By Kaosarat Morenikeji Atobiloye, edited by Peace Akinwale

Photo from Shutterstock

Feminism is the theory of all sexes’ social, political, and economic equality. But that’s a dictionary definition. The definition of feminism is diverse and may be considered complicated. You may say that feminism is about overturning the reign of men or patriarchy for a women-led universe. You may even say feminism is about achieving female dominance in society or that feminism is about providing equal opportunities for both men and women.

The most accepted opinion to which we at Bays Planet Foundation adhere is that feminism is an absolute rejection of domination, oppression, and a criticism of social systems or practices that reinforce power over particular individuals. Feminism is about the equality of all sexes or gender.

The definition of the concept has been tampered with in recent times. You might be misguided to think feminism is about male-bashing, gender warfare, and contempt for traditional choices. This leads us to ask ourselves: Do we still need feminism in this modern age, and if so, what kind of feminism is critical to modern intellectual discourse?

Advocacy is engagement aimed at bringing about change. Advocacy for women’s fundamental rights remains an urgent issue worldwide. Even in developed countries, a movement for gender equality is valid. To salvage the movement and stop it from turning irrelevant or toxic, those who advocate for feminism need to understand a few things from our observation.

Get your facts straight. Do your homework. As an individual venturing into feminism advocacy, learning about the concept is imperative. Learning about it means getting familiar with people in the same field, their advocacy strategies, their works, successes, and even failures. Understanding this is important to know what they have done wrong and what you can do differently to obtain different yet desired results and milestones. Find out the local activists/organizations that support feminism and consult with them to devise your response/advocacy strategy when you get started.

A respectful dialogue with people who do not consider themselves feminists would also benefit both sides. No man is an island of knowledge. Conversing with an open mind will allow you to learn new things or tap into the minds of those who do not subscribe to your ideas about gender equality. This gives you an edge when you are clarifying arguments or writing about the subject in the future.

Labels are irrelevant compared to intellectual diversity. If some people are pro-equality but refuse to own the label ‘feminists’ because they don’t like the word’s connotations, chastising them or explaining why they are “really” feminists is unhelpful. It may even be considered arrogant. Whatever label people have chosen, why not work with anyone who shares your overall goals? A gender equality movement can only have a future if it’s a big tent.

Biology has made us understand the innate behavioural and psychological differences between all sexes and the possibility of flexibility as part of human nature. As feminists and activists, we should work on reducing such biases and stereotypes. We must also appreciate the option of choice. We should inspire the girl-child to aspire for a leadership role but not stigmatize her if she makes a traditional choice. You must also understand that equality doesn’t mean that men and women must be identical in everything. It is biologically impossible, and we cannot treat people as individuals without respect for their gender. Thus, feminists should refrain from bias toward the male gender, stop opposing measures to help men, and promote women-as-victims or men-as-bad-guys narratives. These are undignified acts that should be frowned upon by every libertarian. A proper equality movement should address all gender-based wrongs, not create new ones.

Advocacy does not end on the internet as it is borderless. You don’t want to be an online activist alone when you can promote the campaign about equality in spaces within your touch and reach. However, while doing this, you must do it without being overwhelmed by gender biases or any related challenge that could affect your communication strategy’s efficiency.

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