“Feminism in India huh…? Why the heck do we need that ‘shit’?”
““Keep your voice low; don’t forget that you’re a girl.”
“Don’t forget that at the end of the day, you have to leave your own family behind and go to a different family.”
“Mind you; no one’s going to tolerate such behaviour from your end after marriage.”
Sounds familiar! Doesn’t it?
I am pretty sure every single teenager girl who has arrived adolescence would have heard these lines at least once in her life. The lines, which time and again, leave us questioning if being a woman make us any less than a male?
Let’s begin with our own family.
Every so often, our grandmas, moms, dads, grandpas present a pretty standard image of the ‘woman’s role in society.’ They keep telling us not to be so modern or up-to-date. They speak about the importance of giving more prominence to the household than our profession in the time yet to come.
They don’t understand that the conventional views that they think of as ‘sensible’ and ‘thoughtful’ guidance, in reality, grips the ability to end somebody’s dreams. These beliefs have the power to end someone’s independence.
Al right, so you think that talking about feminism in India will turn you into a super women, right?
Then, why do we need Feminism in India?
What the heck is this feminism? What’s the definition of a feminist? What is modern feminism? What is anti-feminism?
Too many questions about feminism in India with a lot of aggravating answers… Right?
Let me tell you, that feminism is not at all what we think of it to be. It is a lot more than just ending male sexist outlooks. Feminism is a complete renovation of society as we recognize it, along with the interconnecting positions of caste, class, race and sexual characteristics.
I know that our ‘modern’ society claims that men and women are two equivalent creations of God. But is it true? Don’t we have a distinct set of rules and regulations to live our lives? Don’t people ever judge and differentiate us regarding our gender differences?
In reality, the stress on this ‘different set of rulebooks’ is so firm that to battle against it and break it off is a hard-hitting issue. The societal pyramid prevailing in India in footholds of class, sex, caste, and age has a terrible clutch over the social order and females in India.
And the most arresting aspect of feminism in India is that MEN commenced it. Yes, you read that right! Ladies joined the battle at present — at the end of the 20th century.
Don’t you believe me? Well, just have a look at some of the real-life examples of feminism in India:
Over and over again, a married woman finds her mother-in-law bothersome.
A female businessperson or artist often faces condemnation from another female tycoon.
Your female friend judges you when you go off the beam:
“Isn’t her outfit too short? She must be a slut with loose sexual morals.”
“Look at the salwar kameez she’s wearing! She looks like a behen Ji.”
And how many women do you think will feel proud of your achievements and join you in your gala?
You know the answer. Right? So now, you understand what the problem with us is.
The problem is that we don’t even stand up for our own identity. We don’t let ourselves nurture. We (often Indian women) make Indian women defenceless, uncomfortable and come in the way of their growth. So, is it judicious to treat the whole male community differently just because some of them are not decent to women?
The answer is “NO.”
My mother expects me to get back home by 6 pm (of course that’s because she cares for me). And it’s not just me; all of us are always judged, inspected and analyzed by every person around us.
“Going out? Don’t forget to carry your dupatta to wrap yourself”.
“Don’t color your hair, or else no man will marry you…” (As if my sole aim in life is to marry a chap who cannot stand my hair color)
I know, I know, our close relatives (who genuinely care for us) often make these statements. By and large, their intention is never to offend us. Our mothers and fathers make rulebooks and limits for their dear daughters and expect us to obey these guidelines blindly as it’s for our benefit. Most of us are living under this cloud of fear and have started mutely acknowledging this way of life.
In consequence, we cannot curb the feminism in India to only the struggle between males and females. I believe that the liberation of the feminist movement consists of breaking away from the authorities of societal customs.
After all, the definition of feminist is not ‘anti-men’ but being ‘pro-women.’
With this, I don’t mean that ‘all men are saints.’ By all means, mounting cases of eve-teasing, rapes, domestic abuse creating headlines sums up the outlook few hostile men have for women in India.
So, what is modern feminism?
Before we move ahead let me precisely define feminism:
“Feminism lies on the simple principle that boys and girls deserve the same privileges, human rights, and prospects. The resolution is to construct a society of equivalents, to provide persons with the freedom of choice.”
Being a feminist does not mean that you consider women can’t voice their opinions. It rather means you understand that, even though some may be fortunate enough to express themselves, a number of them can’t.
