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From An Overwhelmed Feminist To Men: I Am Tired Of Explaining!

Dear Men, I am tired of justifying my stance every day; an open letter from an overwhelmed and exhausted feminist!

Dear Men, I am Tired Of Justifying My Stance Every Day; An Open Letter From An Overwhelmed Feminist

Before you proceed with the letter, I would like to give a small disclaimer; you need to read this piece with an open mind.

Almost all the men who are a part of my life are feminists. I have had many conversations about feminism, patriarchy, and stereotypes with them. Most of the time, they understand or at least try to understand and accept how patriarchy has a detrimental effect on every person in this society, but more for women and non-binary.

I am exhausted of arguments

However, in many (not all) arguments I had with them, I could sense the ‘Patriarchal effect’ in their statements.

There are also a few men I know who proudly claim and announce to the world that they are a feminist (not sure if they are trying to convince themselves or others)but, like I said earlier, their few thoughts and ideas as well are patriarchal in nature, which they are unaware about and are not willing to accept it because of their fragile ego.

And I refuse to believe that anyone in this world is absolutely untouched by the effects of patriarchy. The only difference is, that some people are aware of its ill effects on their thought processes and are willing to unlearn that conditioning, and then others are completely unconscious of how patriarchy, in the words of Kamla Bhasin, has ‘dehumanized’ them and are reluctant to rise out of that false-consciousness.

“You need to relax”, “you are overthinking”, “there is no point in arguing with you”, “not all men”, and “ignorance is bliss”, are just a few statements I get to hear in almost every heated argument.

How can I ignore patriarchy?

Now, the above dialogues prove to be contradictory to the statement I made earlier, about most of the men being feminists in my life. Are they really a feminist if they think that I should ‘ignore’ patriarchy?

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Ignorance might be bliss for you because you have the minimal chance of being; harassed, groped, raped or maybe thrown acid at any time of day and night; maybe it’s easy for you to relax because your life will not be under threat, or you will not be denied basic human rights solely because of your gender.

The above statements can be tolerated or even ignored when it is coming from strangers; things become extremely overwhelming and emotionally taxing when there is an argument within the intimate family or a close friend.

And that is when I start questioning my thinking and beliefs to some extent.

Because who wants to be a source of distress within your own family?

It’s just not a joke if we are the topic of it!

I also find it hilarious but at the same time annoying, that when a man cracks a joke on women or non-binary, we are told to take it ‘just as a joke’, however when the roles are reversed, the entire species of men get offended and goes crazy and immediately start pelting their favourite labels of ‘feminazi’ and ‘pseudo-feminist’ at you.

Harassment has become such a normal part of our lives that if we encounter undignified acts like constant staring or catcalling many times we ignore or think “chalo koi baat nahi, isse bhi bura ho sakta tha” (let it be, it could have been worse).

And before I receive backlash and criticism from the men reading this and feel I am personally attacking only them, I would like to emphasize that I am not saying “All men”.

Abusive men take advantage because #notallmen public don’t do the bare minimum

I and every feminist is very well aware of #notallmen. However, reading horrific news about molestation, rape, harassment, acid attack, dowry death, female foeticide, and honour killings, every day does not help in stepping out of the house with a faith and mindset of “notallmen”, because the fear has already been instilled.

And I find it funny when the surrounding men would go crazy if I hold men the perpetrator in any incident (of course only when they are actually the culprits) and later when I tell them I am going out somewhere, late at night, in the metro, and they would tell me ‘to be safe’. I should be safe from whom? Ghosts?

I should be safe from whom? We know it’s not a ghost!

Many might classify my arguments as ‘anti-men’ and will put me under the category of ‘pseudo-feminist‘ or ‘feminazi’.

However, I would like to reiterate, my sentiments and thoughts are surely not against men, but it’s against the natural and birthright privileges they enjoy solely because of their gender,  for which every other gender has been and is fighting.

The aggression and annoyance are not directed towards men, but the ‘gendered privileges’ and the hypocrisy.

I only wish to be a man, to travel without feeling uneasy!

I know that being a woman is a blessing, and I am proud to be one; however, there are days when I wish I were a man, especially when I am refused an opportunity because of my sex.

One instance when I wish I were a male would be while travelling in a metro or any public transport so that I can avoid the male gaze or any other form of harassment.

Another trivial instance would be my family members ensuring that the girls of the household do not engage in any sort of romantic relationship but pushing the same ‘concern’ when it comes to our brothers behind the veil of ‘boys will be boys‘. And also when I get my periods. Sigh.

Our worlds are different despite the same geographical location!

Men, women, and non-binary do not live in the same world.

Everyone in the same situation in a patriarchal society has different experiences. And I also feel it would be unfair to expect men to completely understand our point of view because they have never lived our experiences and feelings.

Similarly, it is unfair to expect a woman to maintain an ‘ever-lasting’ soft corner for men after continuously witnessing and listening to the heinous and atrocious acts committed by them.

Since they are in the position of power and enjoy many privileges, most of them are not even aware of the challenges other genders face in carrying out the most routine activities of the day, for instance, travelling in public transport or walking on the road (day, evening or night).

Can men stop turning blind?

They are in such a position of power that they can, and they do, turn ‘blind’ to the privileges they are bestowed with by the virtue of their gender. They neither can see the challenges of other genders nor their privileges.

The more heartbreaking fact is that, even after being such a hardcore feminist, I would have to make certain concessions to patriarchy to lead a ‘normal’ life, while the other gender might not have to.

I have written this letter to express what I feel on a daily basis and with the hope that I am not alone in feeling this way.

Image source: Gpoint Studio, free and edited on CanvaPro

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About the Author

Ishita Varma

Hello! My name is Ishita Varma and I am in the final year of Political Science honors. I am always up for any feminist discussion and do not believe in only talking about gender equality read more...

17 Posts | 5,867 Views

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