By Shruti Kesavan:
The first thing that comes to mind while looking into the issue of feminism is whether the male species are even programmed to put aside their male egos and look beyond their petty chauvinism into something that aims at equality and equal opportunities being provided to both sexes.
Being a true feminist at heart, I personally feel that a man can never be referred to as a male feminist simply because it just doesn’t seem right. There is a huge difference between being a male feminist and a pro feminist. On one hand, male feminists, I would assume, being very few in number are the selected few who would look towards issues like ‘slut walks’ rationally without really playing the blame game first. Also, their numbers close to negligible in comparison to the umpteen number of anti-feminists and men with huge male egos who are always ready to challenge women and their abilities in every walk of life. On the other hand being a pro-feminist would be an individual (irrespective of being male or female) who is only aiming at bridging the gap between the two sexes and genuinely giving a woman her well deserved credit in the society.
There are two case studies that I have closely studied with respect to this topic. The Slut Walk and the Shah Bano case were both women-centric issues. The former revolved around the concept of ‘don’t get raped over don’t rape’. We live in a society of apparent equals where the women are given equal opportunities as men and hold equal and sometimes even better positions than men. However, a simple question then arises: Why is it that women should not party late at night and men can and then why can’t a man learn to behave at night? If equal freedom is given to both genders, why is it that only one of them is questioned? The latter was about the first Muslim woman who fought for alimony, which raised many questions about the Islamic personal laws and a need for a change in the perspective of how a woman is viewed in the Islamic society today. This further highlighted the controversial issue of the need for a Uniform Civil Code in India.
Both cases on the contrary had many male supporters but if you would look at it from a bird’s eye view, the presence of these supporters did not really affect or even mildly change the perspective of the larger male dominant crowd. These case studies stand to prove the fact that a negligible crowd can’t do much in situations like these apart from only showing their solidarity.
Ironically though the one thing I did notice was how there is a minor word play even in the name of male feminism and how the male sex even wants to have their name mentioned as a prefix, even when they are apparently for feminism and women’s rights. Just the usage of the term pro-feminist would do them the same justice, but their need to include their male identity in everything only brings one question to mind- male feminists, are they really for women or are they just proving to us that they are doing us a favour by standing for us?