Shining Feminism Light Bright for Future Generations

Shining Feminism Light Bright for Future Generations

Everyone has her own epiphany and so did I. 

Throughout my childhood, I remember dozing off as my parents would read to me bedtime stories each night. With each word read and each page flipped, the fanciful wonderland in my mind would once again come alive. Overtime, as if it was the work of pixie dust, these fairy tales painted me a world of pink, enabling me to wander to “once upon a time” lands and lose track of time – and reality. “A woman has only 2 jobs in life: be beautiful and marry well” was the message I perceived through such stories, but it could not have been any further from the truth. 

I was observant even as a child so it did not take me long to notice that during every family gathering, my sister and I were complimented for our looks, whereas my brother was praised for his intelligence and strength. As greedy as I was, it did not satisfy me. How come I am not flattered for my wit? With much anticipation for their admiration, I told everyone that my dream job was to become a politician but was only left with disappointment and disbelief when they laughed and said “Everyone knows that women cannot work for the government.” Their words crushed my dream but at the same time awakened me, igniting my passion to advocate for gender equality. 

Can women vote during presidential elections? Do they have the choice to freely choose their career and spouse? Are they given the right to pursue a higher education? Yes, yes, and yes. Nowadays, women can enjoy the same privileges that men have thanks to the sacrifices made by our past feminists though hundreds of years from now, the answer to all those questions would have been a resolute no. It is no wonder that women had been previously controlled by men for as long as humans have existed. For centuries, they were held captive at home, silenced by men, and viewed as merely possessions of their husbands. 

Did we stay quiet about it for long? Heck no! 

The first wave of feminism was sparked in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, marking the beginning of a series of protest that would soon follow it. The popularity of the movement surged like none had witnessed before as crowds of proud women poured out into the streets with their big signs and banners, shouting the slogan “the personal is political” aloud with each step they took. That event is known today as suffrage, a decades-long fight to win the right to vote for women in the United States. 

But do not rest on your laurels because the fight has only begun. 

In her article, titled “The South Korean Men Waging a Vulgar and Violent War against Feminists,” Thaïs Chaigne informs her reader about the maltreatment feminsts are encountering daily in South Korea, explaining, “Feminism, often confused with misandry in South Korea, is the arch-nemesis of the country’s ‘masculinist’ groups.” Admittedly, this common misconception surrounding feminism has sparked controvery globally, especially among the South Koreans. Contrary to this belief, the true goal of feminism is completely different. Feminism’s mission is to bring justice for each and every gender. In actress Emma Watson’s speech at the HeForShe United Nations campaign in 2014, she stated, “For the record, feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” Her claim consolidated the definition of feminism as well as made people realize that promoting feminism is for the better of our society as a whole. 

In many conservative parts of the world, women continue to be oppressed by men, and with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the problem was exacerbated. More female students are forced to drop out of school, the rate of domestic abuse skyrocketed, and the heavy burden of the majority of job losses also fell on the shoulders of our fellow female workers. The list seems endless…

Stories of citizens dying and suffering in Afghanistan flooded the news every day but what remains hidden from the public is that the list of rights of the Afghan women is becoming shorter and shorter day by day. The conquest of the Afghans by the Taliban has pushed hundreds of thousands of women back to their “right” palace in the kitchen. 

Numerous women are in critical situations. Some are beaten up. Many are left unemployed. And countless are threatened. This is not the time we complain or point fingers. Like author Rashia Costa once said, “Words are from the lips, actions are from the heart.” So let’s take actions – say YES to feminism! – for that is our key to unlock the door to a brighter future for our girls and women. The past is another world and so is the future. In our hands, we possess the most valuable asset one could own – the decision to change the world for better or for worse. The clock is ticking away as you are hesitating to make your final decision. Now, it is your turn to choose – will you be the hero?

I am La Le Quynh Anh, a 13-year-old girl, borned and living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. At the age of 10, I first learned about gender inequality when I read a newspaper article about a woman who was terribly beaten up by her husband during their quarrel. I was frustrated by how some people are not able to control their anger. However, I grew more furious reading the hate comments not towards the husband but rather the wife for being “annoying.” Since then, I started noticing and paid more attention to the problems concerning gender inequality around me. I love my country but I have to admit that sexism is still a huge problem here. In Vietnam, men still have the most power in the family and you would rarely hear of a woman who worked in the government. But on the bright side, changes are slowly happening and I also want to help contribute to the fight against gender inequality. Like Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Therefore, I want to work together with girls and women worldwide to make a difference in the world. And I hope that through SHEQUALITY, not only my voice but also other women’s voices will be heard to a wide range of audience.