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De-constructing The ‘Myths’ Around ‘Bra Burning, Men-Hating, And Family Breaking’ Feminists

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By Mannat Tipnis:

Very often Feminists, both men and women, are seen defending the supposed misconceptions surrounding Feminism. These range from feminists being bra burners, men haters and the nemesis of the familial structure. Feminism is based on the recognition of the fact that women occupy a relatively weaker position in a socially unjust society. The movement isn’t a polite request for rights and has never projected itself to be just this. It targets the inner, frightening truth, the fact that it is a politically destabilizing force, and if allowed to prosper, would change the basis of social order.

bra-protest feminism

I contend that the myths about Feminism aren’t myths at all, that each accusation is based on a grain of truth and must be accepted as legitimate contentions. In this article, I will try to tackle a few.

Feminists are “Bra Burners” – Technically, there were no bras burnt. During the Miss America Pageant in 1968, the bra was used as a symbol of the many ways women are oppressed. Women were invited to throw the bra away, again, no bra was burnt. But that’s beside the point. A bra isn’t something every woman likes to wear, it can be uncomfortable, to say the last. No sales woman would ever recommend a bra based on the level of comfort it provides, but rather if it shaped your breasts in a certain way, which change as fashions change. Some recent studies prove that women who didn’t wear a bra had stronger chest muscles, and stronger backbones. Feminists aren’t opposed to the idea of wearing a bra, but rather against bra being the normative standard to judge and construct women according to a standard of beauty dictated by society. They are against the questions that are asked if I choose to be comfortable on a hot sunny day, and the apparent scarring effect it can have on people if they see through my shirt. They are against the lack of choice this leaves me with regarding when and where I deem it fit to wear a piece of under cloth.

Feminists are men haters – No. Feminists don’t hate men. There is a certain man I hate; the pity is that most men in the society are that certain ‘’actually existing man’’, produced in a patriarchal structure. We don’t hate individual men and our fight is not for individual women. We don’t blame this man, but the existing social order produces a man that deems it fit to regard me as less deserving and legitimate to suppose and define what my goals in life must be. Women encounter this on a daily basis, it may seem far away for some, but isn’t for a majority. So, when a man grabs my hand on a bus, comments on my clothes, doesn’t give me a job or supposes my job comes with underlined benefits for him, this anger can turn into rage. Rage is a natural human emotion, years of suppression generate this emotion. Communities and revolutions are brought together around this emotion. Women are a community too, the movement complex, encompassing issues of class, caste, race and gender. When women recognize this, and see that it is legitimized, very often their anger turns into rage. I love certain men, those men are not that patriarchal man, but it’s a pity that those men are an exception.

Feminist’s are family haters – The material ramifications that emerge because of the structure of family today are not only unjust and unconstitutional, but also oppressive. Stepping out into the public sphere comes with the added responsibility of being solely responsible for the functioning of our homes. Thus, even an Indra Nooyi is responsible for the actions of the woman who comes to clean her house and cook her food. This limits a majority of women to “suitable” jobs that make this possible, thus occupying a position in the economic sphere that is not conducive to maximizing their creative potential. On the other hand, staying at home leads to dependence on the working member of the family (husband or father in most cases) for even the slightest bit of money ranging from daily expenses or the money you’d like to spend to even buy your toiletries. This may not seem very odd, till you see the other gender having to do the same. Women are constantly surrounded by moral codes that tell them to be the guardians of the “izzat” of the family, in other words “what happens at home, should remain at home”, again leading to a lack of agency in marriage. The conventional patriarchal family offers comfort, to be within boundaries and feel safe, to never cross the “Lakshman rekha” for the fear of what lies outside, most times what lies inside is the problem. Patriarchy dogmatises the myriad of ways in which two people can be there for one another. Feminists do hate, and would like to destroy the patriarchal family, not because they believe love or familial ties are inherently wrong, but they’d like to reconstruct family based on the principles of justice and equality, not a dogmatic structure that is rarely a source of comfort.

