Feminism and Me

Recently, the social media is flooded with a series of articles for and against Feminism. The ‘Me Too’ movement has started a new conversation regarding feminism. The other day, I overheard a few people talking about feminism and how the ideology has done more harm to women than good.
Well, with great difficulty I resisted the temptation to jump into the conversation.
The faded memories of my college days reminded me of the time when we used to engage in heated conversation and debates around feminism.
My classmates often told me that I have a streak of ‘radical feminism.’
Ah! Those were old days, and a lot has changed since then. My worldview and perspective to see and understand life has changed drastically since then.
I am and will remain unapologetically feminist.
In my opinion, blaming feminism for being outdated is of no use, and there is nothing wrong in feminism as an ideology. The problem is with our understanding and interpretation of it.
Somewhere down the line, we forgot that patriarchy is the fundamental problem. Men are not a problem. Men and women are sharing the burden of patriarchy in different ways. We all suffer immensely and silently.
When I was a kid, my neighbor’s son (who was of my age) often used to ask his mother to get him dresses of the same color as mine. You won’t be surprised to know he was thrashed by his father for wearing bangles, frocks and colorful hairpins.
A colleague of mine doesn’t want to get married, and he is being forced by his family to do so. Reason being that he is not yet ready to take complete responsibility for another human being. We all know that once married, in Indian society man is the primary bread earner. He is often ridiculed that he should act like a man and should learn to shoulder responsibility. Is that fair?
A friend of mine, who claims to be a feminist insists that she will only marry a man who is more educated than her and earns more than her. What kind of shallow feminism is this? The lady herself earns a decent salary. She wants to continue working after marriage, wants all the liberty to do whatever she likes after marriage. (She has every right to do so).
But when it comes to marriage, she is not comfortable with the idea of her man having an independent existence such as he can’t go to the club alone after wedding whereas she can go out alone and come back at any time.
Once, I was in the village in Andhra Pradesh as part of training for a government-funded program. Around 30-40 village men came to me and asked, ‘Why are you not allowing men to join the program that you are conducting? All funding and support come for women while we are sitting idle here. There is nothing for us-no jobs, our farmland is barren, no training programs for us.
But in the evening, when we go home, our wives ask..how much money you made today? If I have to earn and provide for the family… then why is the training only for women? Include us in the programme.’
I have faced similar questions many times, and generally, I don’t have an answer.
But I feel we are creating more toxicity, and in the end, women are going to lose more, they are going to suffer more at the hands of men.
We want to free ourselves from the cage of patriarchy but haven’t thought of releasing men from that cage.
We want to celebrate our vulnerabilities and our tenderness, but we cannot accept when men too remove their masks.
We have to broaden the concept of feminism by including both the genders in our effort to get rid of patriarchy.

1 Comment

  1. One of my famous authors used to say: “Progress does not mean, some section of people going further. It will leave the remaining sections behind. True progress is when all the sections move forward”.
    So, feminism, rationalism, all kinds of activisms are lead by people who either have suffered and endured some or heavy injustice from society. But this clouds the judgements, by rage, anger, sadness, etc., and effects the steps taken and hence has high probability to sidetrack from initial goal. So, no one is to be blamed. Its way of life, to struggle and learn. I guess the feminism has much to learn – in the sense of efficiently achieving the goal. Golden days are near, but I hope the world does not take more wrong turns that would delay it!!

    Liked by 1 person

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