Feminism or Inequality of Perception?

Personal Illustration: “Different eyes, different perceptions” — See more: www.hazza.design

One thing we know for sure… Feminism has been quite “the thing” in the past few years. It became more of a fashion rather than a well-arguemented & researched political movement we stand for.

Ok. Before you start judging me for being “one of those women who push other women down as they just want to stand out” (I’ve read those articles too, believe me and I can definitely sense a bit of extremism there) — getting your mindset in an extreme will lead to any person you talk to, resent you. This polarization leads to the opposite of what feminists (by definition) would stand for which is equality.

Claiming that 50% of our species (Sarcastic passage: men of course! — por favor! Women are perfect!) has unacceptable behaviours will not lead them to change their mindset. You will achieve the opposite of what you fight for.

Think of a child, whose parents tell him/her “You’re stupid! Why don’t you do more sports? Cannot you see that you’re so shit at it” — will NEVER lead your child to do more sports. Contrarily, it might create a trauma about sports and parenting which might mark him for the rest of his life. (read a bit of psychology to convince yourself)

But before all, let’s define this mystical and highly popular term Feminism:

As per Merriam Webster, a website highly trusted in defining words correctly, our term is defined as:

“the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”

So, let’s highlight the word equality. By my own definitions, equality of sexes means → men = women

Historically men and women have never been equal up to this moment due to the various mindsets adopted by country rulers, husbands, wives etc. Yes, women included too, they didn’t have the courage to stand up for themselves as much as social norms didn’t allow them to do so.

The fantastic book, Arguments by The School of life — starts by describing how this is the first time in history when a women disagreeing with her man will not be either decapitated or disconsidered in any conversation.

Equality has actually never been on the table. And even now, biologically the average woman will never be equal to the average man. Of course, a woman with higher testosteron levels will be more masculine than a man with higher estrogen levels. (read more about sex hormones) We actually live in a spectrum of genders which are the new normality — and I guess everyone who fights for gender related issues knows this.

But let me get my point straight — I have always believed in equality of opportunity more than equality of outcome, as this can almost never be achieved.

But a point I failed to consider was not the normal “gender equality” we all talk about, but the perception inequality. This is where the actual work has to be done.

But what do I mean by this?

Perception inequality = when the perception differs from person to person when it comes to the rights of women compared to men.

I listened to a song by Taylor Swift, a while ago: The Man. I was in a moment of anger and the rhythm felt right in the moment, but I haven’t paid too much attention to the lyrics. One day, I decided to dive into the story of this song and this passage marked me:

They’d say I played the field before
I found someone to commit to
And that would be okay
For me to do
Every conquest I had made
Would make me more of a boss to you

(…)

I’d be just like Leo, in Saint-Tropez

I thought it was an exaggeration.

But a year later, I found myself in a situation I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears — the song started to make sense.

I have always been the type of “mother”/”perfect wife” — type of girlfriend who would even lose 10 kgs to make her “husband” happy. This actually stems back from my childhood where the women in my family would do anything for the family and their men — typical to my culture, eastern European. Being only 19 when I started a more “serious” relationship, I didn’t read about relationships or how to “work on yourself” as I had no clue that it is actually a “science” itself.

So what did I do? I just imitated like a monkey what I saw around myself and took the type of behaviour I was used to seeing as the perfect behaviour. Little did I know this would lead to almost a self-sabotage of a relationship I invested all my heart in.

Before I dive into details, I want to point out that I have 0% negative feelings for my partner in that time and we ceased our connection because both of us had our fair share in the “breaking” of us. I take 100% ownership over what I did and I also don’t regret anything as I know I had the right to act upon my will, and I wouldn’t change anything.

What I want to highlight is my shock of the reaction of the friends we shared in common.

It was the first time in my life when I could feel the “inequality of perception” when it comes to women & men.

Long story short — both of us dated people either when we were still together and very soon after we broke up. We dated these people being in a consensual & non-consenual non-monogamous agreement (basically only one of us wanted non-monogamy) — which we know is a problem faced by most couples in the modern dating era. And this took too much of a hit on both of us, being unbearable for any of us to continue together as we suffered too much from jealousy and we didn’t want to let go of our external partners either. Was a tough way to end 2 years, but I guess each flower has a season to bloom in just as each person is more fitted to us at different stages in our lives.

Opposing to all the “breakup” stories where the partners end up hating each other, my anger popped up when I have heard what common friends (it was both men and women — I will not start blaming men in this article, I am pointing out the way equal actions are perceived in different ways) had described me as a “slut”, “heartless” ,”unempathetic” and “superficial” individual. I will be honest I was shocked and angry as hell.

All the 2 years of being together I was completely the “wife” prototype who was all about commitment and “working for it” — I was attracted to no other man. Call me “boring”, “too clingy”, “too affectionate” — but don’t you dare call me the ways you described me. In psychological terms, I am more of the “anxious” type — the last thing you will ever call an anxious person is “heartless”. I care about people sometimes more than I care about myself. (I’ve been working on it and I can tell I reached a great balance).

So, I realised one thing: the Taylor Swift song was completely right: when a man dates another woman while being in a relationship with another one he is a: baller, winner, conqueror, a catch etc. But when a women dates another men straight after a relationship she is described as: superficial, slut, “changes guys like socks” etc.

How great is this. And actually? I remember having this same mindset when I was 14 back then, seeing other girls dating many guys. They were “sluts” in my eyes.

This proves me that there is definitely an inequality of perception when it comes to women and men. In all societies & cultures — when it comes to work that is still and debatable but when it comes to “who is allowed to do what” — we need to work on that.

I absolutely don’t mean “men are dicks, they should change”.

What I mean is:

We need to adapt our morals, both women and men ( + any gender in between) to modern times. We need to stop throwing the blame on any action carried out by any human and start seeing the WHY behind actions.

The wonderful Esther Perel, points out how changing this perception is not only in the hands of men, but women too with standing up for themselves and not allowing anyone to call them a “slut”.

I guess we reached a point in this article where the term “feminism” took another shade… We talk about opening our mind and seeing the WHY behind any action. Not blaming, but understanding and then forgiving.

Thanking the people in our lives for playing such an important role in it, offering to be there for them when they need you and finding the people who see the best in you — is what we can do best right now.

Making peace with yourself. Because then, when you’re happy with yourself, you will stop adding judgmental “tags” to someone you don’t completely know.

That is when we will stop using the terms “I’m a feminist!” to make ourselves seem more educated than the average person we know.

We will stop saying “what defines us as elevated or more entitled” when we make peace with ourselves and we see everyone as simply:

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Hanna

Reflections, psychology, art, UX, UI Design & everything in between. 🌿 www.hazza.design