To My Sisters; My Partners in Feminism

Any woman  who  chooses  to  behave like  a  full human being should  be  warned  that the  armies  of the  status quo will treat her  as  something  of a  dirty joke. That’s  their  natural and first weapon.  She will need her sisterhood ~  Gloria Steinem

One thing sharing my lived experience as a woman and a feminist gives me is the opportunity to learn that another woman shares my story. That always outweighs opinions of other people who question my intention in sharing them. It is incredibly amazing to see other women writing about their experiences, mirroring my own experience, the woes and frustrations I have. We are also united in our attempt to heal from them and come out holding our heads high.

This is huge for a woman like me who grew up in a culture that tells us we should keep our pain secret and endure it silently; it is assumed our fault as women if a relationship or marriage fails. That has made it difficult for women to come out of abusive relationships and to talk about what they have suffered for years. Once they start talking though, they see they were not the only ones who have been through such ordeal.

It also gives comfort to know that your journey as a feminist, your attempt to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women’s social roles and lived experiences, is not yours only but is shared by an army of women. This army has young, middle-aged and old women in it; women who share lived experiences, women who do have a different journey but can relate to one another’s story. I have been lucky to interact with lots of strong assertive women lately. Some of them I met on social media, others in networks and feminist spaces for sharing experiences and learning from one another.

Don’t even get me started on my close friends though. I wonder what I did right to deserve them all; my allies, my supporters in high and low; my good listeners, counsellors; understanding, loving beings. As much as the world (cyber and real) where I seem to get misunderstood and misquoted exists, there are places where I meet women, many of whom actually think that I am sane in thinking and acting the way I do. These people make the burden lighter, the struggle meaningful and bearable. From early on, it is such people that made it worth the ride.

So, to my sisters, my partners in being a feminist – I want to say, thank you.

This is amazing because there are a whole lot of others who equate my feminism with immense men-hating and that now I am against marriage, having children or religion; things they hold dear to their hearts. These people have made it hard for me to try and explain myself again and again; to engage them in a constructive way since all they seem to hear is their own misconceptions about my kind of feminism and what it stands for.

Bethlehem N. Woldeyohannes

Bethlehem N. Woldeyohannes is a Feminist Writer, a Newspaper Columnist and Media and Communications Consultant based in Addis Ababa.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.