I have never had a role model for a very independent woman in my real life and somehow I always use Ibu Kartini’s name for all the brave things I do. I love my mom but she’s not my role model. She’s strong and smart and (again) I love her, but still I can’t look up to her. (This will offend the extreme Chinese-minded people about “you must bayar budi to your parents.”)
Anyhow, when I read some of RA Kartini letters, I was so overwhelmed of how a twenty years old woman on that era could think like that? How did it feel to be a feminist in the beginning of twentieth century? It must be very VERY scary! And again, she was TWENTY YEARS OLD!!!
I look back into my life, I think I’m pretty fearless like Kartini. The situation now surely is not even half scary of the situation back then, but I guess if I died and met Kartini, she would totally high-five me. I came to Singapore with nothing but a suitcase and 2K money in my pocket. I still didn’t have a job, not even an interview when I first came here. All I had was a simple gut and a very strong faith. And yes I did it.
I used to think being a feminist means I didn’t need men in my life or I didn’t need men beside me to validate my existence. I was wrong. It turned out that my life had become much MUCH better once Bandi came into the picture. Being a feminist doesn’t necessarily means we could degrade men or treating them badly. It means we’re equal with them.
I won’t mind if a man offered me to bring my grocery bag, or offered me a seat. That doesn’t mean I’m weaker than him. It’s a good manner. But I will mind when a Chinese parent said “Only a son is entitled for a house, because daughter will later be taken by her husband.” or when my Indian colleague said “You are not allowed to do that [please insert any bad behavior] because you’re a woman.” Go to hell, really. This is freaking 2013 and people still saying things out of gender?! (I’m not demoting any race, they’re just samples.”
Let me give you one very annoying sample that I always encountered:
“When a man sleeps with a lot of girls, he is THE MAN. When a woman sleeps with a lot of men, she is a SLUT.” Is that fair? NO FREAKING WAY! Women are also entitled for her sexual freedom.
Again, it’s an individual choice for women or men to do WHATEVER they want, regardless of their sexes. It’s not anybody’s freaking business and stop commenting “Because you’re a woman.” Go find a time machine and go back to 1900 and please make sure you were not born.
I am not an extreme feminist. I still accept the fact that women tends to be better for being a home maker and men are better for being a bread winner. But again they are tendencies. Women are not supposed to be judged just because they don’t do what societies did or what societies asked them to do.
My mom is not a feminist. She once scolded me for letting Bandi do the dishes. Her exact quote was “You can’t let a man do the dishes. It’s your job.” And I told her “Why can’t I?” And when she replied “because he’s a man”, I didn’t even bother to argue.
Does washing dishes make Bandi less of a man? No. That makes him a GREAT MAN. He NEVER even once use the “because I am a man” or “because you’re a woman” sentence of our argument. We are equal. And that’s feminism for me. He’s not under me and I’m not under him. (Didn’t mean as a dirty pun though. XD)
I once argued with a friend who was insisting that man gets the last say in a relationship/marriage. She brought religion/culture/social aspects to the argument. I couldn’t say her argument was wrong, because even though I said it was wrong, it wouldn’t change anything. It’s up to individual preferences how they are going to do with their marriages. I won’t ask every woman to get the last say of everything. I don’t do that too. It’s not a matter of right or wrong, people! It’s a matter of equality. That women get a say too in everything. The last say would be for the one who is right, not the one who has the penis.
Some people say I’m too straight forward, some people say I’m honest. Well guess this is just the way I talk. I don’t use gimmicks.
Kartini said some very risky things back then in 1900’s. She was being honest, not only to society but also to herself. If she could, then any women in 2013 could! Don’t be scared! You’re not imprisoned in the kitchen anymore, women! Say what you want, do what you’re capable to do. Kartini is waiting for us somewhere above to high-five all of us. =)
May, Ready to high-five!