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I Wear My Feminism Openly & Either Get Mocked Or Feared. We Need To Question Society’s Fear Of Feminism!

Where does this fear of feminism come from? Some fear shaking up the status quo, but many wrongly believe feminism equates male bashing, which is not true!

These days I wear my feminism quite openly and I am unafraid of people laughing (yes, it happens). Some mock me and others pretend I am an eccentric old woman (yes, the greys are showing and I love them!), and many fear my attitude! 

The connotations that come with the word ‘feminist’ are often negative- someone shrill, who hates men and despises anything that has to do with the male gender. Feminist discourse has always been about the belief of equality and the fact that everyone deserves respect and the same set of opportunities equally. Feminism is not just about women and is as much about men as it is about the structures that dictate the way we lead our lives.

Fear of feminism- a movement so simple yet so misunderstood!

Feminism is for the women who choose to work and those who prefer to stay at home. It is for men who lead from the front or those who prefer to cheer from the side-lines. It is for all genders- everyone who believes that all systems that govern our lives need to ensure dignity and equal opportunity to everyone irrespective of their gender. Sometimes it amazes me how such a beautiful and simple thought seems so utterly difficult for people to process and understand!

But then I understand that sometimes one needs to go back and delve a bit deeper to understand where the fear of feminism is coming from and the reasons why it manifests. Some fear feminism simply because they do not understand it; they do not understand the need for equality. Others fear the shaking up of the status quo, but many are simply victims of hearsay and believe that feminism equates male bashing, which is not true!

Feminism is all about equality!

It rather questions the whole system that works on a faulty premise that holds certain standards for certain genders. This then comes with its own baggage of expectations and limitations. Feminism does not mean that women are better than men, it just advocates for the equality of all sexes. It is as much about choice as it is about opportunities.

It is 2021 and yet female athletes are being banned for not wearing bikini bottoms! It is 2021 and yet I have to state my reasons for choosing to be a feminist even to those who enjoy their voting rights, thanks to those fearless women who fought for the right to vote!

It is 2021 yet women are still asked if their husband allowed them to work. This stemming from a particular strand of exclusion bias- a sure-shot sign of internalized patriarchy! 

Many of us have internalized sexist beliefs & we need to question them!

But why blame everyone, when indeed the problem lies much deeper within each one of us? A fear that has been instilled in us far too early in our lives. A fear where we are supposed to walk a certain line, need to follow certain rules and not question them, or God forbid, we would end up in isolation with no friends or opportunities!

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Each one of us needs to question ourselves about our own unconscious biases and our own sense of internalized misogyny. Like when we judge our own actions and find ourselves questioning if we were too aggressive when we were merely being assertive! 

Often, we are too quick to judge another woman without realizing and that too is a sign of internalized patriarchy! We are often too quick to also pass sexist remarks without even realizing it (that is internalized sexism), where we may make disparaging comments about other women. 

We need to question the reasons behind our fear of feminism. Is it because it was formerly positioned as an imposition of values? A harbinger of change? Rather can we look at feminism as a tool that can help us ask the right questions and empower ourselves and others to build answers to these difficult questions?

If anything, I recognize now that most fears start from within and need to be resolved internally first, with due reflection, acknowledgement and unlearning. Perhaps when we chart this course, we may decode our irrational fear of feminism and move towards working dedicatedly towards true gender equality.

Image source: Gulcin Guler (@Gulcinglr), Pixabay

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About the Author

Varsha Pillai

Varsha Pillai is a former television journalist who quit the fast lane in media when she moved to the erstwhile 'laid back city' called Bangalore. She earnestly believes that she can ‘write stories that people read more...

7 Posts | 10,441 Views

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