It is a complex business being a woman, that much is a tired truth. The feeling of being caught in limbo between a reality that truly embraces equality and one that simply says it does is disorientating to say the least. In order to dissect the a society that limits women in a modern context, I believe there is one prerequisite understanding: radicalism in this day and age isn’t radical at all.
To be radical in the past has largely been a vocal act, given the harsh cruelty often witnessed in response. It started with the altering of harmful narratives, “women are weaker,” “less capable” etcetera etcetera. That change was and is still necessary but the agency individuals now have stretches far wider, beyond black squares and purple icons on social media.
The wider understanding of activism must expand as limitations towards it have retracted. That is to say that if everyone were only to agree that women deserve equality, it would not mean much if nobody is willing to make nuanced changes in the redrafting of society, in order to make the sentiment tangible.
The obstacle to a world in which we make empathy radical again is the moderate. The person who agrees with equality when asked but lives as though that was the full extent of what is required; follows the same eat-work-sleep repeat, as though the thought of agreeing was enough. The subtleties of their sexism rise to the surface when prompted but largely remain subdued in order to exist without too much confrontation.
There unfortunately isn’t a school of unlearning and so many wonder through life giving palatable responses to political discussion without ever doing the work to change themselves or others or more importantly...systems.
In light of Zozibini Tunzi’s call for young girls to “cement themselves” in space and the legacy of Charlotte Maxeke that we commemorate this year, it feels right to discuss the intricacies of modern day feminism. This is not only a criticism of it but a call to do more, whatever that looks like for you.