M 3 Gender Equality
𝐅𝐈𝐑𝐄 𝐛𝐲 𝐍𝐢𝐤𝐢𝐭𝐚 𝐆𝐢𝐥𝐥
𝑅𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑚𝑏𝑒𝑟 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑑𝑜
Gill talks about autonomy in this poem. When people oppress you and have prejudices about you, you have to rise above all that and prove who you are. There is nothing wrong with being you. You have to show how capable you are. Let no prejudices undermine your value.
Nikita Gill's poem "Fire" is a powerful and evocative exploration of the idea of inner strength and the ability to rise from the ashes of one's own struggles. The poem speaks to the resilience and power of the human spirit, and the ways in which we can use our own inner fire to overcome even the most difficult challenges. It encourages the reader to find their own inner strength and to use it to overcome whatever obstacles they may be facing.
When a couple of years ago a friend of mine from childhood, who’d grown into a brilliant, strong, kind woman, asked me to tell her how to raise her baby girl a feminist, my first thought was that I did not know. It felt like too huge a task. But I had spoken publicly about feminism and perhaps that made her feel I was an expert on the subject. I had over the years also helped care for many babies of loved ones; I had worked as a babysitter and helped raise my nephews and nieces. I had done a lot of watching and listening, and I had done even more thinking. In response to my friend’s request, I decided to write her a letter, which I hoped would be honest and practical, while also serving as a map of sorts for my own feminist thinking. This book is a version of that letter, with some details changed. Now that I, too, am the mother of a delightful baby girl, I realize how easy it is to dispense advice about raising a child when you are not facing the enormously complex reality of it yourself. Still, I think it is morally urgent to have honest conversations about raising children differently, about trying to create a fairer world for women and men. My friend sent me a reply saying she would ‘try’ to follow my suggestions. And in rereading these as a mother, I too am determined to try.
What joy. And what lovely names: Chizalum Adaora. She is so beautiful. Only a week old and she already looks curious about the world. What a magnificent thing you have done, bringing a human being into the world. ‘Congratulations’ feels too slight. Your note made me cry. You know how I get foolishly emotional sometimes. Please know that I take your charge – how to raise her feminist – very seriously. And I understand what you mean by not always knowing what the feminist response to situations should be. For me, feminism is always contextual. I don’t have a set-in-stone rule; the closest I have to a formula are my two ‘Feminist Tools’ and I want to share them with you as a starting point. The first is your premise, the solid unbending belief that you start off with. What is your premise? Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not ‘if only’. Not ‘as long as’. I matter equally. Full stop. The second tool is a question: can you reverse X and get the same results? For example: many people believe that a woman’s feminist response to a husband’s infidelity should be to leave. But I think staying can also be a feminist choice, depending on the context. If Chudi sleeps with another woman and you forgive him, would the same be true if you slept with another man? If the answer is yes, then your choosing to forgive him can be a feminist choice because it is not shaped by a gender inequality. Sadly, the reality in most marriages is that the answer to that question would often be no, and the reason would be gender-based – that absurd idea of ‘men will be men’, which means having a much lower standard for men. I have some suggestions for how to raise Chizalum. But remember that you might do all the things I suggest, and she will still turn out to be different from what you hoped, because sometimes life just does its thing. What matters is that you try. And always trust your instincts above all else, because you will be guided by your love for your child. Here are my suggestions: