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Feminism, Like Football, Is *Not* To Be Practiced Inside The House

Posted: March 18, 2020

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Just like football, people prefer feminism on TVs. The moment it comes inside the house, it threatens to break the precarious balance we’ve maintained.

The cause of gender equality for a lot of us is like a game of football. We are okay playing with it outside. But inside our houses, we either don’t allow it at all. Or restrict it to the small terrace where the ball doesn’t disturb the gentle décor of the house. (A checkpoint for pseudo-feminism)

I have never thought of it this way. But recently, it dawned upon me – how similar football and feminism are. Like my previous write-ups I’ll explain this through anecdotes.

You must be thinking- how exactly will I do this?

Here’s why football is the same as feminism

My friend Sanchi is a champion for the cause of gender equality. When the #MeToo movement began, she was one of the first few to share stories of exploitation during her PhD programme. She has even gone on candle-light marches and was accompanied by her husband.

Surprisingly, like modern day Cinderella, as the clock strikes 12, these brave women transform into dutiful wives. They set up beds, put the children to sleep, look after the needs of the elderly and satisfy the whims of their ‘supportive’ counterparts. All this because they are full of gratitude to earn that identity.

We’re ‘allowed’ to be selective feminists

Have you heard of the term ‘selective feminism?’ These people believe that they are feminist enough if they allow ‘their’ women to have only certain types of freedom. Alas, we (women) don’t own our freedom.

So when I start digging, the anecdotes topple over.

I remember another incident from when I visited a Mahila thana (Women police station). With me, there was a friend who had had the courage to escape the clutches of gaslighting.

My friend, a promising scientist, sounded so timid when the lady constable told her, ‘The problem in this marriage is not the husband woman. What if he slapped you! It is your ambitious ego that is ruining the family.’

Rest of the lot laughed at this joke of the lady constable, who sported a crew cut and Dabang style aviators. This served as a fine balance between patriarchy and women liberation. I could not help but notice the record sheet on the wall. “We have successfully RESOLVED 60 cases of domestic violence in one month” it read.

And we definitely should NOT have careers

Then there was another conversation with a male Army officer. He believed that women should keep the family as their first priority rather than their job, or shouldn’t work altogether. A woman is supposed to sacrifice, he continued, if she doesn’t the whole family suffers.

Nature has made them biologically different. Incidentally, the same day Supreme Court had granted Permanent Commission to the lady officers in the Indian Army.

I often wonder if biology has a role to play in deciding our fate and way of thinking. But then the nine months of refuge in a female body and subsequent leeching on the female body should produce more sensitive males.

Instead we have self-proclaimed holy men who think that a woman will be born a ‘kutri’ if she cooks while menstruating. Well, thank you, Babaji. I’d rather be born a bitch because they have more freedom today, than we women do.

Picture credits: Still from movie Bend It Like Beckham

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Vartika Sharma Lekhak is a writer based in India. She is the author of the

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