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Feminism is one of the most wrongly understood concepts in our society. Author Shilpee Prasad wants to shout out the true meaning of feminism to the world.
It was my first talk session. My heart was throbbing loud enough to be heard a mile away. I would have wobbled, but then I saw him gazing at me intently. His confidence washed my stage fright. I introduced myself as a feminist. (Related read: What is a feminist?) I noticed that change in everyone’s expressions – disappointment. I did not wanted to bore them with lectures about liberating women. So I thought to make it conversational. I asked them about their idea of feminism. Their thoughts barely touched the reality I know.
According to them, “Men haters, Bindi and Saree lovers, Fighting for the rights of women, Member of some NGO fighting for dowry victim.” To top it all, a girl offered me the number of her aunt who was fighting for women’s rights. There was more to it. Another boy pitched in, “Woman who shouts on road every now and then, flying hoardings to kill rapists. They are feminists.” I interrupted him, “In that case you should become a feminist too. Fighting for right is right.”
He mumbled, “But I am a man, feminists are women.” I cleared my throat, “Any person who fights for gender equality, who believes that men and women are equal individuals, who does not discriminate between the girl and boy child, who does not kill girl fetus in womb, who embraces his/her daughter the same as a son, who feels the dreams and desires of woman should not be mutilated to keep the men’s alive is a feminist.” I stopped, breathing heavily.
The room was silent. I questioned them, “So, what do you think is the opposite of feminism?” One girl said, “Anti-feminist. Female hater. Patriarchy.” “A feminist is a person who believes in the equality of human beings. Male, female and others. Everyone has a right to live and access the nature as their will. Feminists are no man haters, bra-burners, men abusers or attire identifiers. In fact, we all love the man in our lives be it father, husband or son,” I added.
Now I could see confused faces. One of the girls asked, “So you mean, doing nothing, without helping any underprivileged woman, you can be a feminist.” I smiled and then said, “No, not without doing anything. The work starts from home. Get the girl child educated. Accept her choices. Do not mock her if she fails. Failure is an integral part of human life. Do not mould her as a perfectionist. Let them learn to adjust, but not compromise.
Teach your son to respect women at every stage of their lives. Teach him to accept their choices. Make them learn to adjust with the circumstances. Let them cook and help in house chores. And most of these they will learn by absorbing the family and surroundings. This is my idea of a feminist.”
The room was struck dumb. I knew it was too much for the first session. This workshop was going to have a long run.
Yes, I am a feminist and I proudly flaunt it nowadays. People smile amusingly, arrogantly, mischievously or some, unknowingly. I know within, most of them have not unveiled the true meaning of this word. And that is why I am here, to let the world know – we are not opportunists, but believers in equality.
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A feminist physically and mentally, Professionally an engineer and a homemaker, emotionally a blogger and
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