Feminism is a problem:
Feminism as we all know today, is a problem. And why is that you ask? Let me explain. Feminism is a loaded term that means different things to different people. But its kind of sad, because it is like that poor kid in school who’s bullied because of her name. She’s misunderstood, mocked and rejected without people attempting to get to know her. And that’s a problem.
Now feminism is often used as a term that is often taken out of context. To represent a wide range of ideologies which can thus lead to a fair amount of confusion around the subject. “fight for your rights, but don’t fight too hard” “our culture is the best culture, and in our culture, we have no place for women”. That’s the whole point, why is its so miserably misunderstood.
Feminism is defined as the theory of the political, economic, social equality of the sexes. Yes! EQUALITY OF SEXES. Nothing more, nothing less. It does not mean women are better than men. It does not mean that only women’s voices must be heard. It does not mean picking up the tab on the date or free drinks on ladies’ night. And it definitely does not mean anti-male, bra burning protests where women grow their armpit hair and reject the traditional ideals of beauty.
It’s a word that represents a movement to advocate the equal right of all gender identities. So, you might think that if its that simple then why is it so misunderstood. Well for starters, it’s kind of gotten a bad reputation. We often get stuck in semantics. While the word does include the syllable “fem” but it does not pertain to rights of women only. Much like mankind does not pertain to the existence of men only. Over the years the word feminism and most of the movement, it has come to mean a lot of things. Spanning a hundred and twenty years, the feminist moment in the West has evolved from acquiring the right to vote to challenging traditional gender roles. And more recently it has expanded to cover financial, political and social inequalities at large. In India however, the meaning of the movement gets further complicated due to the vast diversity within the country.
Tragically the one factor that cuts across all of these boundaries, is violence. Major cases like Tarvinder Kaur’s dowry related murder in 1979, Roop Kanwar’s sati related death in 1787, The Nirbhaya gang rape in 2012, and more recently the eight year old Asifa’s gang rape case shook the public from their usual apathy and triggered outrage across the spectrum to fight for women’s rights and liberties. These fiery protests, couples with media’s sensationalized coverage has further amplified the collective range to portray the movement as a bunch of angry young women. Now it all depends on how a person is introduce to it. If your only connection with feminism is with people who you have seen marching at rally one may think that’s all that feminists do. That is not the point of the movement at all.
The ‘feminist goal’ is to include and create an equal society for all this radicalized imagery and is often misunderstood and alienates others from what the movement really seeks to do. Maybe this why feminism is a problem? Maybe, maybe not. Feminism makes so many people uncomfortable, because it questions deep-seated ideologies that have existed in our society for centuries. To say that we must all be equal is problematic situation for those at the top because it challenges the status quo. However, those at the top aren’t to be blames for this alone. By distancing ourselves from the very notion of feminism, we unknowingly perpetuate prejudice and inequality. And now that is the problem! And the worst part is we are a part of the problem.