News from Kayan Feminist Organization

♀Portraits: Shirin

Shirin Batshon Coordinator of Kayan’s Legal Department

“There are big expectations from women: they are supposed to be good mothers, good wives, good cooks, good housekeepers and good in managing the domestic budget. I remember struggling since the age of eighteen. I never accepted this form of discrimination between men and women. I believe that feminism really did help me in that sense. It did give me a lot of power to abandon barriers that society had imposed upon me as a woman. It was exactly those barriers that made me become a feminist (…) I was different. I cannot even explain. I just had it from inside. I developed different rules for myself. For a long time I didn’t think about it in terms of feminism but rather in terms of equality and personal need. For me, I didn’t care if all the women in the family were meant to be treated in a specific way. I didn’t care about it (…) ‘Feminism’ is a very sophisticated term; and if you are not exposed to it you wouldn’t use this kind of language. Even if you’re not exposed to it, you can do many ‘feminist things’. I was exposed to the term as such only at university. Later on, working and being an activist in a feminist organisation naturally had an impact on me. Feminism means free choice and equality of opportunity for me, personally. Feminism gives me power but it also puts me into a position that conflicts with my surroundings and results in different dilemmas. It means to choose freely whatever I want to do, where and how. Sometimes I can understand if women do not live a feminist life style. This can come from a place of lack of awareness. Also it might be a form of self-protection because it can be too painful to know that you might not be able to achieve those changes, you might doubt that you can be strong enough to make them – so this way is much easier. Of course that doesn’t mean that these women are less happy than me – I don’t claim to be more happy than they are. In fact, my way of living means constant struggling in a sense. Not only are you living life which is a tough task by itself but you live it in a certain way and this is the hard part, especially when being situated in the mainstream of society. You need to be very self-confident in order to do so. And able to say ‘well, for me this is fine’. That still doesn’t mean that it is an easy task.”

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This entry was posted on February 1, 2012 by in Featured Article, General News.
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