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I didn’t stand up for myself when I was abused, which is why I experienced low self-esteem for so long. It was feminism that gave me strength!
I had been brought up in a very conservative family and have always been surrounded by people, including my extended family and relatives who were extremely sanctimonious hypocrites. They wanted to hold limitless control on the women in their families in every way possible. The conditioning has been so repressive and instilled so deeply and carefully, that women who themselves are oppressed under the rock of patriarchy, don’t believe other women. They want their daughters, sisters, and other women to fit into and behave by the societal dogmas.
It’s only the woman, who is expected to tolerate. This is my journey of how this ‘cancerous’ feminism has given me wings and voice to speak.
I saw the women in the families being abused verbally and sometimes physically, daily. It was so normalized, that I began accepting that it’s normal for a man to abuse a woman. Therefore, when a woman responds to the abuse, she is told, “Your husband is a man, he orders you to do things. It’s written in ‘shastras’ that a woman cannot raise her voice on her man.” Physical violence is recognized by society to some extent as of now, but being emotionally and verbally abused is considered the fate of a woman.
When a child witnesses abuse, the child also becomes a victim of abuse. As a child, it wasn’t easy to acknowledge these unacceptable practices. I always fantasized that since we are in a modern era, sex discrimination and oppression against women is an imaginary thing and activists have hyped the issue. I realized the depth of the issue when I went through the same oppression and discrimination.
I have been a shy person, who doesn’t easily get involved with others. One of the main reasons, I think for this is the silence and tolerance instilled in my mother that was passed on to me. I didn’t stand up for myself when I was abused, which is why I experienced low self-esteem for so long.
Around three years ago, I was diagnosed with, what they call the ‘cancer’ – “Feminism”. And it has given me the strength to not tolerate the unacceptable deportment of male-centric society. I educated myself on differing subjects. I constructed my perspective on social and political issues that affected women, marginalized communities, and underprivileged folks.
I learned more about the things, that society has normalized or I didn’t know about before, like marital rapes, consent, and the plight of prostitutes. (There was a time when I called prostitutes “bad ladies” before I could understand what they have to go through on every-day basis. They are not bad; the male centric society is.)
Then, I tried to share my knowledge and concerns with the help of various social media posts with people around me. While doing so, it unleashed a force of resentment and hatred from some people. It was unacceptable for them to imagine a world where women realize their rights, formulate their opinions, and stand against oppression and biases.
Assuming that feminism is cancerous, I desire to live with it for life. I have shredded the layers of normalizing exploitation of women, misogynistic conditioning, and silence. While other cancers make people emotionally weak, feminism has rather strengthened me.
It gave me the courage to fight against even the smallest measures that society tries, to degrade women, promote toxic masculinity and create sex differences. It is concerned with everything that affects human beings, be it gender inclusivity, unfortunate living conditions of indigenous people, refugees, girls’ education, catcalling, crimes against women, mental health, different social and gender identities, climate crisis, the status of women, toxic masculinity, repressive political measures. Each issue that affects people.
The first step of bringing a revolution is to speak about the issue. When we acknowledge the issue, we work to fix it.
This exploitation must end somewhere and it’s on us, to contemplate the aspired revolution.
And, if they say feminism is cancer that is threatening males, ruining families, challenging the norms of a religion or culture, then yes, this cancer should spread more widely!
Image source: Still from Thappad
An Intersectional Feminist by heart, a student by profession and an atheist by choice. I abide more by ethics than religions and society, praise humanity more than god and try to be rational as much read more...
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Alia Bhatt is pregnant and happy about it - it's not our job to accuse her of 'trapping' her partner into marriage or shaming her for the timing of it.
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