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What I mean by feminism

February 5, 2013

My point of view is more than often discarded not only cause I am a woman but because I proudly call myself a feminist.

I I had a penny for every time someone said, “Oh! But you’re a feminist” or “You’re from a feminist college” well then I’d be the next Bill Gates, except with breasts. To be quite honest I get pissed every time someone passes such a statement. No, not because I am a feminist but because 1) People feel that my opinion should be ignored because of my ideology and 2) Because they misunderstand feminism or my style of feminism.

Yes, I am a feminist but what does feminism entail for me? The first and the most important point and driving force- Men and Women were born equal and should be treated as equals. Secondly, they may be in certain aspects be different nevertheless are equal.

These two points form pretty much the base of what feminism is for me. However, for me it is equally important to emphasize on what feminism isn’t for me, i.e. it is not men vs women instead it is humans vs abusive societal constructs (like patriarchy). You may wonder why the emphasis on what feminism isn’t. Well the reason why I feel it is important to clarify this point right from the beginning is because the moment men (and women) hear the term ‘feminist’ they assume you to be a ball bashing, mustache-growing, lesbian. Like seriously?!

Well while I have no problem with women deciding against waxing, threading and coming out of the closet I do not approve of ball bashing…..or smashing or chopping. It is important to put this message across as one needs to gain support from the ‘other’ gender for equality is a natural right.

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Now anyone who has ever gone through my blog may ask why the sudden post about feminism? Is it the Delhi gang rape case that has stirred the emotions? The memories of your alma mater (LSR) that evoke such feelings? So let me explain. I have always been a feminist, as I child I may not have understood or known about the term ( I didn’t) but I have always vociferously believed in equality. However, today I write about this following an interesting conversation with a guy friend.

I was still in office when my friend – Y buzzed me. He tried to call me up late last night but due to my amusing brain-antics I picked it up and immediately cut it (in my defence I was sleeping and my reflex actions aren’t always the best). He told me about an incident that had happened yesterday.

He was in the gym in one Delhi’s finest hotels when a married woman, who was with her husband, approached him. She wanted him to join them in their hotel room. Though taken aback he politely rejected the offer. He then proceeded to take a shower in the men’s locker room assuming that it was the end of this bizarre incident. However, he was in for a rude surprise. While taking a shower, the husband approached him and tried to enter his cubicle. Y though completely rattled, whacked the guy and told him to F*&^ off or something like that. Since there was a minor scuffle when the guy tried to enter his cubicle and feel him up the authorities immediately rushed on hearing the loud curses. 

Y promptly reported the matter to the hotel however did not approach the police. I asked him why? Well he mumbled something which I couldn’t figure out but I pretty much understand. While Y was molested and did raise an alarm (had he been a she it would have been a case of outraging her ‘modesty’) my other guys friends too have undergone such ordeals. In numerous casual remarks, a number of male friends have made it ample clear to me that they too have been groped my men, usually in crowded buses, but they never pay any attention to it or make an ‘issue’ out of it cause well it happens.

This incident pretty much backs my belief of why feminism is extremely important, why our society needs overhauling and why men should not be ashamed of calling themselves feminists! When I talk about equality, I not only stand up for women’s right to education, property, equal standing in society, respect as individuals and freedom from been looked at as sex objects or a man’s property but also men’s right to being emotional ( I hate the idea that real men can’t cry,  mard ko dard nahi hota), the freedom from gender stereotypes (its gay to wear pink, you’re not a man if you take case of the household) and the right to accept that they too are vulnerable. The right to raise an alarm when being sexually assaulted  the right to enter a police station and lodge a police complaint without being laughed upon and being labelled a namard, the right to become a fashion designer and not be called gay, the right to become homemaker and not be insulted and called a ghar-jamai.

For me feminism means abolishing all those stereotypes, breaking all those shackles that inhibit us, men and women, from reaching our maximum potential. It means not having to conform to a set notion of ideas and living up to certain expectation just by possessing a certain set of genitals.

Yes, I am a feminist and I believe that ‘gentle’men needn’t open the door for me, pick the tab or act as if it doesn’t hurt. It means men having the power to stand up against Khaps, telling their fathers to back off when they are beating their mothers, the freedom to take up cooking, and the courage to stand up for and with women. 

 

“Feminism is the radical notion that woman are people…and the idea that men can emote!”

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6 Comments leave one →
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  6. Sun clue permalink
    October 17, 2013 6:02 PM

    Hi
    This shouldn’t be what you mean by feminism, rather what everyone should mean by feminism(put in lay man terms).
    The basic point being Equality, which I think should not be denied based on gender or for that matter by caste,creed,colour or any natural or socially made norms.
    But,I am afraid, i used to fall in category of men, who would have made you a Bill Gates with breasts, as u say.
    But then again many woman i’ve known with the same background have misconstrued notions of feminism, which prompted me to elicit such remarks, earlier.
    I guess the link below enlists the reason i did that before, almost precisely.
    http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2012/12/reasons-people-believe-feminism-hates-men/
    I guess the changing sociological scenarios also strengthens the arguments for feminists for equality.
    Also, in the very way you were stating, its even more difficult for a guy to state that he is a feminist and still be heard, let alone taken seriously.
    On ending note, if you haven’t already watched it, please do check out the link below on feminism(more rational thought).You might find your ideas being echoed there, as I did, when i heard it.

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