People are scared to be free, is an ad hoc conclusion I reached a long time ago (ad hoc, because I hope it changes). Feminism aims to change old markers so irrevocably that they don’t exist any-more, if then a woman does not wear a bra, hates a man who tries to take advantage of her and chooses to be a lone traveller, this is only because there are other brilliant horizons that she recognises. This is a scary thought for many, but must never be deemed illegitimate.

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  1. Babar

    Feminists want everyone to assume that all men are rapists and pedophiles. This is why men are separated from children on planes (here), men should not walk with their daughters (here), boys are failed in schools by feminists (here), and they invent stories to demonize men (here).

    1. Feminist

      you are funny and pathetic. I like reading your comments because its hilarious because its utter bullshit. hehe 😀

      but dont worry, u are the smartest ‘man’ on earth right?!! We all respect you because you are a unique funny creature 😀

    2. themaverickwoman

      second u 🙂

  2. Babar

    Below are some quotes from feminists:

    “I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig.” – Andrea Dworkin from her book ‘Ice and Fire’.

    “Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometimes gain from the experience.” – Catherine Comin, Vassar College.

    “All sex, even consensual sex between a married couple, is an act of violence perpetrated against a woman – Catherine MacKinnon (Feminist).

    “All men are rapists and that’s all they are” – Marilyn French, Author.

    The fact remains that men today put up with being called rapists, suffer from poor health, die younger, work dangerous jobs, pay alimony, lose children, more men are homeless, more men commit suicide, face bias by juries, are handed tougher sentences in courts, less money is spent on their health even though they work harder, retire later, and have lost limbs and their lives working in extreme conditions to support their wives and children.

    1. Fem

      Below are some quotes from feminists:

      “I do not wish women to have power over men, but over themselves.” – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.

      “We are not feminist because we hate men. We are feminist because we respect and love men and we don’t understand why they do not always return that respect” – Germaine Greer

      “A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men” – Gloria Steinem

      The fact remains that men today put up with being called rapists {Fem: only the ones who behave as rape apologist, for e.g. you}, suffer from poor health { Fem: as well as women}, die younger { Fem: as well as women }, work dangerous jobs { Fem: if you mean army then please know – women are not allowed ‘by men’ to work in these jobs }, pay alimony { Fem: many women take care of their children single-handedly while the men run off }, lose children { Fem: as well as women }, more men are homeless { Fem: women too }, more men commit suicide { Fem: please share info source for validation}, face bias by juries { Fem: no jury system in India but please share info source for validation if you are talking global}, are handed tougher sentences in courts { Fem: please share info source for validation}, less money is spent on their health even though they work harder { Fem: please share info source for validation; and also for supporting the claim that they work ‘harder’}, retire later { Fem: not in India; And elsewhere I think we too would like to know why should women retire earlier? That’s our loss of livelihood which seems unfair}, and have lost limbs and their lives working in extreme conditions to support their wives and children { Fem: if you mean army or mines then please know – women are not allowed ‘by men’ to work in these jobs; if you mean factories or any other places where a loss of limb is possible, women have been there too. The only reason women are not working in any specific sector because they are not ‘allowed’ to work. It’s not a choice. It’s a compulsion put on their head by decision makers – often mostly men – without asking for their views or consent. World over women have been fighting it and winning (very) slowly too.}.

    2. Babar

      Looks like you don’t know the meaning of the word ‘more’.

    3. Templetwins

      I think feminism is like any religious text book, you can cherry pick the quotes and say this is evil or this is what humanity is about. The very idea such a concept which has no concrete founding and anyone including man-haters, anti-sex workers are part of the umbrella of feminism makes the ideology synonym with that of religious ideologies. Because you have to cherry pick the verses in order to prove it is barbaric and cherry pick the verses to prove it has values of life.

      Just because the ills of men had been done by a ruler who had penis wouldn’t invalidate it. Be it may be the wars that only men had to fight or the rescue boats that men have to give up. Margaret Thatcher who was a woman pushed men into wars, does it make all the women accountable for the death of men? The white feather movement was comprised of women who force and shame men to fight in wars, do we have to blame all women for it?

