Feminism. You hear that one word and immediately thousands of stereotypes pop into your mind: ugly, hairy, whiny misandrist women – to name a few. The truth is feminism means seeking true equality with men in every sense. This means closing the gender pay gap, equalising the number of women CEOs and ultimately making women feel empowered and proud to be as they are.
Throughout history women have been seen as below men, subservient to them – but why? Sociologist Stephen Goldberg suggested that men are naturally more competitive than women because of their high level of testosterone. This makes them aggressive and power-hungry, so that they inevitably take over the high status positions in a society, leaving women to more subordinate roles. However psychologist Steve Taylor suggests there is a deeper reason for this and that particularly in previous centuries, men viewed instincts and sensual desires as base and sinful. “Men associated themselves with the “purity” of the mind, and women with the “corruption” of the body. Since biological processes like sex, menstruation, breast-feeding and even pregnancy were disgusting, women themselves disgusted them too.” These processes are nothing to be ashamed of. They are all natural and human. What if men went through all of these processes too – would they still be so terrible? I think not.
Man as a species strives for power and uses it to their advantage in any way. Men are genetically ‘stronger’ than women and they have exploited this. It is now a mind-set that men should not cry or even sit with their legs crossed because it’s ‘girly’. It is okay for men to do these things. After all they’re only human too.
So how do we challenge this mind-set? How do we ensure that this stigma is ended?
We look to Islam to empower us women as we should be! There are many stereotypes associated with women within Islam. However, none of those ring true for the true Islam that was bought to Arabia at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Islam came about at a time when in Arabia woman had virtually no rights, they were sold as wives in order to make business deals and daughters were buried alive in shame. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) changed this and showed the illiterate people what truly the status of woman was:
He has created you from a single being; then of the same kind made its mate.
Women are shown as no different to men in the Quran so why is this not followed by Muslim men and society today? The principles behind these teachings are so clearly guided and beautiful.
Men shall have the share of what they have earned, and women shall have the share of what they have earned. And ask Allah of His bounty. Surely, Allah has perfect knowledge of all things.
This verse also indicates the level of prestige a woman has in Islam. Today is the day of the Woman, celebrate it and be proud of all you are!