The F word!
And the modern 'empowered' woman's disenchantment with it.
"Are you a feminist?"
"Well no. Of course not! What makes you think so?"
"Not much. Except that you sounded like you’re not the kind of woman who would take nonsense lying down."
"Oh, that’s true. But I'm not a feminist."
"Would you be ok with being paid less than your male colleague for the same amount of work?"
"Why? Of course not!"
"Would you be ok with doing all the household chores yourself without any help from your husband even though your working hours are more or less the same?"
"No. Never." (With an incredulous expression on her face)
"So you think you have equal rights as that of a man, even if you don't have that extra ‘y’ chromosome?"
"I do. Who on earth in her right senses wouldn't?"
"One who isn’t a feminist.”
I have had umpteen such conversations. So many that now my retorts and questions don't need to be consciously thought of. I fire them the moment I come across "I'm not a feminist but...." It's ridiculous how less
feminism is understood in India and it pains me to know that many urban, educated women don't like to have anything to do with feminism.
Feminism basically is the advocacy for equal rights- political, economical and social. It is a school of thought that says a woman is a human being first, and has every right to lead a normal human life that is granted to a man including the freedom to make her own decisions.
All’s well then. Or am I missing out something? Am I deliberately not bringing up anything that gives feminism the negative tinge it carries? Girls, if this ‘F’ word brings to your mind images of unattractive spinsters clad in kurtas and carrying jholas, that's only the bathwater that needs to be thrown out. Don't throw feminism out of your window because of those outdated associations.
Half a century back, women needed to resort to gimmicks like burning their lingerie to be noticed and listened to. And if the activists that were the most visible were the kinds who didn't think a feminine body was very essential to who they were, it cannot in any way mean that every feminist thinks that way or that if you love to flaunt your body, you can't be a feminist. Nothing can be further from the truth. A woman is as much a feminist in a mini-skirt and lipstick as she is in shirt-and-denims.
Similarly, feminism isn’t incompatible with romance and marriage. In fact, a happy marriage can exist only between two perfectly independent individuals- a symbiosis; not one in which one is 'God' no matter how ungodly his behaviour and one is the eternal 'daasi' no matter what she could have done with her life. As Dr. M. Scott Peck says in "The Road Less Travelled"- a classic in psychiatric literature, "When someone says that he/she can’t live without his/her love, it is a description of parasitism, not love. There is no choice, no freedom involved in your relationship. Two people love each other only when they are quite capable of living without each other but choose to live with each other." Now you decide. Is feminism anti-romance or does it actually provide the best setting for a healthy romance?
Also, feminism is not female chauvinism. In fact, it is a mark of deep rooted sexism that a call for equality sounds like female chauvinism. Feminists are not anti-men. We are just anti-MCPs (Male Chauvinist Pigs, in case you are new to feminist writings).
Let’s spread the word around. It's not uncool to be a Feminist you know.
Guest post by Sudha Shashwati; www.thelidislifted.blogspot.in