In today’s world where the word feminism has been misinterpreted, misused and misdefined so many times, it becomes more and more difficult to do what you want, plainly and normally just because you want to, defining everything and making boxes out of them is certainly doing and will continue to do more harm than good.
What happens with this is that girls are now supposed to be more independent, bold, and strong (which women are). If they are not any of the 3 things mentioned, they are not feminist enough, strong enough, and sometimes, “damsels in distress” that need saving. This type of judgment comes from men as well as women. These girls are then termed “homely girls”. Below are the 4 times people can be termed homely girls when they might actually not be. Not that there is anything wrong with being homely, it is just the connotation of the usage of the term.
1. Wanting To Marry Early
It has very often been done to girls who marry early that they have no other interests and that their only dream is marital bliss, living with their husband, having kids, and nothing else. However, girls who have been in a relationship for a long and then want to marry have not as often been impacted by this as much as girls who choose to go for arrange marriage, or even worse, those who have no other choice except arranged marriages.
In many communities that have forced their women and also men to marry through arrangement and not love, it is an act of feminism to want to marry because that is when they are free. Some families only allow girls to have their freedom after they get married because then she is not their responsibility.
2. Choosing To Watch Rom-Coms and Read Love Stories
Reading love stories and watching rom-com is not anti-feminist. It is pro-choice. Wanting to watch romcoms, chick flicks and love stories only become problematic when a woman espouses the ideas of a problematic film. There are a lot of amazing rom coms and chick flicks like The Proposal, Legally Blonde, How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days, and more that do not instill the age-old idea of a damsel in distress in need of saving.
It is some girls’ guilty pleasure to even watch damsel in distress kind of movies, however, it is still fine unless you try to internalize the misogyny and try justifying them. I for one became a feminist by watching some bad movies that told me how it is not supposed to be what it should be more like. It can also do more good than harm, you never know!
3. Wanting to Become a Mother (Early)
Let us make this statement crystal clear for everyone, wanting to become a mother, at any age, does not mean a woman is not feminist enough. It is a choice to be a mother and it has got nothing to do with a man and everything to do with all the love she has to give to the child she wants to bring forth. A woman’s maternity days are the days of her life that she cherishes forever. Being able to bring a new life in this world and choosing to do so has got nothing to do with feminism. Some of the biggest feminists out there are mothers, by choice. It can be powerful for some to become a mother, bring up a child. And it is equally feminist to not want to be a mother, choosing to not confine oneself to the assigned role of becoming a mother compulsorily at some point.
4. Being Physically and Emotionally Weak
Being emotionally and physically weak depends mostly on the type of person someone is and not the gender. We’ve all heard it before, “you have to be emotionally strong to be a feminist.” This stems from our society’s tendency to have a narrow idea of what a “strong” woman is. To be a strong woman, you have to be tough, not show emotion, and be a badass. I can be a feminist, and I can be strong, but I can also be weak.
As feminists, we’re supposed to be strong, confident and outspoken. It’s okay to admit that we’re scared and weak. Whether it’s being afraid of breaking up with someone or not having the courage to take a huge career risk or crying in the face of inconvenience- there’s nothing wrong with being emotionally weak. The first step towards moving on from fear is admitting it exists.
Many people think that if you’re not good at fighting or sports, you’re not a real feminist. However, having the physical strength to overpower someone or to be able to fight isn’t a sign of empowerment. A real feminist doesn’t need the physical strength to overpower someone. You don’t have to be physically strong to be a feminist. Turning women into men is not what feminism is about!