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Making Sense of Feminism: “Are YOU a Feminist?”

Posted on April 11, 2012 in Society

By Bhavna Mittal:

One line I am almost quoted by suitors I turn down is —“I was kind of expecting this- you are such a feminist anyway. In fact, I’m pretty certain you are a lesbian” Almost every time this line perturbs me simply because I don’t understand the profiling. What makes people assume I am a feminist? And a lesbian?

Just because I talk about equality for women in their personal and professional life, does that mean I am a man-hating lesbian? Does that mean that I believe in the existence of a utopian world which is devoid of the Y-chromosome?

This is just an example of the confusion among the masses over the concept of feminism. Feminists don’t ask for special treatment, they simply ask for justice and equality for women- at home, at the workplace, at school and even in the bed-room. A feminist doesn’t necessarily have to be a woman or a gay man. In fact, if you sit down to understand the basic concept behind the feminist movement, most educated men too would agree with the policies it’s trying to propagate.

In a country like India, it’s difficult not to be a feminist. The feminist in me is sick of reading about the plights of baby Falak and Afrin, or being told that every Indian girl must stick to a timetable because she automatically becomes undesirable after a certain age. While feminist groups in the west are fighting for equal and higher wages, the women here are still struggling to have a say in the most irrelevant aspects of daily life. It’s essential to understand the differences in the demands of the feminist groups all over the world. We cannot forget the fact that women suffrage is an issue in certain countries just like something as heinous as female foeticide is still a rampant practice. However, despite the differences, in the end each feminist is just another human being, waiting for the day when gender differences become a thing of the past.

The girl who fights against the society that tries to put a premature end to her education is a feminist, and so is the woman who believes that it isn’t ok for a man to hit her or decide if and when she should get pregnant or even have sex. A feminist doesn’t take it lightly if a man sexually harasses her at work or if she gets passed on for a promotion. Even the girl who loves make-up and dreams of a prince charming can have feminist views; feminism isn’t just about shouting slogans, burning bras or slut walks; it’s more about realizing for oneself the worth of a woman and trying  to live a life that worth that realization.

There are no real or unreal feminists, there are just believers and non- believers. If you believe that you, your daughter, your sister or your niece deserves respect and a chance to take on the world head on without her sex being a hurdle then YOU ARE A FEMINIST.