As much as being hated by men who worship patriarchy hurts, and we always want to quit, we do it because of the next woman in line to run her feet on this Namibian soil.
Being a feminist in Namibia means that we are fighting all the manners through which patriarchy manifests itself. When there is a woman that is harassed and not believed, feminism is always at the frontline, dishing out assurance to victims so that they know they are not alone. It is because of feminism that other women who were never believed, gained the courage to speak up. This is because there are women who believe in them.
One of the main reasons feminism is something young people should be getting involved in is that it empowers people.
There is a common misconception that only women can be feminists and that feminism only benefits women. In Namibia, as much as feminism has been criticized for only benefitting women, it has equally been fighting for men too. For example, in the Jan Möhr case in which a male pupil was raped by a teacher, it was women at the forefront of the protests seeking justice for him. In reality, feminism strives for equality of the sexes, not superiority for women. And one of the main aims of feminism is to take the gender roles that have been around for many years and deconstruct these to allow people to live free and empowered lives, without being tied down to ‘traditional’ restrictions. This benefit both men and women. It is a movement that everyone can, and should get involved with.
Feminism is about working against the systems built to keep certain groups of people oppressed, and striving towards equality for everyone. It means fighting for intersectionality and acknowledging how race, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status affect feminism. It means having civil conversations with people I fundamentally disagree with to try and advocate change. It means taking a meaningful stance on injustices and standing up for inequalities, even if I’m the only one standing. This means that to be a feminist, you are not the only one when in crowds. You are a feminist when no other woman is looking, defending the rights of women and being an activist. Most importantly, being an activist means taking action, not just in protests, but in everyday life. Activism is really just being involved in something that you care about as a means to the end of the oppression that you are working against. This means that you are a feminist during everyday conversations and engagements.
Why be a feminist you ask? Because it is the only language I know that another woman understands, standing beside her and fighting the same enemy. I would never stop wanting to speak about feminism. It is who I am and will always be.
• Frieda Mukufa’s lifestyle section concentrates on women-related issues and parenting every Friday in the New Era newspaper. She also specialises in editing research proposals, proofreading as well as content creation.