As Long As There Are Wilfully Entitled Misogynists, We Need Feminism!

As a society we have indeed come far. But speak of feminism anywhere and there is a cacophony of ignorant voices that rush to troll.

Facebook memories tell me I’ve been sharing status updates about empowerment and thanking the women in my life for their contribution to society since over a decade. I didn’t even know the word ‘feminism’ then, and neither did I consider myself a ‘feminist’. I have learned, been taught, and have discovered so much in these past few years.

Women supporting women is real

I know I have come a long way from being casteist, homophobic, and transphobic in the past. It is the conditioning that stems from the society we’re brought up in. But, we learn, and we become better individuals. Thanks to the other feminists around us.

We, as a society have indeed come so far that it makes me proud to see the progress we’ve made.

Some days I forget just how much progress we’ve made.

Some days, despair and hopelessness takes over.

This sense of ‘is it even worth it?’ is especially heightened when I hear about violence against women. Irrespective of whether it is ‘just a joke’ or ‘just a slap’, the fact is women are constantly told to adjust and not create a scene.

In recent times, I have seen so many posts, articles, social media status updates from women declaring how they refuse to be silenced. Women are banding together and creating cohorts.

This article I wrote 2 yrs ago on Women’s Web is proof that such stories are relevant even today. The women mentioned here have moved on to doing even bigger things than what they speak about here.

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And yet…!

The commercialization and blatant mockery of the day that shows up through Women’s Day discounts notwithstanding, businesses and organizations are starting to realize the power of women.

And one would think this is a win. It’s not.

Women’s Day is not a day of celebration. It is a day of observance, of honouring the struggles of the feminists before us, and of resolving to take the fight further. (and yes, the irony of Women’s Day coinciding on a day of Holi when we are sure to hear more incidents of violence passed as playful pranks accompanied with ‘Bura na mano’ is not lost on me.)

Even today, I see women being expected to be caregivers because traditionally it was always so.

Even today, there are people who think women should be seen and not heard.

Even today, you see ads like Fair and Lovely, and statements like ‘My mother did it all, she is a Superwoman.’

Even today, the term ‘men’s day’ sees a spike in search results only around March 8. MRAs and anti-feminists don’t really care about such a day. If they did they would remember that there is an International Men’s Day, and it happens to come round every year in November. But how can women be celebrated, right?

Even today, men intrude into women’s only spaces, mock gay men, and then mansplain to women the power of being a ‘real’ or an ‘ideal’ woman.

It’s not just ignorance, it’s wilful, entitled ignorance

In an argument on feminism and gender equality with a so-called learned person, I had credited Savitribai Phule for me being an educated woman. The person turned to my mother and asked her if Savitribai had come to request her that I be given an education.

That’s the kind of willful ignorance that exists in this country.

So while we have come this far, the fight is long and hard.

Because, while educating the girl child or empowering women are valid causes, it is not about this alone. It is also about trans women, and single women, and women who identify as queer, lesbian, non binary, asexual, or men who are gay, or people who have disabilities, or Muslims, and Dalits, and sex workers, and domestic help, and those who do unpaid labour, and about pay parity. And a lot more, for which this space falls short.

I see men sharing status updates like ‘Trans women are women’. And through the hopelessness, comes a ray of sunshine.

We have come a long way. We still have a long way to go.

And yes, it is worth it.

Happy International Women’s Day to all the fierce, fantastic, badass women who are in their own way creating a revolution through their efforts, however big or small.

Image source: a still from the film English Vinglish

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About the Author

Piyusha Vir

Piyusha Vir is a writer, artist, a CELTA-certified English Language trainer, and a Creative Writing Coach. She was awarded the Top 5 position in the Orange Flower Awards 2018 for the category of Writing read more...

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