women are told “celebrate yourself”. This is a good thing as we do not take time to wallow in the sheer wonder of being, however challenging life is.

This column has touched on whether feminism is an ideology (it is); feminism at the intersection of culture; faith and the individual and feminism and the conflicts amongst women.

Perhaps it is time to confess why feminism was serialised for four weeks.

The hope is that next time you come across a feminist, if you are not one already, the discussion that you might have about the topic should be a richer one.

Instead of the unproductive confrontational attitude that so many adopt out of an understandable unfamiliarity with the ideology, I hope that fruitful discussions might come out of probing and informed questions.

As for my fellow feminists: well, we all have to keep our practices fresh and sharp and up to date, don’t we?

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But mostly I just needed to demystify this huge term. Life is exhausting enough without people getting nervous around you if you use the F-word in public.

It should be about as uncontroversial as saying: “I am a Socialist” or “I support Manchester United”. Actually, that last bit is a lie: Manchester United fans are the worst. You just are, and I look forward to your letters of outraged complaint.

It is impossible to come to a conclusion about this topic: it is alive, and constantly evolving and so large that I fear I have not even begun to scratch the surface. But this will have to be enough.

So as all decent moderators do, I want to open up the discussion to the reader and ask: Do you have any constructive questions? What do you think should be improved if, fate willing, we revisit the F-word together after Terra has revolved around Sol one more time?

Also, it is time to let the non-feminists back into the room. Note that I have carefully avoided saying “men” because I hope that by now we can agree that as feminism is an ideology that has specific progressive social and political targets, it is in no way restricted by the actual sex or gender of the practitioner. If there is one thing you should take away from this, dear reader, I hope that is it.

To stop the patriarchy weaponising gender and dividing us through manufactured disputes, think of it this way: we are all in it together. Yes, even you, the sceptics and the hostile ones. We are all born of woman, we all have women in our lives, we live with women and we are women. But ultimately, we are all people first.

As any self-respecting feminist really ought to start with Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman,” so should we end it with a more contemplative reading to carry us through the year, her autobiography: “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Go in peace and be well.

Eyakuze is a consultant and blogger for The Mikocheni Report: E-mail: [email protected]

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