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Interchanging the word ‘feminist’ with ‘feminazi’ is quite a common trend today. Isn’t it time we bade farewell to assuming that feminism is a privilege?
Working in the space of women and rights, the biggest challenge I have faced is having to justify my “neutrality” for the sexes. Some of the most common questions I am asked as a trainer for prevention of sexual harassment (POSH) are –
“What about the male victims?” or “what do you think of the misuse of the women specific laws?”
As a trainer and awareness expert for prevention of sexual harassment at workplace, I am often looked at as a crusader for women rights. That is great because I am exactly that and much more.
But the problem comes when the context of every spoken word is weighed, scraped and juxtaposed in light of the false cases of rape, sexual harassment and other sexual crimes against women which entailed male victimisation.
It is here that I often end up justifying that I am all for the due process of law, against media trials and a thorough supporter for gender neutral laws of sexual crimes (which includes not only men but also transgenders and others). Shamefully, I begin my march of speaking up for all that I stand for, in order to justify my feminist ideology, having to heavily justify why women need specific legislations, as if it’s something to be apologetic for.
We live in a time where feminism and feminazi are used as interchangeable terms. The use of terms that convert the movement for women empowerment into extreme militancy in order to reject the movement altogether.
This is indeed a sombre example of diverting the attention from the real problems that exist in the society. And highlighting protests by women rights supporters as mob lynchings. It is that or sensationalising and wrongly adducing the news of repealing “Adultery” as a move which allows women to have sexual relations outside of marriage.
Women are speaking up, sure, but the voice is often ignored or quipped as being one of a “bra-burning feminist“. The debate has shifted from the violence against women by men, to the harassment faced by men at the hands of conniving, vengeful and vindictive women.
This antithetical thought process continues to be justified in light of “bra-burning feminists” that are ‘supposed’ to have, in their limited purview, overtaken our land of values and traditions.
Apropos, women are making a hue and cry for something as “little as being disallowed for entering a temple”. In this tug of war, the essence of the problem remains unabated and this seems to the undercurrent in our country – to quip everything and anything that involves “rights” as mere hue and cry.
Conveniently enough, people often forget to read the news of women being raped every minute of the day. I do not even blame them because, we have developed a defence mechanism to harrowing news and articles that describe acts of sexual violence against women. This is mostly because we have become attuned to them.
What is new, “eye-catching” and “real news” is how a man was harassed by his wife, beaten by his wife’s family, wrongfully convicted of a rape charge or suffered under a frivolous Domestic Violence case. And so, we ask the questions that stimulate our grey cells.
There seems to be a thorough disregard for the something as simple as this – Rights are NOT privileges. Rights are the means to an end. They entail sustenance. Women standing up for their rights is not a privilege. It is a necessity, the dire need for any society’s development.
Indeed, there is lacunae in the laws which leads to many people using them to their own advantage but isn’t that true for all laws? Aren’t loopholes found by ones looking for them in order to achieve their means? Then what is so special about women specific legislations?
Another question to ask is, would a man working in the space of women rights activism and empowerment be asked the same questions? Would he be questioned or ridiculed for supporting women’s rights? Would every word he speaks in favour of women be highlighted and challenged in light of “men’s rights”? I think not.
The truth, as I am growing older (and maybe wiser), has begun to seep in. What we say as women is often worth two cents and what the men say is worth 10 (if not more) in our society (and that starts yet another debate of the glaring patriarchy!).
Picture credits: Pixabay
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Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Consultant I Legal Journalist I Curious Cat
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