being a black feminist in kenya

Being a Feminist in Kenya

I have been a feminist for as long as I can remember. I was always advocating for equality way before I heard about the term feminism. In recent years, Kenyans have been coming to terms with feminism, and it was implemented in the 2010 constitution, which was a step in the right direction, but I think we still have a long way to go.

Different definitions of feminism:

It is the advocacy of women’s rights based on the equality of the sexes.

The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities

The doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men

Being a feminist in Kenya, these are some things I’ve found out; 

You are always angry.

People assume that you are an angry, loud, and bitter woman. I remember telling one of my friends that I am a feminist in one of our passing conversations, and he said that I didn’t look like one, just because I.m not as loud or fit into any of the stereotypes. It pisses me off that this is what people think feminists are, but we just want equality.

 

Not all females are feminists.

This is a concept I was surprised to find out. I thought that all females champion for equality in all areas, but that’s not the case. I met a random lady in a networking event who told me that she wasn’t one when the topic came up. Naturally, I asked for a reason, and she said to me that she supports equal pay, but in the family aspect, a woman is below the man and needs to cater to his needs. This was in 2019, and you’d think we’re back in the 1900’s.

You’re against men

It doesn’t help my case that I am single, but most Kenyans assume you hate men because you are a feminist. How can people be so shallow? When this happens, I try defending myself by telling them that I don’t hate men, but no one believes me anyway. I don’t understand where this concept came from people need to realize that feminism isn’t a tool to pit women against men but one to make our country better, stronger and more inclusive

You think you’re better than men

Another thing people say to feminists is that you find yourself better than men. What I don’t understand is people’s lack of research and the conclusion that we plan to put men down. Most feminists I know are humble despite all their accomplishments, and they don’t ever think they are better than anyone.

Men cant be feminists.

I know some men even in my family who think feminists are just women and that supporting feminism makes them weak. Most of the time, you find that such men have a lot of toxic masculinity signs. This is still new to Kenyans, and I hope we get to a place where being a male feminist is normal.

Toxic feminists

Such women now ruin the term feminism for everyone. Most toxic feminists have the same qualities as toxic men and fit into all the above stereotypes.

Are you a feminist?

Do you believe that women and men deserve equal rights and equal opportunities?

Do you believe that only certain groups of people should be allowed access to certain opportunities and rights?

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Zach Vessels

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