      Alimony is something you pay for an adult but not a child, you pay child support for the welfare of child which is hardly used on the child anyways. http://i.imgur.com/80L7O.png

      Yea when ever you said women too you didn’t quite understood the word ‘more’. Exception is not the rule Fem. There is a lot of compulsion for women in our society, the only things which women seem to fight against are the ones which favors them. Feminist complains that there are less female CEOs in India but never complains that there are hardly any female septic tank cleaner in India. You are looking at the glass ceiling but hardly looking at the glass cellar.

  3. themaverickwoman

    Mannat ..Love u woman… too apt..I hope the feminist haters on this page… comprehend what u just explained… and only “ignorance” doesn’t remain their point of view ……..its high time people understand that we feminist love men around us … arent bra burners .. n love our families 🙂

  4. Babar

    It is ironic that women’s rallies against sexual objectification has seen women indulge in nudity. Apparently women want to
    protest against being labelled sex objects by going topless. The whole ‘I will wear what I want’ and ‘don’t judge me’ posters and statements are pointless because they are not fighting
    objectification, they are used to further propel the agenda of feminists – You can’t fight sexualization and objectification by sexualizing and objectifying yourselves.

    Apparently it is liberating for women to wear miniskirts and cleavage revealing tops, while they constantly keep tugging at their skirts to cover up a bit more, and pull at their tops from the neck to hide their cleavage. Today, women are told by feminists to sexualize themselves in the name of liberation. They are told that
    in order to be seen as progressive and intellectual, they must dress a certain way. Women today are so systematically and
    strategically being brainwashed that they don’t even realize it.

    1. S

      Thank god we have you to realize all this for us. What would we have done without you!

  5. S

    People are scared to be free. Yes!

  6. Babar

    Why do we need reservation for women, from the parliament to the corporate world? It shows that women cannot compete with men fairly, and less qualified women are now taking over men’s jobs. While men need money to support their families, women need jobs to spend on clothes and cosmetics. Since women cannot compete with men, they cry reservation. Women’s incompetence also explains why they have sex with their bosses to climb the ladder in the corporate world.

    1. Timur

      Babar, I cannot thank God enough for sending someone a God with unparalleled intelligence and intellect to this planet in the form of a human like you! What would we do without you? I say, let kill all these baeuty-obsessed, attention-seeking, sex-loving, hounour-spoiling women and declare you God.! 😀

      – A girl.

  7. Babar

    “We can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage.” – Robin Morgan (ed), Sisterhood is Powerful.

    “No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.” – Interview with Simone de Beauvoir, Sex, Society, and the Female Dilemma.

    Feminism was funded by the Rockefellers in the early 1960s to send women in the workforce, so that the other half of the population could be taxed; it was a gimmick to control society and prey on wage earners. The entire base of feminism was founded on the basis of creating an imaginary world of unequality and patriarchy, where the bosses in control pitted men and women against each other, or more precisely, women against men, sat back, relaxed, and watched as their heinous game unfolded. The net result with women in the workforce was a generation of neglected children, havoc in families, and an increase in divorce rates – all the while mockery was made of the sacred institution of marriage those in control collected their dollars.

    It was necessary that a negative image of men was created by the media, as it furthered the agenda of feminists, because men-hating was a necessary part of the entire scheme of feminism to control and dominate. In a short span of 50 years, families have been destroyed, children have grown up with single parents, women have longed for love all the while being targeted with an intense hatred of men, as love means marriage, and that is detrimental for what feminism stands for. The idea of an arranged marriage is cringed upon, love marriages take the limelight, and with that come the need for multiple transient sexual relationships – all the while the goal of feminists is propelled towards destruction of family life. The mass indoctrination has come with a huge cost, in which both men and women have suffered. While feminism talks about the liberation of women, it does the exact opposite.

    1. A Staunch Feminist!

      I wonder if such brains were put to some actual use rather than outright misogyny, where would the world be.
      Applause, Mister.

