The Curious Case Of The (Mythical?) Feminist Indian Man

Have you met men who say they support feminism, however now women are taking it too far? Men who claim to be feminists? What do they typically say? How do you respond?

The one who does not see inequality!

I was attending an event organized for women to share their experiences in the outdoor space. At the end of the session, the host invited the audience for a question and answer session. Mr. Delusional (young man in the late 20’s) raised his hand, and commented that he has never seen inequality in his family or his hometown. He talked about how his brother ‘babysits’ his child, and his father cooks when his mother is sick.

Mind you, the session was not about abla naris or how women are suffering. It was a fun session with some successful women sharing their stories in their respective fields. But seeing women talk about their journey and challenges, he felt compelled to speak up on how he has NEVER seen the women in his life face any issues.




I wanted to ask the him how can a parent ‘babysit’ his own child. I wanted to ask him how is it ‘equality’ when his mother, the primary cook of the family gets a break only when she is physically unfit to do chores. I wanted to ask him if his brother should get an award for taking care of the child he has created? Or should his father be felicitated for being human enough to move when his wife is sick?

But this man lives in his own Utopia. The world is a perfect place for him. Inequality! What is that?! He asks with such supreme ignorance that you pinch yourself to check if you live on the same planet. You want to reason with him. But you resign to his stupidity.

He has seen the world. But he prefers to be blind. He probably believes in ‘Bura Mat Dekho’.

Tum ladki ko izzat doge to woh tumko apni izzat degi

(If you show some respect to a woman, she’ll willingly have sex with you!)

Mr. (Fake) Feminist must be in his late 30’s. I met him through common friends. We were added to a whatsapp group of vocal and opinionated writers. He had very progressive views on some of the topics we discussed within the group. I was impressed. Mr. FF asked me out. I happily agreed.

Mr. FF agreed with everything I said. I told him there is a gender pay gap. He agreed. I told him that men in India can be very judgmental and hypocritical. He agreed. Just to test him I said women should take over the world and take men as hostage. He said, “Absolutely” with a charming smile. He casually mentioned how he is all for ‘women empowerment’. He said he believes that female sexual liberalization is very important to facilitate the same. He added how ‘one-night stands’, ‘friends with benefits’ and other kinds of hook-ups give women choices.

By now I knew what was happening. He had no interest in what I was saying. He did not want any kind of conflict. The conversation, his stand on pertinent issues, everything, was a farce just to become likable enough to get laid.

He is the agreeer. He feels being a feminist raises his respect in the eyes of the woman he is trying to impress. Flirting was an old technique. He is completely up-to date with what he thinks women today want.

Yeh aurat hai kudrat ka anmol tohfa, yeh mamta ka sagar, mohabbat ka dariya

(Woman is a miracle of nature, a fount of motherly feeling, an ocean of love.)

Mr. Glorifier asked me my views on parenting. (We had met through a matrimonial website. So this stranger thought it was perfectly okay to discuss procreation on our very first meeting). He told me the following:

Ghar hamesha aurat ka hota hai. Aurat hi sabko welcome feel kara sakti hai. (The home is a woman’s domain. Only a woman can make everyone feel welcome.)

Poor guy! How can he make people feel welcome! He has never learned this! The woman he marries must have done a course in hospitality.

Ghar maid ke upar nahi chod sakte. Lady of the house ko to dekhna hi padta hai. (The maid cannot be given charge of the house. The lady of the house should do everything.)

I wonder what the man of the house does. Watch the ‘Lady of the house’ watch the staff?

Maa ka bond alag hi hota hai bachche se. Woh pyaar father chah kar bhi nahi sakta. (A mother’s love cannot be replicated by the father.)

Which pyaar can the father possibly not give? Breast milk?

He said that women are misled to aim for equality. Men and women are different and therefore there can be no equality. Plus, women are far superior as they give birth.

This man glorifies women to control them. He does not know that biologically men and women may be different but other than giving birth and breastfeeding there is nothing that men cannot do. It is the social conditioning that stops them, not biology. It is not like we cook or clean with our uterus.

The not-all-men crusader! Men are suffering too!

I was set up with Mr. Victim through a friend. He had already done a lot of ‘background research’ on me and read my blogs. I do applaud him for meeting with me despite knowing my views.

He said to me that my writing is biased. I asked him why did he say that. I spoke to him about a recent molestation incident in our city on New Year’s. I asked him if there were any two ways about it. Should I feel any differently about women getting molested?

I had opened a Pandora’s Box. He started giving me examples of how men are the true victims. It was as if a magician was removing one feather from his pocket one after the other.

My uncle’s wife used to hit him! He never divorced her because of the children.

My friend’ ex-wife filed a false dowry case against him.

My colleague got wrongly accused for sexual harassment at work.

He said that he feels deterred to be good, as being good does not pay off! Despite him being such a good man, women are so bad!

Aww!! Such a sweet guy he is! Why hasn’t anyone ever given him credit for being a good human being! The rest of us must be so naive to go about our lives being decent citizens not expecting anything from the universe in return!!

I told him that assuming the instances he mentioned are true, I do not support what the women did.

But how is this relevant when I am talking about women getting molested on New Year’s? Why is he shifting the focus from the topic? While it may be true that not all men harass women, yet all women have faced some kind of harassment at some point of time. We are now tired of it. And we do not want to pass on this legacy to our daughters and granddaughters. We want it to end. We are vocal about it. We want change.

Mr. Victim did not like the logic. His closing line, ‘Yes. I know. But men are also suffering!’

To all Delusional People, Fake Feminists, Glorifiers, And Not-all-men Crusaders

Your father may have never entered the kitchen. Whereas you make pasta every time you call your friends home.

Your father may not have fed you or helped you wear your uniform. But you dress up your son when your wife is away.

When your father went to work, there were very few Aunties at his workplace. But in your office, there are a lot of women. Some of them may even know about POSH.

I know that you have come a long way. You. The male. The privileged male. The benefits of patriarchy that you could have enjoyed still, may have been taken away from you. Sometimes you have supported it. Sometimes you have felt it became ‘too much’.

You are probably doing more than your counterparts in the previous generation. But that in no way means we have attained equality.

You fail us the moment you say ‘I am not saying women should get harassed BUT’. You fail us when you bring up male victims when we talk about our struggles. You digress from the topic. You make it a gender war. You in no way, are the feminist man. Your fragile ego should not get hurt. We can.

YOU my friend are the reason feminism is needed. Your ONLY contribution to feminism is adding fuel to the fire burning within us.

Header image is a still from the movie Qarib Qarib Singlle

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Comments

4 Comments


  1. Loved your words. I am sure we can easily add a few more to the list. The list of men choosing not to see what is going on around them. Being a “feminist man” is probably the in-thing now. But I am yet to meet someone who truly fits the bill.

    • Thank you so much Shakhi for your kind words! Yes they are way too common!! “But I am yet to meet someone who truly fits the bill.” – Very true. Relationship dynamics have changed but mindset has not.

  2. Hi Tanvi. I loved what you have written. Very well put and so true.

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