By Omoh Giwa
I inappropriately have been known to wear the tag of feminism but certain incidents and developments have caused an awakening in realising my actual placement in the “feminiverse”. Many believe that the modern manifesto for feminism is Adichie’s We Should all be Feminists but alas I have to admit that I was also wrong. Feminism is the advocacy for the rights of women which requires that women be considered and treated as people as against objects or properties to be violated and disregarded.
Although the message of feminism is being preached at every corner, many still live in fear of its tenets and believe the movement to be a radical ideology negating the spiritual order designed by the Supreme Being. Hence your fear and animosity towards women who label themselves feminist and a desire to avoid them like the bubonic plague. However, I have noticed a trend in feminism (you can call it a variant strain like the ever evolving Covid-19) and so magnanimously,I have decided to help you navigate the labyrinth of modern feminism. Do not be inundated by the multiplex constellations of feminism and knowledge, they say is power. The first wave of feminist ideology was centred on women’s right to vote and be voted though ignoring non-white women while the second and third waves tackled issues ranging from pay equality, reproduction rights, and domestic violence to redefining femininity and celebrating differences in race, class and sexual orientations. However, I am here to help you perambulate fourth-wave feminism (please keep an open mind and abandon all prejudice). I have divided fourth wave feminists into two; the ancient and the modern feminist though the focus of this commentary is the latter.
You might think that the target of every feminist is to be viewed as autonomous, intelligent beings but the modern feminist has moved past this phase in the struggle (ancient feminists need to keep up) and has other troubling challenges to tackle. I will not bore you with the ideological underpinnings of the modern feminist so I will keep this light. The modern feminist can be identified by her fashion choices which are not bound and restricted by societal moral policing unlike the ancient feminist. The modern feminist has adopted a fashion style; alté. They also employ a minimalist fashion approach (not to be confused with interior decorating styles), literally if I might add. When they wear skirts and gowns~ as minimal fabrics as the designer can get away with or what do you expect from an emancipated convict that has broken the stifling chains of masculine hegemony? I once read an article analysing brassieres as symbols of the patriarchy which we must combat like our very lives depend on it (if this makes you uncomfortable, you might have to consider that you are a misogynistic pig who cannot allow women remain liberated).
A modern feminist can also be identified by her love for big, sturdy leather boots often found in frigid European and American continents (although I have no argument for the rationale behind wearing them, except they look ready to stomp on the crown of their enemies and the chicness of it). I especially love the chunky, bulky bracelets and tattoos that accompany the modern feminist dress code. Howbeit, the nose piercing is the most prominent feature of their dressing (and a personal favourite). You might wonder the significance and importance of body mutilation (or was it modification?) to the feminist agenda but I like to say it is in solidarity with the Arab feminists who are deeply oppressed (or it could be for the aesthetics of it even though some pierced noses remind me of cows being led to the slaughter).
An endearing trait of the modern feminist is her sympathetic plight to other marginalised groups especially the rainbow community (if you wrinkle your nose then allow me call you by your rightful name; a Homophobic bigot). They feel an empathetic connection towards transwomen as victims of discrimination and must at all cost (even sacrificing their proverbial nose to spite their faces) support their integration into female activities including sports (they seem to find men becoming women and beating biological females at every sport, liberating and so must you or else you shall be cancelled. Ask Adichie and JK Rowlings).
Cruelly, the modern feminist often considered brash, confrontational, haughty and antagonistic but I often wonder if this reaction stems from the fallacy that women are cool, docile, amenable and subservient. In a ridiculous plot twist, the misconception about women serves the purpose of educating the populace on the monstrous-feminine as theorised by Barbara Creed who claims females are capable of monstrous actions.
An endearing trait of the modern feminist is her sympathetic plight to other marginalised groups especially the rainbow community (if you wrinkle your nose then allow me call you by your rightful name; a Homophobic bigot). They feel an empathetic connection towards transwomen as victims of discrimination and must at all cost (even sacrificing their proverbial nose to spite their faces) support their integration into female activities including sports
I cannot understand why modern feminists have refused to acknowledge that women are capable of being perpetrators as well as victims. I am befuddled especially at their defence of Amber Heard (estranged wife of American actor, Johnny Depp). Despite the ample evidence laid against Heard, these modern women have refused to see her as a perpetrator. Some have even claimed Heard’s abuse as defence against Depp’s abuse when there is no evidence of such. It was ridiculous listening to supposedly intelligent women defend Heard on Twitter Spaces like deranged addicts (addicts to falsehoods and manipulation). To worsen an already bad case, Heard herself, dragged every woman into the fracas by saying her loss (at not being able to play victim and riding on the DV survivor wave) was a negative impact for the female discourse. She claims women have lost their voice as though she is the forerunner for feminism and its discourse. Take for instance Ronnie Long who served 44 years in prison on false rape charges yet rape victims are never discredited with reference to Long’s indictment.
Therefore modern feminists who insist this is a slight against women can relax their nerves. No one will discredit you based on Heard’s conviction and loss. You have a voice and will be heard and seen (do not allow badly behaved bullies and perpetrators tell you otherwise).
Speak up and speak out.
Giwa, writes from the University of Lagos.