The Perfect World

Are you an activist that is sick and tired of being an activist. Wondering the meaning of it all? Especially feminism, right? Does it feel like you are always being asked the same question? Do you feel like there’s never any progress?

This one is for you:

I play a game of imagination with my students. I ask them what the perfect country would be like. What kind of rules would it have? What kind of responsibilities and powers would the government have? My students usually have a long list of demands and structures that would fix the world in no time.

I somewhat developed my own vision of the perfect feminist world. It goes something like this; firstly, the world is aimed towards balance. Men and women are encouraged to balance their individual characters. If they have dominating personalities, they are encouraged to be more harmonious and empathetic to other people. If they lack assertiveness, they are encouraged to develop confidence and make decisions. The characteristics we are encouraged to develop are based on what others and we have carefully observed to be the things that hold us back from striking balance. Secondly, we have an impressive currency system that rewards those that have contributed positively to their community. We reward what is helpful to everyone. (shouldn’t that be the point of labor division, making everything easier for each other. )

We always end up with a long list but neither I nor my students could come up with a world that was perfect enough. Our worlds always ended up being too confining or wrong in its own right. No matter how much we try to make the world just and complete we can’t imagine it not being broken somehow.

That’s what brings me to my favourite lesson in class. Discussing the value of personal responsibility and social activism when we are never exactly sure how much can be achieved. What is the value of writing an article and standing up for our rights? I always try to remember that we are always working towards asking better questions and allowing others to improve on our progress; there can never be a perfectly just world, we can only probably make one that is more hopeful. One that encourages the next generation of activists and their cause to keep pushing for progress.

Activism is a fruit of hope and kindness for the human race. It is strengthened by the vigour of those that came before us and it is fuelled by the better questions we hope others can ask tomorrow.

Good luck!

Mehret Berehe

Mehret is a law graduate with interest in advancing women's rights in Ethiopia. She is a mentor with the Yellow Movement and currently living and working in Meqelle, Tigrai, Ethiopia

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