News - October 7, 2014

Blog: Is it radical to support women?

I find it surprising that people often perceive me as a radical feminist. Is it so strange to speak up for basic decency for all humans?

When I am advocating for women’s rights, I dislike it when I am treated as some kind of radical feminist. The fact that I am a women does not mean I have a soft spot for women. It also does not mean I would wish for a universe filled solely with women, and without men. Oppositely, I feel it is the basic humanity to speak up for women, and not feminism. I would probably act the same if I were a man.

With respect to speaking up for women, there are couple of things that annoy me. When I was in Nepal, I had heard a lot of words that rankled. But I would accept the fact because we live in a patriarchal society. However, I was very astonished to hear similar words in Europe, such as ‘manpower’ and ‘chairman’, in not only informal conversations but also in official lectures. Why don’t we use neutral terms like ‘human resources’ or ‘chairperson’? But when you speak your mind, you’re treated a radical feminist.

I expected to get more reactions from men about this. But surprisingly, I get these odd reactions, being treated as some kind of gender lecturer or a radical feminist, mostly from women rather than men. My support does not stem from studying gender studies. If people would study gender, they would be speaking about such gender issues via reflection papers or seminars. I think it is better to support the whole of humanity instead of focussing on one particular gender. The only concern of mine is that I would like all people to be respected well enough that one’s identity is not ruled over by others.

We are part of a highly educated generation. Therefore, I think it hard to understand why we still find it difficult to accept and respect each other’s and one’s own identity.