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You can't call yourself a feminist unless you find yourself inclusive of trans women and all other women in your feminism. Ask yourself what kind of woman you are.
You can’t call yourself a feminist unless you find yourself inclusive of trans women and all other women in your feminism. Ask yourself what kind of woman you are.
What kind of woman are you?
No, seriously, what kind of woman are you?
Do you call yourself a feminist on social media, but are a judgemental body-shamer when sitting around with your closest girlfriends in a coffee shop? Have you mocked a new girl in office for her clothes? Or for her English-accent? Have you ever sided with an old aunty a wedding questioning the marital status of a girl your age and her intentions to get married?
Are you secretly jealous of a colleague you ‘feel‘ is prettier than you, and ‘gets all the male attention’? Just because you’re single, do you hate the fact that your room-mate’s bf comes over to your place, and you love it when they fight?
Stop smirking, these are serious questions. You can’t call yourself a feminist unless you try and erase all the hatred you have for fellow women and trans-women.
The source of this deep hatred could be anything – jealousy, restrictions over your own self, your inhibitions, self-consciousness, indecisiveness, other woman’s performance being better than yours, her easy going attitude, her fun loving nature, her male friends, whatever it is – the issue still lies with you and in you.
Let me be very honest. Male friends are overrated. I am not saying this because I hate men. I absolutely LOVE men. And, this comes from a girl who had boys as her closest friends while growing up.
I am saying this because it was after this phase that I experienced female bonding in college. And I can proudly say that those are the strongest ties I have formed. I know what it is to be friends with men and women.
When you are friends with a guy, and if you’re both single, it can be the best friendship you could ever have. Boys can teach you so much. It’s like entering a new world (especially if you do not have a brother).
From video games, to boxing, to playing cricket in the sun and bike rides, playing doll house and even the slangs, it had been great growing up with guys! But then, I met girls and found the sisters I never had. That was a friendship, a bond, I’d never experienced!
In my experience (I am talking about straight men and women here), as soon as your guy friend starts dating someone else, or you start dating someone, the equation between you two changes. And, that is both good and bad. But this is not the case when your best friend is a girl. You two would still remain each other’s ‘that go to person’, no matter what!
Coming back to my point – do not hate that girl in your class, or your colleague in office, just because she ‘gets all the male attention.’ Or has more male friends/followers (including the guy you like).
It could be possible that she gets along better with guys. Or may be she really has a fun, happy personality. And if she really is that fun and nice, trust me, you can be friends with her too.
Even if it doesn’t work out, she doesn’t deserve your hatred anyway, right? It’s especially extremely petty to hate a girl just because she is liked by the guy you like.
I mean, come on!
Jealousy, self-consciousness, inhibitions can very easily be transformed into love, admiration and respect for someone different than you. You do not have to copy someone’s attitude.
You can invest all of your energy in your self growth. Don’t hate going to office just because you do not make friends easily. Give it some time and things will fall into place.
Which leads me to another point I want to make – why is it easier hating fellow-women than fellow-men? To answer this simple – she has something you don’t.
If you body shame someone, or even dislike someone for no good reason, it has roots in your own psychological wiring. You do not like yourself enough. You love pointing out flaws – or what flaws mean, conventionally!
You might come across as a very confident, self loving, all embracing human being. But if you mock someone behind closed doors, you have shades of both inferiority and superiority complex.
So, your job begins with loving yourself and respecting others!
We women do not hate men who travel a lot. Men who love their freedom. Or men who are great at their work. Men who party a lot. The men in Bali and Bangkok, half naked in a pool with a can of beer in their hand. These men could be our old acquaintances.
We will, however, not be impressed if an old female acquaintance puts up similar photos on her Facebook. A lot of whispered comments would be – ‘you do not have to drink to have fun’, ‘you do not have to remove clothes to have fun’, ‘my idea of fun is not the same as her.’ And my personal favourite from pseudo feminists – ‘this is not women empowerment.’
Trust me, no one cares a dime about your opinions. The fundamental of the problem remains – your attitude towards how you see men and women is different, and that is antithetic to being a feminist.
It is easier to hate women because we see fellow women as our equals. Not men. It’s easier to get jealous of them. And to pull them down. To make nasty comments about them. When we see men as superior beings, who can have more fun, party more, get paid more, what they do doesn’t bother us.
In actuality, what anyone does shouldn’t really bother us. But, if we start seeing men as our equals, doing whatever a man does won’t seem like such an impossible task!
Please remember, your freedom, or any girl’s freedom, is not an achievement. It’s a right. Admire her for exercising her right. Push yourself to exercise your right. Inspire others to exercise their rights.
Instead, be that woman who intervenes when Aunties at a party are pestering a single woman to get married soon. Support her. Be kind, her strength when she is fighting a ‘battle’ all alone, and publicly. Be that woman who smiles and praises all women – friends or not.
That woman who gives up her seat in the metro not only to an old lady, but also to a younger one with a difficult child. We do not know what she is going through. Be that woman who distances herself from pseudo feminist gossip queens instead of slyly smiling at all nasty comments made on a defenceless co-worker.
That woman who says no to pulling down other women (and men). Be that woman who treats all her children equally. That woman who shuts up her bf/husband when they body-shame someone. Be that women who is trying her best to open up, both in physical work-space and social media – and has a voice.
Be expressive. You do not have to talk a lot to express a lot. And, especially appreciate yourself for all the efforts if you’re an introvert.
Above all, be that woman who nourishes her skills and interests – reading, writing, painting, cooking, traveling, and everything else. Trust me, making friends is easier than you think.
Love yourself. And love everyone else. It gives mental peace and makes this tiring world a much better place.
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Angry Indian Goddesses
Mostly writing, other times painting. Here to celebrate little wins. I am on the same page as you, just a different book - you read mine, I'll read yours.
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"There is a story and a vision which makes us gravitate towards cinema. Even as we worked as assistants on ads, we realised that cinema was our true calling," say Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh Raseen.
The Railway Men. Mili. Cuttputli. The Diplomat. Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. And more…
Let me introduce to you the talented designer duo who have worked on these, and can be considered today’s upcoming costume designers for the screen. Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh.
Having studied at NIFT, Gunpreet Kaur Mann sent her portfolio out to several designers. Her first gig was as an assistant stylist with Manoshi and Rushi, who also happen to be a designer duo. She worked on an ad film starring Saif Ali Khan and eventually landed a full time job with designer Vikram Phadnis. Years of experience as assistant costume designer followed, which eventually led her to getting a break.
A ‘thank you’ makes a lot of difference in the way any woman in your life sees herself in your eyes. It might even mean the world to her.
I have not received any appreciation in the past. Probably never will. This is the experience of ample women across the globe. The expectation to be thanked for all the sacrifices she makes to keep others happy has faded. Yet the urge to hear few words of acknowledgement always lingers.
There is never a day when she pushes off her own burdens. She knows not to give up on people she loves. Women in general, are givers by nature and hence, give without asking anything in return. They have been the care givers and lovers since centuries however receive no appreciation.
It will mean the world to your mother if you answer her calls. If your sister seems lost give her a hug and assure her about her strengths. Tomorrow, there might come a day when you would have to make your daughter feel empowered with few words of wisdom every now and then. For the children to feel wanted and loved, you must be able to spare some quality time with your wife and be present in the moment.
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