    2. S

      Careful Staunch Feminist! You are destroying homes, neglecting generations of children, breaking marriages with your comment. Please hail to the oppressed men and get back to where you belong. (Under his feet that is). ;p

      After all we are living in our own ‘imaginary world of inequality and patriarchy’. Hear the man speak and bow to his superior intelligence.

  8. Shubhra

    You really didn’t say this “The net result with women in the workforce was a generation of neglected children, havoc in families, and an increase in divorce rates – all the while mockery was made of the sacred institution of marriage those in control collected their dollars”. What kind of a sexist comment is this? So children are neglected because women are working and it is the sole responsibility of the women in any relationship to take care of the children. Are you for real? What century did you drop down from. Hey so what if your husband beats you or is unfaithful to you. Just keep it all in but don’t get a divorce. After all misery is what everyone strives for in their life. We don’t care how happy happiness is. Hats off to you dude for staying ignorant for soo long.

    1. S

      And our warrior is going to continue on his path blindly despite home breakers like us trying to open his eyes.

    2. Babar

      If there is anything sexist, it is your comment, where, you have blatantly stated, albeit indirectly, that divorce is a result of a man’s wrongdoing, as though it is never a woman’s fault – that is sexist – which advertently propels the feminist agenda. Yes, there have always been divorces and there will always be, but you have failed to notice how, since the commencement of the feminist movement, divorce rates have shot through the roof. Furthermore, what explains the fact that children today are being left with in-laws, babysitters, domestic help, and in daycare centers? And are you now going to ask if pregnancy, giving birth, and breast feeding are the sole responsibility of a woman?

    3. Cees Tompot

      Babar, you are always soo much fun to read.

  9. Prashant Kaushik

    Article sounds like a manifesto of a political party.
    100% idealistic but rarely put to practice.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Yet I appreciate your efforts. I hope that it can open eyes of those writers who take inspirations from feminist movements to attack religion, government and society and thus play into the hands of a particular political ideology which may have nothing special to do with the betterment of women.

  10. Fem

    @Baber

    “Looks like you don’t know the meaning of the word ‘more’.”

    What gave you this insight?

  11. Monistaf

    “Feminists are men-haters”, not all but a lot of them. Even your own Emma Watson said that Feminism has become synonymous with “man-hating” and it has to stop. Here is what the editor of a feminist magazine “Ms. Magazine” says. “I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.” — Robin Morgan, Ms. Magazine Editor. OK, so I clearly understand and accept that no movement can be defined by its extremists, but movements can and should be defined by how they react to those extremists. There have been no write-ups or condemnation of any of these actions or statements by feminists, which means they are accepted by the silent majority or dismissed as insignificant, which then obviously compromises the claims that the movement is not about hating men.

    Feminism by definition is based on the belief that men and women should have equal rights or in other words, it is fighting for political, economic and social equality of the sexes. If Feminism is really about gender egalitarianism then, there should be feminists who are working hard to correct imbalances which favor women at the expense of men. Where is the outrage about laws that exclude men (http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2014/09/male-rapes-in-india/) with the exception of the author and a few of the women who recognize and commented. Where is the outrage for a law that is unjust towards men, a good example being section 498a. Where is the outrage for false rape and dowry accusations? When there is extreme violence and injustice (Nirbhaya), there were millions of men that stood up with women and protested and stood by them to support stricter laws for such perpetrators in the future. When was the last time a woman (Feminist) stood up for men’s rights or lack there of, or condemned the unprecedented and extreme violence that men and boys experience? There are no feminists who expend any effort to correct the egalitarianism where women have the upper hand. This means that feminism is empirically, that which promotes the interests of women rather than that which aims for true equality between the sexes. Reciting a dictionary definition of feminism and pretending that it somehow alters the accumulated evidence of several decades is somewhat naive to say the least.

    The other issue with feminism it the premise that it is always men who are the perpetrators and women are the victims. This is one way to strip women of all moral responsibility or moral agency in the perpetuation of the cycle of violence that is all consuming. There is enough evidence to support the fact that children exposed to violence in early childhood are more likely to use it as a tool of conflict resolution when they grow up, thus perpetuating the cycle of violence. Why can feminists not accept responsibility and educate both parents about violence against kids. There are several articles here on YKA that highlight violence against children, but it is a bruise on a feminist’s ego to accept that women can be part of the problem.

