What Is Feminism? Some FAQ

Posted: February 18, 2014

“Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”
– Pat Robertson

(Marion Gordon “Pat” Robertson is an American media mogul, executive chairman, and a former Southern Baptist minister, who generally supports conservative Christian ideals).

The word feminism evokes strong, and often, negative reactions. Some women pride themselves in saying they are feminists while some shy away from doing so. Some call themselves feminists but clarify that they do not hate men! Some say they believe in gender equality but they are not feminists.

What exactly is feminism?

Feminism believes in equal rights in social, political, economic or any other areas that creates gender imbalance. Any situation that raises gender or sexuality-based injustice, it becomes a feminist issue. In simple terms, telling a boy ‘not to play with dolls’ or ‘don’t cry like a girl’ is against feminist ideologies. The basic notion of feminism is that men and women should have a level playing field. Making any bias based purely on gender, not considering individual capability is termed gender bias.

Feminism is anti-patriarchy. In patriarchy, a male figure is at the authority of social, political or economic vertical. A woman is a man’s (father, brother and son) responsibility. Patriarchy is when women cannot inherit the title and property of family. This makes women lesser than men just because of her gender. Feminism opposes everything that patriarchy preaches. And this is the reason why patriarchal men and women with conservative ideas are anti-feminists.

Only men are not responsible in making a patriarchal family/society. Women are equally responsible. Bringing up daughters to only cook and clean is patriarchy. Providing lesser educational opportunities to daughters is patriarchy. Bringing up daughters to share equal responsibility and sons to respect women is feminism. If a man fights for equal rights, he too is a feminist. If a man brings up his daughter considering her equal to his son, he is following feminist ideologies.

Feminist movements fight for rights of women and empowering women to help them make informed decisions about their life. They fight for equal rights of women to education, marriage, employment and their own body. Feminists fight for championing causes like gender discrimination, equal pay in workplaces, prevention of marital rape, sexual violence against women, reproductive rights, commodification of women and many such.

Feminism is asking for equality, not hating men! Blame it on media to have maligned the notion of feminism. There is nothing negative about being a feminist. A feminist loves his/her spouse, probably much more because of the freedom and respect in their marriage. A feminist loves his/her children equally without being partial to sons or daughters.

Where do I stand?
“If women want rights more than they got, why don’t they just take them, and not be talking about it.”
― Sojourner Truth (A women’s right activist)

I was brought up with feminist ideologies. While growing up, I was told I could reach and achieve whatever I want. My husband and I both have a say in everything that happens in our family. Our daughter is being brought up the same way too. We are all flexible because of the security and freedom that we provide each other. I am not a feminism activist; I don’t go out to demand and champion feminist issues. But I know my rights. I try to seek and create gender equality in whatever way I can within my limits.

I found good answers to two most commonly asked questions for any feminism related topics. I leave you with the below.

1. “Inequality happens to men too.. Patriarchy affects men too..” What wrong with this statement?

2. Why are you concentrating on topic X when topic Y is so much more important?

Pic credit: FeministsforObama 

Divya is a firmware coder(software in broader terms) by interest. She is currently working,

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