What I think it means to be a feminist
Women are not downtrodden. Women are not treated unfairly. Women and men are at par. Women have nothing to fight for. There is no need for Feminists and there most certainly is no need for feminism. So you would like to believe. A lot of people are out there who do believe this. They are either ignorant of what it means to be born a girl, live as a woman or they choose to overlook everything that has been instilled as normalcy into their systems.
Every day when I come back home, I see my mother tidying up after us. Sometimes when the maid has taken the day off, she does the cooking, cleaning and the washing. When there are get-togethers, my aunts, my mother and sometimes even my sister and I, are the ones serving food while the men sit around laughing, arguing, raising their voices, discussing politics. It doesn’t strike one of them (at least it hasn’t struck one of them through the course of these many years) to get up and serve each other or at the least, serve himself. Then again, it never struck any of the women to ask the men to serve themselves either. Why this quiet acceptance? This blind turning of the eye at something that is clearly unfair and unequal?
If we look around, the inequality extends to the private sphere and the public sphere. Your figure is judged, your looks are appraised: your worth estimated by what you wear and what you look like, if you are born a woman. I cannot remember men being made to feel insecure about their paunches and ill-kept figures. Or their disgusting practice of urinating wherever they feel like being severely discouraged. Or their habits of making women feel like sex objects, objected to. Some of us raise our voices but the ones we are trying to reach out to mostly miss the point.
If women walk out on the street scantily clad, it’s no man’s right to rape them or even look at them lecherously. Yet they do and the sad thing is, amongst those that don’t, there are many who believe that such a woman deserved to get raped.
Refer to the heinous crime of the bus gang rape that took place recently. While there is a furore in the country over it, there are going to be many people who believe and opine that the girl should have been more careful.
It cannot also be taken for granted that the woman should be the one taking care of the children, always putting her career on hold. Duties around the house and in family life should be shared. Marital rape, marital abuse shouldn’t be taking place.
And if you are a woman, on a date, and think of yourself as someone who believes in equal rights amongst everyone, it would be wise to go dutch if your date wants to pay the bill if he believes that a man should pay the bill.
This is a clumsy article, since my thoughts are fast and my words few and I feel strongly about feminism. I am a feminist and so are you if you believe that every girl should get to walk comfortably without having the fear of being raped; every one irrespective of their genders should be treated equally at work; there should be no marginalization when it comes to subject preferences; there should be no discrimination, no matter what your gender.
This is a guest article by AAYOTI SENGUPTA, 19, who is vocal, opinionated and wants to bring about change in existing society through her words.