Image courtesy: ideasevolved.com

Lately, I’ve been asked more and more why I’m a feminist. “Do we even need feminism?” they ask.

They think feminism is about women becoming better than men. They think feminists are angry at men for their privilege (sometimes that’s true). They allege it’s time for a men’s rights movement to counter feminism, since some feminist measures have appeared to succeed in levelling the playing field. In some cases, women do appear to fare better than men – for example, they tend to show better educational results in their educational career than men.

However, women and their issues in Pakistan are still vulnerable: acid throwing, child marriages, honor killing, rape cases, poor basic educational and health rights, limited jobs, and lots more.

As if that isn’t enough, here are 78 other reasons to be a feminist!

1.     Lists like this one are apparently necessary.

2.     Men make more money than women at workplaces even if they are hired for the same designation.

3.     Mothers are less likely to be hired than fathers. Mothers are seen as a risk – she might take days off for the kids – while fathers are seen to be hard-working family men.

4.     Women who report sexual harassment in the workplace are seen as “prudes”. 

5.      We’re still held to “lady-like” standards at home and work – no such standard is a barrier for men. It’s funny when men fart, burp, or scratch their private parts in public, but disgusting when women do it.

6.     I don’t want my little sister to be treated like I’ve been treated at my workplace.

7.     “You’re emotional” is a way to undermine women’s passionate opinions, even when passion is seen as a positive in men.

8.     We are not an interest group.

9.     Girls are still told “It means he likes you” when boys hit them. Violence is touted as flattery.

10. Men get courtesies like “sir,” while women are called “sweetie” in the same situations. (I’ve been called “dear”, or “sweetheart,” in job interviews with men – I doubt they would use the same names for male interviewees.)

11. Women who keep their maiden name after the wedding have to justify it for the rest of their lives. Men aren’t asked to change their identity just because they get married.

12. “Miss” and “Mrs.” define women by their marriage status. Men just use “Mr.” their whole life.

13. Thinspiration.

14. Coming out as LGBT or their allies can be scary.

15. No one should have to wait to start their career until their kids have grown up.

16. Women still aren’t widely accepted to serve on the fronts in the military, even if they are capable and willing.

17. Preventative reproductive healthcare for women is constantly under siege in politics, but men have autonomy over their bodies and medical decisions.

18. A woman should be able to make choices (or mistakes) without fearing it’ll look bad on all women. Men don’t worry about making all of mankind look bad.

19. Men openly comment on a woman’s sexual appetite or ability based on her appearance. For instance, I have overheard a conversation between male colleagues about a female obese co-worker that constantly fields questions about her sexual prowess.

20. Strangers tell women to smile.

21. “Slut” and “whore” are considered insults, because it’s shameful to be a sexual woman.

22. As the only woman in a meeting, you’re expected to be the secretary.

23. People think a woman dating a successful man must be a gold-digger looking for someone to take care of her.

24. I’m tired of being afraid to walk alone at night. I don’t want my sister to be afraid.

25. People still think joking about rape is funny.

26. People think it’s okay to deface feminist messages with anti-woman jokes.

27.  A woman is expected to give up everything for her husband’s career or be deemed selfish. However, a woman who accepts her husband’s help in her career is seen as weak and incapable.

28. International talk shows and magazines instruct women on how to turn keys into a weapon in parking lots. Being a female should not mean I need to arm myself.

29. Women should not have to choose between getting married or pursuing education.

30. Saying “I don’t want kids” is met with “You’ll change your mind, when you meet the right man.” Men who don’t want kids don’t have to face any backlash.

31. Women are expected to tidy communicational spaces at work and school after men leave the room.

32. Online men will attempt to silence an opinionated woman by describing graphic rape.

33. I’m tired of people telling me I should be flattered by catcalling. It’s not flattering, it’s annoying at best and sometimes downright frightening.

34. If you are smoking in public it is seen as a invitation for men. 

35. Women who are unsure about marriage are seen as mentally ill and strange. Men who feel the same way are considered perfectly normal.

36. I want to see more women who look like me in the media – and not have them regulated to just being the funny fat friend.

37. Victim blaming is still acceptable.

38. Some men talk trash about women who have given birth, because it “ruins” their body.

39. In order to not intimidate men, women are advised to hide their professional achievements.

40. I’m told I can’t do things because I’m a girl.

41. Overweight women are compensated less than slim women, even though overweight men are compensated more than slim men.

42. People still think it’s acceptable to tell “make me a sandwich” jokes.

43. After spending a lot in a boutique, the cashier offers to throw away the receipts so “your boyfriend/husband won’t know how much you spent.”

44. People demand to know what last name you’ll give your non-existent future child if you possibly decide not to change your name after your hypothetical future wedding.

45. No one should be stereotyped because of their body. Including men.

46. Being assertive doesn’t make me “ballsy,” since assertiveness doesn’t come from testicles.

47. Men (yes, even young men) still complain that women in the workplace “make the office no fun” because they can’t make sexist, racist or explicit jokes anymore – because women complain. Damn right I will, because it’s more fun for me to work someplace where I feel safe.

48. “Feminism” is apparently a dirty word.

49. Even women can be chauvinists, and don’t realize how they are hurting themselves and other women in their lives.

50. The term “career woman” is still in usage, even though no one says “career man”.

51. Sports shouldn’t be a “man’s world”, on the field, in the stands, or for journalists.

52. Despite being against law, women are still asked in job interviews if they plan on having children. They are then negatively judged for their answer either way.

53. When I wear my traditional clothes (Shalwar Kameez) at the grocery store (or on my way back home from work), men comment, “Thank God you’re dressed like a real woman, not like all these career women around.” Sorry bud, I am a “career woman”. I’m dressed this way for work.

54. Courses and seminars on dressing appropriately for work are aimed towards women, as if men never dress inappropriately for the office.

55. We try to “fix” ourselves instead of rebelling against impossible standards.

56. Media for women makes them feel angry, ashamed and depressed after just three minutes of viewing.

57. Jokes are made when female babies are born – “Oops, better luck next time.” – while giving birth to boys is a cause for celebration.

58. Being referred to as a “little lady”, even when making large purchases such as a car, is not cute.

59. It’s not a walk of shame – it’s a stride of pride.

60. We’re told by career advisers that certain aspirations aren’t for women – “They only send men overseas in the business world.”

61. People would always ask my mom how her husband was before asking how she was. It made me angry every time.

62. No one should be surprised that a woman who wears lipstick is a scientist.

63. “Feminine washes” shouldn’t exist. They’re harmful and prey on insecurity.

64. Women are told they have “too many opinions” to successfully get a man.

65. In my industry (media), spokeswomen are always called “Lady Reporters”.

66. Women (and girls) won’t go in public without cosmetics because they’re so afraid of being judged for their natural face.

67. “Playing like a girl” is considered an insult to boys and men.

68. “Pretty good, for a girl” is supposed to be a compliment.

69. I still am expected to apologize for taking up space sometimes.

70. Women are told to “man up” but men aren’t told to “woman up”.

71. Girls are encouraged to start dieting at a very early age.

72. Birth control is considered optional, but Viagra isn’t.

73. Most movies fail the Bechdel Test, where the only requirement is for at least two named female characters talk to each other once about anything other than sex and relationships.

74. Since I wear bows and high heels, people are surprised I’m a feminist.

75. Voicing these complaints is met with accusations of whining, defensiveness, or indifference.

76. I want to reclaim public spaces.

77. I don’t want to be judged if I want to pursue my career instead of getting married.

78.  I want men to to help with the household and kitchen work as well.

I’m sure I’ve missed many other points.