I am writing to you from the XXI century, the one in which we all placed our hopes and thought that it would be much better and more just in many ways. Not only that 2020 did not bring us what we hoped for, but it also brought us a new, strange virus that would just not go away. Don’t worry, the virus will not be the topic of this letter. I would like to tell you that I am very worried about women’s rights, and being women’s, it means that they are also human’s rights. Why, you are asking. Well, do you know that in the moments of great crisis, women’s rights are questioned and very often regressed. With the economical, and sanitary crisis the unemployment and social problems will follow. And throughout the history, whenever something similar happened, women were the first one that had to give up many things.
I want to tell you that there is fire in me that only gender equality can extinguish. What do you say mom? I’ll wait? Maybe I will, but I will no longer do nothing! I am filled with anger when I think that today millions of girls around the world do not go to school. And many more girls than boys. And, mom, you might think that it does not concern us, because that is not the case in Serbia or of Europe. Maybe our girls go to school, mom, but when they grow up, do they do unpaid housework as much as their husbands? Are they as much bosses as their husbands? Do they equally take care of their children?
What do you say, that story about equality is nonsense? How come you don’t believe that equality between genders should exist, you who didn’t have it and who visibly suffered because of it? You who were returning from work to do the housework, to do the whole job of raising children, without much, not to say, any help. You didn’t reluctantly accept washing, ironing, dusting while dad was sleeping or watching football. You were dissatisfied, sometimes grumpy and who could blame you for that today!
And listen to me saying without help… It’s not about a man helping a woman, my dad helping you, my husband helping me, it’s about housework and raising children being equally divided. Neither the children nor the house are yours alone or his. They are equally yours. What do you say? He won’t know as well as you? He doesn’t know well enough to do boring, unpaid work like you do? Your anger did not teach me that mom! I didn’t look at your tears to swallow my own now!
What I don’t understand now is why you are blindly sticking to tradition when you yourself preached to me that I should be an independent woman. ‘’Always have your money in your wallet!’’, you used to say all the time.
Feminism is not there to destroy men, mom, feminism is there to prevent patriarchy from oppressing, humiliating women, considering them inferior, less valuable, and even killing them. No, I’m not exaggerating! Do you know that every single day 137 women are killed?! Most of that violence happens in their own homes! Likewise, street violence is much greater against women than against men. Are you equally scared, Mom, for me and my brother? Who do you think more of when we go out at night? Especially when I put on a mini skirt?
Feminism, Mom, is not an ugly word. Feminism is not a curse. Feminism is a movement that fights for men and women to have the same rights. And it is the most peaceful movement in history so far. Don’t you want the same rights for me and my brother? Let me explain. This means that my brother and I can have the same salaries if we are in the same job positions, it means that we can reach those positions in the same ways and that we have equal chances for it. It also means that scientists will be more interested in diseases related to the female body and will probably find solutions. That means, Mom, that you could have endured menopause more easily, if only there were more women in science!
I agree with you that then another name could have been given to this movement. Humanism would fit it well. However, you know, there are certain differences between gender equality and feminism. The word feminism means more a movement in which each party finds a corresponding role for them. Whatever they want! Gender equality means rather that there are already predefined roles and that we should stick to those and enable the equal rights for them. Feminism questions those roles on a deeper level. But in the end, it is up to us to have our own definition.
That’s why I’m going to write you letters, Mom. I will write to you about feminism, about everything I learn about it, because I feel that I need to be educated on that topic. And not just me, but you, and everyone around us: dad, aunt, my husband, my brother, my neighbor and your neighbor. This is not a question of women, this is a question of all of us.