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A thoughtful post on society’s perception of feminism, the real meaning of being a feminist and musings on the general biases around it.
It’s not been long since I have been writing blogs and articles on issues related to ‘Feminism’, and have been labelled as a ‘Feminist‘ by most of my acquaintances. This also brought along with it a set of squabbles and altercations, raised eyebrows and of course, a lot of sarcasm and rancour! The bitterness in some of the sugar coated comments almost made me accept that I am a misogynist!
Merriam-Webster taught me the simplest definition of feminism, as the belief that men and women should have EQUAL rights and opportunities – A theory of the political, economic and social equality of sexes. As per the definition learnt, I assumed the world to be anything but sexist and misogynist.
How can society not demonstrate sexual equality when a person has no control over the probability of becoming a man or a woman? However, my ideology of the imprecise world did not last long. As I started growing up, the sexist and misogynist norms of the society started hitting me, making me almost believe that a heinous crime had been committed by becoming a woman; how could I miss going in for the BEST chromosomal match! Alas!
As a kid, gender inequality never affected me directly, thanks to my parents who are feminists and are proud being so. However, as I matured, patriarchal societal norms started becoming evident to me.
While a man can freely pee on the road, a pack of sanitary napkins is handled as a piece of radioactive substance by the shopkeeper, who wraps it in several layers of newspaper and packets, before handling it to a girl who asks for one (read it as whispers for one). This is crazy, both being biological functions – in fact you can control the urge of peeing for some time unlike bleeding!
Has any man ever felt scared to walk down the road – what if someone comes and grabs his crotch? I fail to understand why does a peek-a-boo of a woman’s bra strap raise so many eyebrows while at the same time, a man walking free in his undergarments has nothing to worry about! Although I could not find any reasonable logic to these misogynist norms, I did earn the title of being a ‘Feminist’ by raising my voice against most of these practices.
While I was looking for means to voice my opinion on these illogical and partial societal practices, I couldn’t help but notice the rise in the level of fake feminism in a society which just believes in spouting hatred against men.
The observation which is the most frustrating is the level of hypocrisy that persists among the so called intellectuals of the society. These intellectuals are so strong in their belief about equality already existing in the ‘modern’ Indian society, that they tout flaws in feminism.
I was talking to one of my male acquaintances the other day and the discussion swiftly shifted to the rise of feminism in this era. On being asked about his opinion, my friend was not hesitant to say that he recognizes himself more with gender-equality rather than feminism. This statement made me ponder over the contradictions in the actual essence of feminism and the colubrine image that it has gained in this era! Feminism is also seeking equality in the society.
Feminism raises its voice against the skewed sexist customs and practices and tries to eradicate them, it never seeks for a man to undergo all those customs. I tried talking about domestic violence with my friends and some of them did point out that men face it too (which is definitely true), but wait, do we just acknowledge the fact that men face it too and keep quiet?
As feminists we would rise against all domestic violence irrespective of the gender, rather than being content with the thought that men face it too! While a man can enter a religious place at any point of time, we raise our voice when a woman can’t enter the same place, as she is going through one of those days! Feminism seeks for the basic rights and equality in the society and should not be perceived as mean, for attaining privileges for the women folks!
I would request all of you reading my post to not agree or respect an argument just because it talks about women’s rights, but before arguing, it would be a good idea to contemplate on the topic from a woman’s point of view. Disempowerment of a woman may not affect you as you are born privileged, but all we expect of you, is, to join us in the fight for gender equality and not laud feminism as misandry!
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