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Feminist Or Not A Feminist – Should I Really Be Boxing Myself?

But yes I do not subscribe to the ultra-feminist concepts like 'burning bras’ (I feel comfortable wearing them) or attempting to pee like men.

On this momentous occasion, it would be worthwhile to take stock of my feminist table of values and achievements.

For decades now (can’t remember how many), I have declared and imbibed feminism within every fibre of my being and my persona. For me ‘Feminism’ is – quality education, nutrition, health, economic independence, independent decision-making, sexuality and marriage as per an individual’s own choice.

But yes I do not subscribe to the ultra-feminist concepts e.g. ‘Burning bras’ (I feel safe and comfortable wearing them) or attempting to pee like men.

The sooner we accept our differences, the better it will be

Like it or not, we women can do nothing about ‘periods’ or ‘childbearing’. The fact of the matter is we are physiologically and biologically different from men. The sooner we accept it the better.

I have managed to reject stereotyped rules, regulations and straitjacketed code of conduct imposed on average Indian girls. I am talking about urban moderately educated middle-class households. (My sisters in rural areas or those hovering below the poverty line might be in far worse situations.)

These range from sporting short hair instead of plait or bun, donning unisex clothes, footwear, learning commercial art instead of needlework. (Without malice to anyone) I deliberately smoked, consumed alcohol, beef, pork etc. I still drink socially without ever getting sloshed.

Not Shaadi but things which raised eyebrows

During my youth(the90s) when most girls of my peer group demurely opted for ‘Shaadi’  after high school or graduation (at best) I completed my post-graduate degree besides a few other certificate courses.

When I secured admission to a US university, folks were aghast since I was still single. The project fizzled out due to visa refusal but that’s another story.

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Those days apart from medicine engineering and civil services, school /college academics were women’s favourites. Eyebrows were raised when I opted for journalism/media which was not so developed, challenging and vibrant as it is now.

Yes, I could take care of myself!

I have always been a travel freak. Having crisscrossed India since childhood I yearned to travel abroad. After the ‘visa’ fiasco I grew more determined and began saving meticulously for phoren trips. And believe me, I did it! Not once but several times. Solo trips. Without any family (read male) escort.

We had a ‘civil marriage’

In my personal life, I managed to break the shackles again. Harbouring deep distaste for big, fat, traditional, ritualistic weddings all my life, I must thank my parents and my husband for making it different in my case. I married at 28. Late by prevailing standards. We had a ‘civil marriage’ nearly thirty years ago. There were more brickbats than bouquets that came our way!

Feminism and marriage didn’t go hand in hand

Feminism took a backseat post marriage. The In-laws expected me to be a doormat. Food was highly insufficient. Visits by male acquaintances/kin were banned. Phone calls elicited vitriolic comments. Travels tours and evening outs were discouraged. They critiqued my dressing style, use of cosmetics, etc. 

I bore it for seven long years. Then the bubble burst! I challenged my spouse to choose between moving out or divorce. At long last, he chose the first.

This is also me!

Interestingly I have garnered compliments for my culinary skills and I am flummoxed to find hip women who don’t know the ABC of cooking or hate it. 

So much for my fiery spirit. On the flip side, I feel handicapped for not being able to drive. I envy women whom I see, zipping past me, on the roads. I took a driving lesson thrice but gave up halfway. Likewise, I can’t swim which is at once a great hobby and a life-saving skill.

If you go by fashions I may not be a true feminist. Being tall and heavy I have to miss out on minis, slit skirts shredded/ frayed denim. Heels of all types are out too. I love lounging in oversized T-shirts loose pants and thongs by way of footwear. After all, fashion is what you are comfortable in, isn’t it?

Image Source: Still from movie Rough Book, YouTube

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About the Author

RUCHIRA GHOSH

Am a trained and experienced features writer with 25 plus years of experience .My favourite subjects are women's issues, food travel, art,culture ,literature et all.Am a true feminist at heart. An iconoclast read more...

55 Posts | 283,154 Views

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