    It is for these, and many other reasons that the movement has lost a lot of traction amongst informed women. Just look up “women against feminism” and you will be surprised.

    1. Rohan

      I think it’s unfair to expect feminists to not only spend their time rectifying the massive, omnipresent, and daily overt and tacit subjugation of women, but also to fight against laws and situations that put men at a disadvantage. That’s a bit like telling an anti-superstition campaigner, “It’s nice that you’re trying to stamp out belief in ghosts. But what have you done about that obscure superstition held by those couple of hundred people in that isolated village in the middle of that Maoist-held territory? Until you make efforts to stamp that out as well, you’re not really doing a good job.”

      Laws unfavourable to men certainly exist, and should be amended. However, for me personally, culturally ingrained patriarchy and misogyny (which affect fully half of humankind!) seems like a much, much more pressing issue to fight against than the injustice faced by a few thousand men who’ve been imprisoned on false grounds. I’m not suggesting that the plight of these men is less important. I’m saying that with my limited resources, I have to choose which injustices I want to devote my energy to fighting, and misogyny is what I choose.

      However, in the end, I see that you and I have the same goals, namely, a world where all people are treated the same way. Hence, I think what we really need is cooperation. I feel more strongly about the injustice heaped on women. You (seem to) feel more strongly about the plight of men. We should unite forces, so that both of these injustices can be stamped out. You handle your end, I’ll handle mine, and we can both shout out encouraging words to each other once in a while. How does that sound? 🙂

    2. Monistaf

      Rohan – When a movement as large and widespread as feminism claims that they stand for gender equality, but clearly ignore or refuse to act when there is inequality that favors one gender, it is hypocrisy to say the least. If feminists only want to focus on what they, and you, think are the “most pressing issues” like systemic patriarchal domination, then, more power to you, but drop your universally appealing and noble claims about the fight for “equality of the sexes”. After all, the organization fighting for mens rights, is called MRM or “Mens Rights Movement” and they are clear about what they stand for. The men’s rights movement contests claims that men have greater power, privilege or advantage than women do, and focuses on what it considers to be issues of male disadvantage, discrimination and oppression.
      “Culturally ingrained Patriarchy and misogyny” is the all too familiar mantra that feminists blame for their woes and sadly, it is true. However, it rings hollow without any recognition or acknowledgement of the fact that there are plenty of traditions and practices unfavorable to women which are fiercely defended and preserved by “Women” of the “patriarchy”.
      Oh, and if Laws are unjust towards men, then, they are unjust for half of humankind too. Just saying..

    3. Fem

      @Rohan – Very well balanced reply. Obviously it would be overlooked by the ones who are wearing blinders.

    4. V1

      Ever noticed how women were the first feminists of the world?
      Where men face inequality, they should speak up and hope that women join in, as women supporting feminism have. The oppressive class doesn’t just wake up one day and realise that it’s wrong. Those oppressed need to take the first step.
      And women can be a part of the problem just as much as men can. After all, our own non feminist mothers create limits for us and tell us to stick to them. If a woman disagrees and says women are perfect, that’s her ego and problem, not all feminists’.
      Coming to violence on children, that is also a side effect of patriarchy. We are taught that the physically strong should rule, which is why some people use violence to make others obey. After all, isn’t the most basic reason for the existence of patriarchy the fact that men are physically stronger?

      Oh and irrespective of my status as a feminist, I support the fact that everyone should be educated well and taught about things that make their lives happier and healthier .

  12. Leaf

    I am only here for Babar’s comments. I think he/she must have gotten tired of ToI’s comment section and has come here. loltastic

  13. Babar

    Nude protests by a bunch of exhibitionists with too much time on their hands.

  14. dileep

    I can say only in one sentence,these all things are originated by selfishness.

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biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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