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Why I "get out of hand"

A grandmother with her grandchildren

"Your feminism is getting out of hand.”

A male colleague told me this, in November 2012. For the previous weeks, I had focused on only women’s stories and on writing as many opinion pieces as I could to talk about issues that affected women. I wrote about a priest whose sermon was not gender-sensitive. I wrote about men paying women’s bills and wondered what that meant for the feminist movement. I analysed everything using a gender-sensitive lens, and he called it “getting out of hand.”
My friend’s view of women is uncomfortable. He always finds that one woman who slept her way to the top. I counter with three stories of three women who have failed to get into school because of societal expectations, cultural and otherwise. Almost every day, I open a chat and start from where we stopped the previous day. I look forward to the conversations because they challenge me, and although he has not taken away my fight, he has given it a much fuller outlook.

In February, we revisited the “getting out of hand” business.

“Do you have nieces?” I asked.

“Yes”

“Would you want your nieces to be vetted for a job on their looks? Do you see them sitting in bars getting men to pay their drinks? Would you want them to be the women you tell me about or do you want them to be people, like you and me?”

“I want them to work hard and to never be limited by their sex. I want them to go as high up as they want.”
I told him then that that was why I wrote and wrote and wrote about women’s issues. I told him I did it because I wanted my nieces and their sisters to have a world that was better than what their mothers and our mothers had. I was in a better position as a woman to raise issue because what I wrote about was my story, my every day experience. As a woman, I could relate to other women when I interviewed them, their experiences not very much different from my own. With the resource that I had in a newspaper audience, I was going to do everything I could to be my sister’s keeper. For our sakes and our daughters’ sakes.

Then in late March, I stumbled upon a Facebook post about World Pulse on a friend’s wall. It appeared on the newsfeed and I clicked on the link. I emailed one of the community members, Anitah, for more information as I looked through various journals and met more women with similar interests. I knew I wanted to be part of this community so I signed up.

Before I wrote this, I sent him a message asking if he still thought I was “getting out of hand”. Reply: “No, I don’t. It’s how you look at things. But few women here think like that.”

He obviously needs to meet World Pulse women.

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Comments

Taha Mirani's picture

Beautiful

I loved the post, dear Rebecca. Woman Power <3

Unless we won't stand up for ourselves, the patriarchal attitude of men isn't going to end. Wish you the best.

Love

Taha Mirani

Rebecca R's picture

Thank you

Hi Taha,

Thank you for reading my post and yes, we must stand up for ourselves and each other. We can't expect men to understand this the way we would. Theirs is a different kind of life.

Rebecca

Sharontina's picture

Out of hand!

It may seem to a few but not here. not getting out of our hands dear. You are right. Good post. Keep sharing.

Love.

Merlin Sharontina

Rebecca R's picture

Yes

Yes, Sharontina. This is a good community with the same interests. We must fight for each other.

Love,

Becky

libudsuroy's picture

Hi, Becky, I like the

Hi, Becky, I like the up-front quality of your piece. I would love to read those opinion pieces that you wrote! You have pointed the importance of conversations and debates on gender issues on the community-level in order to create change.Thanks!

Blessings,
libudsuroy/Lina Sagaral Reyes
Mindanao, The Philippines

''Every Day is a Journey and the Journey itself is Home.'' (Matsuo Basho)

Rebecca R's picture

Sending them

Let me send you a message with links to some of the pieces. They are all available online.
I am happy to share them because like you say, conversation and debate is very important for change.

Becky

Rebecca R's picture

Did you see message?

Hi libudsuroy,

I sent you an inbox with links to some of the pieces I was talking about. I hope you saw it.

Rebecca

libudsuroy's picture

Yes, Rebecca, I saw your

Yes, Rebecca, I saw your private message and the links. Just now. I am still grappling with my week 3 assignment and hope to finish it soon. I have read the three columns and can say that you are a woman of stature in your country. Keep writing and keep asking those important questions about gender relations.Cheers!

Blessings,
libudsuroy/Lina Sagaral Reyes
Mindanao, The Philippines

''Every Day is a Journey and the Journey itself is Home.'' (Matsuo Basho)

lintajonhera's picture

Way to go!

I love that you don't feel the need to apologise for your opinions. You own them and you stand up for them.

lintajo

Rebecca R's picture

Information is the key

I try to keep up to date about what is happening in the woman's world so I don't get caught without the right info in an argument.

Rebecca

Invite him over and we will make sure we change the way he thinks

Nice post

Regards
Aminah

Salaam
Aminah

Rebecca R's picture

Hahahaha

hah hahahahaha

Aminah, I should invite him over. I have been telling him about WorldPulse since I found it. He has probably been clicking on our posts.

bhavna's picture

obviously!

He needs to know this global sisterhood and their mission, I am sure he too will want a better future for his sisters and daughters.

Regards
bhavna

Rebecca R's picture

He does

I am worried that I might have portrayed my friend as non-supportive. He is not. He does want a better future for his sisters and their daughters.

Becky

michelle904's picture

I love your post. You are so

I love your post. You are so upfront and honest with a touch of humor. I hope that you continue to write about women's issues because it's needed.

Rebecca R's picture

Count on it!

Thank you for passing by and reading my post. I will continue to write as long as I can, as long as there continues to be gender disparity and a gender insensitive community.

Chinemu's picture

We need to Change Men

Great work, Rabecca, I like that your workmate changed his perception of women because of you. If everyone of us could do that, then all men would look at women differently, they would appreciate them, love them and know that they are equal partners in development. I really love this piece.

Great work, Great Voice

Rebecca R's picture

Thank you

Hi Chinemu,

Thank you for reading and commenting. I agree that talking to men would help them look at us differently. I realised that if I calmed down, and spoke to them as adults, outlining the different issues articulately, it was not very hard to convince a man to see our side of things. They don't need a pair of ovaries to understand inequitable resource sharing and to appreciate a person for everything they are.

Rebecca

hemrajan's picture

I am woman, hear me roar!

Rebecca,
You made my day reading this! I cannot tell you how many times I have been told similar things by men I consider as friends...
Part of me believes that sometimes men put women down because of their own deep seated insecurities.
I especially enjoyed reading about how you turned your friend's opinion around.

Well done!

Asha

Carpe Diem

Rebecca R's picture

Men as allies

Asha,

Thank you for reading, and for enjoying the post. I am not sure if every man puts women down because of their own insecurities. My friend, for example, has no insecurities. All he needs for me is to forget my emotions for a minute and present him a clear and well-articulated argument that he can understand and also relate to. These days, he is my sounding board for issues. It is kind of amazing.

Becky

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