Feminism today isn’t about telling a girl what to do. In fact, it is providing them the freedom to choose to do whatsoever they wish to do. No matter if they decide to be a doctor, an engineer, a business tycoon or an exceptional wife or mother. Feminism won’t ever ask a woman to leave the “qualities a woman has.”
A feminist is not someone who hates men or who is against the ideology of a woman taking care of her family. A feminist is someone who believes in “the equality between sexes.” Feminism is for everybody.
Yes, it asks the same of manhood.
Feminism declares that even men can be what they pick out to be. They can be business leaders or house managers. The choice can be his with no embarrassment or disgrace at all. In essence, feminism is not about men hating. In point of fact, it offers a breathing space to men as well. To sum up, if, at the moment, any of us can speak in public, select a career of choice, or get acceptable payment or even dress up according to our aspiration, we need to thank feminism for it.
So, what’s the need for feminism in the world?
Forget about the world, why do we need feminism in India?
We need feminism because you and I owe certain dues to the viewpoint: we can choose to be what we want to be, regardless of our masculinity or femininity.
We need feminism in India for the reason that in India, where 34,651 rape cases were reported in 2015, the idea of feminism gives females a right over their sexuality as well as their bodies.
Because feminism states that the rape is not a victim’s mistake, so it’s better to humiliate the rapists than to dishonor its victim.
We need feminism in India as it clarifies us that to tie the knot we don’t need to pay a person (because day a female offspring is born her father starts worrying about her marriage and dowry.)
We need feminism in India as there are millions of daughters who are still struggling to be born (perhaps because a daughter is a liability while a son is an asset).
We need feminism today as when we walk down the aisle; we have to accept our husband’s last name (who comes with a price tag).
We need feminism in India because even in the present day, we treat single mothers, divorced women, and disloyal women as untouchables. We need it as we still disregard ‘live-in relationships’ (living out of marriage vows with a lover). A single daughter in her late twenties is yet a problem who brings indignity to her family.
We need a feminist movement because Bollywood celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan can demand greater compensation for their characters in a movie (It shows their power as a ‘superstar’). But in the same society, an artist like Vidya Balan or Priyanka Chopra cannot request a payment that’s equivalent with their male colleagues (It shows their stubborn arrogances, and not as a contest for a comparable position in the society).
We need feminism in India because it’s way too unsafe to be an Indian woman. We need it because we educate our daughters that how to avoid rape. We tell them that strolling alone at the middle of the night makes them “an easy target.” Why don’t we instruct our sons to not view girls as ‘entities to satisfy sexual urges’?
We need feminism in India because we face extreme harassment and male domination in just about every single industry.
We need a feminist movement as mentally, emotionally and physically, Indian women have their self-esteem and self-worth at stake. And in such a situation, women’s liberation and feminism that stresses on the one and the same status of both the genders is the only way out.
So now, that you are aware of the facts about feminism and the definition of feminist, tell me – Are we, in any way, criticizing or critiquing men by following a feminist perspective?
No, not at all! How can we? After all, feminism is for everybody.
Endowing women with human rights and civil liberties does not mean depreciating or devaluing men. Men, as well, undergo sexual role assumptions that place hopes upon them to live and behave in a definite manner. However, feminists consider that every single person holds different assets and abilities as a human being. They believe that every single individual must be treated in the same way — not for his/her sexual category, but in spite of it.
So yes, we want feminism in India.
We need feminism in India as even in the 21st century, a mom has to request her young daughter to wrap her body with a ‘dupatta’ as she cares for her.
We need a feminist movement as we need to do a lot more for our safety than just tying up “rakhi” on our brother’s wrist.
We need feminism in India as a sickening statement like, “Getting out after 6 in the evening is nothing more than an invitation to rape” sounds absolutely terrible. India needs feminism as still our fathers’ finance more for our marriage than our schooling.
I am a proud feminist, and I do believe that women and men must be treated the same way. And it’s not because women are better than men are, but because we’re human and deserves the parallel human rights.
So the next time, you hold the door for her or utter ‘Ladies First’ dredge up that women don’t want you to be nice to them. We just want equal opportunities, one and the same privileges, equivalent civil liberties and a NORMAL LIFE just as you live! So yes, we want FEMINISM IN INDIA!
Do you believe that we need feminism in India? Share your thoughts with us.
Feature Image: Source