Women take a stand
FEMINISM is alive and well, boldly declares the subheading of the FeministsSA.com website.
The site hosts posts from various contributors who are either self-described feminists or those who simply want to share their views on the subject.
One of these contributors is Athambile Masola, a Cape Town high school teacher with a master of education degree from Rhodes University.
Masola also runs her own blog the Xhosa word for “a sacred place in the homestead where the family meets and communes with the ancestors”, according to the author.
The 26-year-old identified herself as feminist and said the movement was more relevant now than ever before. “We may have the same rights as men on paper, but the lived experience is still very different.
“We live with the illusion that because the paper revolution has happened we can rest, but the real work of feminism has just begun.”
If the internet is anything to go by, it appears millions around the world agree with Masola despite many attempts to declare feminism a thing of the past.
Search results bring up many blogs about gender justice.
Twitter accounts like the United States-based Feminist Hulk have followers that number in the tens of thousands. For the most part, as a lot of feminist women might tell you, feminism is seen as a bad word.
Last week, a 17-year-old British student wrote in The Guardian newspaper about the negative experience she had in establishing a feminist society at her school.
“A group of men in a car started wolf-whistling and shouting sexual remarks at my friends and me.
“I asked the men if they thought it was appropriate for them to be abusing a group of 17-year-old girls.
“The response was furious. [They] started swearing at me, called me a bitch and threw a cup of coffee over me,” she wrote.
This is the kind of abuse Lebohang Masango, another self-described feminist, said needs to stop before we even begin to think that feminism is no longer necessary.
“I see feminism as politics that elevates love, justice and equality for all human beings.
“It looks at marginalised human beings and, because of patriarchy, women are largely marginalised.
“But if you are a feminist, I believe that you are fighting for social justice for everyone because, as a woman, you have a spouse, you have children, friends and family.”
Masango, 24, also runs a blog of her own where she posts issues she is passionate about, feminism included.
“Feminism works in all our lives. What makes me, specifically, a feminist is I notice how patriarchy works, and it doesn’t sit well with me.
“One can easily say something like street harassment is just men being silly, but that is patriarchy at work because it tells you that women are there to be sexually objectified at a man’s pleasure. ”–
SOCIAL JUSTICE: Lebohang Masango says patriarchy marginalises women and is apparent in the harassment of women on a daily basis