“Women are being targeted and pushed to extinction” – is that feminism?

"Women can do anything men can do but why would we want to? We aren't here to compete and compare, we are here to contribute uniquely to the web of life that is co-created between us all."

Feminism is a multifaceted and dynamic movement advocating for gender equality, challenging social norms and promoting women’s rights. Over the years, feminism has evolved, encompassing various perspectives and addressing a range of issues.

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Sheleana Aiyana, founder of RisingWoman en author of the book, Becoming the One, posted a though-provoking entry on Instagram that garnered comments from her community that challenged beliefs of the divine feminine, motherhood and ultimately – feminism.

At its core, feminism strives for equality between genders. It seeks to challenge and dismantle the structural, cultural and systemic barriers that perpetuate gender-based discrimination and oppression. Feminism advocates for dismantling gender stereotypes, promoting equal opportunities and ensuring that individuals of all genders can live their lives free from discrimination.

However, Sheleana, says feminism encourages women to operate like men but she doesn’t agree.

Not feminism, misogyny

“(It isn’t) feminism, it’s misogyny. Being equal doesn’t mean being the same. 9-5 work days, the Monday to Friday repetitive work weeks are all designed for the male hormonal rhythms that operate on a 24 hour cycle. Our hormones fluctuate daily and operate on a monthly cycle.

“Women are burnt out because they were sold the idea that it’s empowering to be a boss babe in the workplace but they didn’t factor in body literacy. If feminism isn’t feminine in nature, I don’t want it.

“There’s nothing disempowering about being barefoot and pregnant, about breastfeeding, bleeding or slowing down to honour our cycles. The current narrative needs to shift if women are ever to thrive collectively again. We need space to rest, to grow and nourish our babies, to reclaim our inner Matriarch and lead our families in wellness.

“Young women need role models to show them that their bodies are beautiful, that their innate power to nourish babies and birth are magic, that our gifts don’t make us weak. Yes, this matters even if they decide not to have babies. Living in a culture that pedestals, capitalistic ideals while shunning the most innate human rights, like being outside, having family and community and taking rest is pushing us towards extinction.

“Women can do anything men can do but why would we want to? We aren’t here to compete and compare, we are here to contribute uniquely to the web of life that is co-created between us all. When breastfeeding and periods are viewed as inconveniences, when heartbroken mothers are forced to put their 3 month old babies in daycare because there is no maternity leave, that is not the feminism I want. Am I grateful for the women who fought for our freedom? Absolutely. But the pendulum has swung out of balance. What we are experiencing now isn’t freedom, it’s a divorce from nature.”

Her followers were torn in two.

Can you have it all?

Her post sparked the question of why “hunters” are rewarded financially for their labour but “nurturers” aren’t? Julie Zorrilla said: “Our choice is to hunt or to be a slave. If the only way we can have independence is by taking on male roles… that is not feminism.”

Ruby de Bonnaire says feminism is “definitely not to blame for women having to go back to work with little babies. That’s patriarchy, capitalism and facism.”

Dr. Heidi Walrath says she would love to have the focus being on women, not so much as the function of a woman’s body for birth. “As a female who doesn’t want kids it’s tiring to see that the feminine empowerment is so tangled with birthing. I see that is a huge aspect but can we focus on feminine first. The energy of the womb doesn’t always need to include giving birth as it’s main focus.”

Dr. Claudia Consolati says she wish we didn’t have to find an enemy in “feminism”. It is often talked about without nuanced while it has a very complex history. “Second wave feminism [what is described here] was a necessary step to come out of an oppressed and subjugated position and find our voice, reclaim our sexuality and yes, also aim for equality, which is what made sense at the time. Not all of it was positive but I don’t see why we need to see the enemy in feminism and why we can’t just understand that we’ve evolved past some of it’s traditional messages.”

Sheleana also got slammed for using the words “barefoot and pregnant” and that is was used out of context.

What feminism’s principles and goals include is:

  1. Gender Equality – equal rights, opportunities and treatment. However, what her post suggests is can we all have equal rights, opportunities and treatment when we are biologically different than men? It challenges patriarchal systems that prioritise male power and seeks to dismantle gender-based hierarchies.
  2. Intersectionality – recognising that gender discrimination intersects with other forms of oppression, feminism embraces the concept of intersectionality. It acknowledges that individuals experience unique combinations of discrimination based on factors such as race, class, sexual orientation, ability and more.
  3. Empowerment and Autonomy – feminism strives to empower individuals to make autonomous choices regarding their bodies, careers, relationships and lives. It rejects the idea that societal expectations should limit a person’s potential or dictate their path.
  4. Challenging Gender Roles – feminism challenges traditional gender roles that restrict individuals to predetermined societal expectations. It promotes the idea that people should be free to express their gender identity without judgment or limitations.
  5. Advocacy for Women’s Rights – historically, feminism has been instrumental in advocating for women’s rights, including reproductive rights, access to education, economic opportunities and freedom from violence.

What the post highlights is: can we have it all? What do you think?

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