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Feminism is not about putting women against men, but a fight against prejudice where the goal is to reach a point at which women are at par with men on all levels.
Just recently, I came across a tweet by actor and supermodel Dipannita Sharma. She voiced: “If we have to constantly portray all men in poor light to drive our point of feminism home, then I think the very essence of feminism is lost.”
This is an extremely fair, intelligent, and balanced viewpoint from someone who is very passionate about women’s rights.
A concept that saw the light of dawn in the 19th century, feminism over the years has been painted with various shades and hues. It goes without saying that any movement that seeks to spread the message of equality qualifies as adhering to the tenets of human ethics. Feminism is one such beautiful idea, but its purity wanes when it is misinterpreted.
The true essence of a noble cause is lost when misconceptions spread their roots. When we talk about feminism, we need to understand that it is not a mission to sideline the men. It’s all about giving women those entitlements that have been denied to them.
Very often, we hear this from people who say it in a rather derogatory tone: “Oh she is a die-hard feminist!” Where does the problem lie if someone works for the privileges that rightfully belong to her? Society needs to get out of this mindset that a feminist is always that obstinate, hot-headed woman, screaming her lungs out to tell men they are inferior.
The idea is all about being on the same ground, and no man needs to feel insecure when someone is a feminist. Nor should he be ashamed to call himself one because he is endorsing a fair ideology.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a feminist rockstar, is synonymous with women’s rights. The former US Supreme Court justice strongly believed that it was important to dismantle patriarchy not just to liberate women but to enable all people to live peacefully, regardless of gender.
Ginsburg’s fairness was exemplary because she focused not just on winning rights for women but also on establishing equal rights for both genders.
You must have heard of the Netflix series On the Basis of Sex – this was based on the 1970’s Charles Moritz case which Ginsburg fought. Moritz, who was responsible for taking care of his elderly mother, was denied a caregiving tax deduction on the grounds that he was an unmarried man. Ginsburg represented him and showed to the male judges that sex discrimination affected both men and women.
There is so much truth in this quote by American film writer and director Marti Noxon: “The problem with generalizations and judgments, the words we hurl as insults, is that they deny our humanity and our stories.”
Something that has been on the rise in recent times is men being constantly depicted in an unfavorable light in many digital shows. Just as we take offence when a woman is type-casted as sharp tongued, manipulative, and conniving (more so in the saas-bahu serials), it is equally unfair to always present a negative image of men. While more of sexual predators, sexists and misogynists, and domestic abusers are men, stereotyping men is just not Ok.
Yes, we cannot ignore that there is prejudice against women. Had there been no discrimination, we would not have had something like mansplaining nor instances where women’s expertise is silenced. But we cannot generalize; feminism is not about bashing men at every opportunity possible.
As much as we have men who consider themselves superior, we also have others who are supportive and respectful of women. Otherwise, there wouldn’t have emerged a feminist like Arunachalam Muruganantham who took an initiative to empower women by thinking about an issue like feminine hygiene. Nor would we have heard the story of K Onier Kom, the husband of Olympic boxer Mary Kom, who stood by her every step of the way in her journey.
Men can play a very important role as agents of change and strengthen feminist efforts. There are many who believe in gender equality, and it is their responsibility to influence other men to think similarly.
Everything needs to start at the grassroots level, so let’s first practice equality in our own families by having respect for each other. It’s the dignity of labor that reigns supreme, and both partners have their share in making the house a home by doing their parts.
Conversely, let no man make a big deal raving about what a brilliant job he had done ‘babysitting’ his child while his wife was away for a girls’ night out. Attention: parenting is a joint venture, and Daddy needs to be equally as responsible as Mommy!
If both spouses earn reasonably well, the responsibility of managing the family expenditures should be a shared one too. The husband is not the only one responsible; by no means is it a man’s job alone. If feminism stands for equal rights, the part about shared responsibility cannot be shirked either!
In the end, it needs to be understood that feminism is not about putting women against men. It is not a battle of the sexes but a fight against prejudice where the goal is to reach a point at which women are at par with men on both micro and macro levels.
Image source: Twitter
Rashmi Bora Das is a freelance writer settled in the suburbs of Atlanta. She has a master’s degree in English from India, and a second master’s in Public Administration from the University of read more...
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I huffed, puffed and panted up the hill, taking many rest breaks along the way. My calf muscles pained, my heart protested, and my breathing became heavy at one stage.
“Let’s turn back,” my husband remarked. We stood at the foot of Shravanbelagola – one of the most revered Jain pilgrimage centres. “We will not climb the hill,” he continued.
My husband and I were vacationing in Karnataka. It was the month of May, and even at the early hour of 8 am in the morning, the sun scorched our backs. After visiting Bangalore and Mysore, we had made a planned stop at this holy site in the Southern part of the state en route to Hosur. Even while planning our vacation, my husband was very excited at the prospect of visiting this place and the 18 m high statue of Lord Gometeshwara, considered one of the world’s tallest free-standing monolithic statues.
What we hadn’t bargained for was there would be 1001 granite steps that needed to be climbed to have a close-up view of this colossal magic three thousand feet above sea level on a hilltop. It would be an understatement to term it as an arduous climb.
She was sure she was dying of cancer the first time her periods came. Why did her mother not explain anything? Why did no one say anything?
Sneha still remembers the time when she had her first period.
She was returning home from school in a cycle-rickshaw in which four girls used to commute to school. When she found something sticky on the place where she was sitting, she wanted to hide it, but she would be the first girl to get down and others were bound to notice it. She was a nervous wreck.
As expected, everyone had a hearty laugh seeing her condition. She wondered what the rickshaw-wallah thought of her. Running towards her home, she told her mother about it. And then, she saw. There was blood all over. Was she suffering from some sickness? Cancer? Her maternal uncle had died of blood cancer!
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