I have a very simple request to make: please stop telling me I don’t need feminism. Centuries of patriarchal dominance may have convinced you that the status quo is fine; however my experiences as a woman have convinced me that it’s not.
There are millions of women in the world who are abused, subdued and treated as lesser beings on the belief that men and women are not equal. Thousands of girls are prevented from being educated on the belief that a girl being educated is useless and a waste of time and money. Hundreds of girls get raped every year on the belief that women should submit to men. Scores of women are burned to death or shot in the name of honor on the belief that women should not get to decide their own futures. Yet, women are still told that they don’t need equality.
A severe detachment from reality has generated a group of men and women who tell women that they need to stop being feminists because Islam grants them rights, yet their aloofness from real life fails to make them see that, sure, Islam may grant women rights; however, that does not mean that women are given those rights. Words on paper and spiritual commandments mean nothing when the ground reality is that a sickening majority of ‘Muslim’ men do not believe in the rights of women or even that women have the same social standing as them.
Ladies, just because you have never been oppressed does not mean that other women have never been oppressed either. If you gain satisfaction and contentment from your current situation, that is well and good, however please stop telling other women they should be happy with their situation because they could have had it worse.
In comparison to millions of women in the world, I am very fortunate for the rights and freedoms I have, yet it is for this very reason that I believe I need feminism. I need it for the girl in my class who told me that she never ever thought of being anything other than a mother and wife because that’s all that her family allowed women to be, I need it for the friend who was sexually abused, yet can’t say anything about it because society will hold her accountable and not her abuser, I need it for Ambreen who was burned to death because she believed in love, I need it for all the girls who are devoid of an education because they are considered worthless, I need feminism for the girls who are raped and forced to live with and bring up the children of their rapist, I need feminism for all the times I stayed silent when I was harassed by men who knew that they could get away with it, more so I need feminism so that women are treated as human beings and not lesser creatures.
I have often been told that I should be grateful for the freedoms that I have, and so, I should not push my luck in asking for too much. However, the very reason that I have to be grateful for my freedoms is why I should push my luck.