I am a feminist.
I have to be one.
My rationale is simple: Who else would protect your body, your passion, your value, and your believe if someone let you down because of your sex?
I am writing this not to compete which gender is better. I want to remind readers, if you try to resist our move using sex/race/religion as an excuse, you are hindering World from growing.
I am a Chinese-Indonesian Catholic woman, which makes me a triple minority in Indonesia. My identity as a woman is the most difficult challenge to protect because even my father/friends/lover could not defend my gender.
It has been 114 years we celebrate woman emancipation through Kartini’s day. Since then, women in Indonesia may go to school, love who they love, and express themselves freely. Yet the gender discrimination is still an alarming issue in Indonesia. Our opinions are overlooked and our bodies become men’s property.
Based on my own experience, searching an engineering job in Indonesia is not easy. There were a lot of vacancies attached with gender requirement. One time, I asked their reason for not recruiting girls to the job. Apparently, they are a lot of physical activities that are considered too dangerous for women. In my case, it was soldering. Despite of my professional experiences using soldering iron for 5 years more and capability to use baking technique as well, they still refused me to join because I do not meet their primary qualification: Gender. How funny reason I thought that women are always suggested to stay in the kitchen which contains equally dangerous utensils like hot pan and knives, but we are considered incapable to hold solder iron.
Being constantly cat-called is very often, but least considered as sexual harassment. The choice of our clothes and body type always become the fault: Whether it is too transparent, too shape-hugging, too much skin showing, too fat, too skinny, too much acne and so forth. While at the same time, we need to consider the cost and comfort in order to appear best at public.
Going out alone after 9 pm or gathering with male group always give us bad impression. If there is any rape incident, the woman will be blamed even though she is the victim. In our country, it seems easier to change woman’s appearance than man’s attitude.
There are a lot of more inspiring writing to justify how you as a woman should act in a male dominated society. From my side, these what make me survive:
Be Brave on Learning Something New
I faced a lot of man that scares me when I was about to try something that any woman never tried before. Normally, woman could be fired up and challenged to try without meticulous planning. At a situation like this, I usually learn the danger, practice how to avoid them and understand my limitation. If you have prepared this, your gender should be no longer your excuse from not trying. What are you waiting for?
It’s OK to have a Weakness but Stay Confident
Being a woman is not a weakness, but it is easier for people to believe that. That is why many people often identify gender as a weakness. Both man and woman have weakness. And you must learn what your weakness is: whether you are lacking of analyzing skill, communication skill, or computing skill. Those are the relevant weaknesses that you need to learn from yourself.
I have a good news, the more you practice, you can conquer those skills.
Protect and Support Your Sister/Girlfriends/Mother/Daughter
In a family, a father has the highest status. At least, that occurs in my country. Which means, Father’s decision is always considered valid and their arguments are the truest. That is why a man domestic abuse to his wife is often acceptable by their society and even by their wife. The worst part of it: the other women do not protect them and generate gossip about it instead.
Ladies, you do not deserve pain. You have permission to protect your body, opinion and dignity. It is time to realize, man is a human too. They make mistakes. You know what is right or wrong by yourself. And for other ladies, when you know someone experiences this, you should report it immediately and protect her. We are facing same problems everyday and we can fix it if we stick together.
Never Lose Faith, because You are About to Change the World 🙂
The company I am currently working, changed the gender requirement after recruiting me. They protect girl from body shaming. Now, I am always involved into a lot of great opportunities with feeling safe and happy.
If I can do it, so can you!