In a casual discussion that turned into a stupid argument, one of my female colleagues took sides with another female colleague. To justify her action she quickly said, "I am not a feminist, but I will stand by what she said."
In another woman's group that I was once a part of, we discussed ideas of what we planned for the year ahead and someone said, "I would like women to lead. I am not a feminist but I feel that women have a lot of potential to lead"
It's a pattern. "I AM NOT A FEMINIST" is a disclaimer before any woman asserts herself. Women add it to make it clear that they are talking generally and not in support of the sisterhood that has established a society where they can freely voice their opinion.
Over the years, the term has been twisted and perceived in ways that women now think that being a feminist is a bad thing! Almost every strong woman that I know is scared to admit she's a feminist. And yet, all of them are feminists. What they do not know is, what is feminism!
What exactly is feminism? To quote Wikipedia "Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes"
In short, believing that women are as good as men is feminism. Believing that women are better than men is not! If you get the meaning right, even men can be feminist! No one needs estrogen to be a feminist.
Image courtesy: Credit
"What do you need feminism for? Reservation for women, free education for women, lesser loan rates for women, there is everything under the sun for women. Women are abusing the power they now have. Did you hear Deepika Padukone talking about "her choice". She says its her choice if she wants to cheat outside marriage. If a guy said that he would receive so many flacks from the society. But she is a woman. Shes free to do whatever she wants!" This was a discussion among some men I knew.
I find it funny how some people take one example from an elite group of women and generalize it for the whole women population. These same people cannot digest the fact that majority of the women still do not even have human rights, let alone equal rights. It is not just men who belong to the category, I know women too who feel threatened by feminism.There exactly lies the biggest problem women face.
Most of these women have a low self esteem and look for validation in the family they have kept together, at the cost of their crushed dreams. When another woman dares to challenge the structure, they feel intimidated and try to make her surrender instead. They find pleasure in seeing another free bird caged, wings clipped when they couldn't dare to fly themselves. It is a vicious cycle. One broken dream after another.
I find submissive women repulsive. They suffer their whole lives and bring up men who grow up believing they can dominate any woman. It is also the reason I have no tolerance for women who put up with violence or disrespect from their family. I speak about the women who belong to the same income group or background where they can stand up for themselves and lead a respectful life. I do not have any idea about the hardships that other women might have in doing so, but I have seen brilliant examples of courage from people who have the least! We need feminism so that we stand a chance at a better tomorrow.
It is a long talk. One that has multiple dimensions. Bigger problems and smaller solutions. This is a topic that cannot be handled in a single post and hence I have decided to start writing every second Monday about it inspired by Soumya's feminist Monday posts.
I find hope in the fact that ours is at least a generation of covert feminists. Most women don't call themselves feminists but are fighting the exact same battles as that of feminism. I think we could start with just saying "I AM A FEMINIST"