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So, You Hate Feminism? You Won’t If You Understood What It Means!

More from Sufia Banu

By Sufia Banu:

Congratulations friend, for choosing to read this article. I promise this is not going to be a male-accusatory rant (Feminism isn’t about man-hating, it never was).

“Feminism has become an unpopular word,” said Emma Watson, UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, in the recent #HeForShe Special Event of the United Nations. I couldn’t have agreed with her more. And I ended up asking myself for about the two thousandth time — ‘Why has Feminism fallen out of favour?’

feminism

Understanding Feminism is very easy, and being a feminist is even easier, all you have to do is say (and stand by it) that, ‘I believe in gender equality.’ Feminism, by definition, is the idea that aims at establishing and defending equal rights for women in all aspects (political, economical, cultural and social). It is as uncomplicated as that.

Let alone men, several women today refuse to identify themselves as feminists. The expression ‘Feminism’ is seen by these women — in Miss Waston’s words — “too strong, too aggressive, isolating and anti-men, unattractive even.” This is largely because of how some institutions, advertently or inadvertently, have falsified the actual idea and spread rumours about feminists being bitchy, anti-men, pushy and even aggressive, lesbian women. All these are attempts to downplay the ‘Women’ question. It is about time to clear the mist, don’t you think?

Debunking the misguided notions about feminism:

1. Feminism is all about hating men

This is probably the root cause behind men and women giving up on feminism, or refusing to even consider it. Author and social activist Bell Hooks says in her book, Feminism Is for Everybody, “Masses of people think that Feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think Feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of Feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about Feminism from patriarchal mass media.” Do you see now? Feminism advocates equality and fairness for everyone, so the odd idea of hating-men, attempting to snub or eradicate them is pretty absurd.

2. Feminism is all about women, it does not facilitate men

To tell the truth, it does. Feminism does not only liberate women, but men too, from the false ideas of what constitutes male success i.e. machoism, emotionlessness, not a tad bit of vulnerability, born with leadership skills et al. What if you are lanky and pale? What if you want to cry at the funeral of a close one? What if you are good at following rather than leading? Do you become less of a man or less human when lacking these qualities? There is nothing wrong with being a follower, there is nothing wrong with showing tenderness and sensitivity, because these are basic human attributes. Why must men be denied becoming a fuller human being by embracing their natural inclinations?

3. Feminism doesn’t require men

How can we bring change or even think of fashioning the world into a better place, if half of the population does not feel welcome to participate in a cause that effects everybody? We need everyone in this collective struggle against pointless gender disparity.

4. I don’t need feminism because…

It is almost heartbreaking to see men & women posting photographs in social networking sites, claiming they don’t need Feminism because they don’t blame the entire race of men for something committed by a few. But to tell you the truth, Feminism is not a blame game, it is not a negative- fault-finding mechanism devised by elite women to become powerful, and rule over the universe. To quote Miss Watson again, “(Feminism) is the belief that men and women should have equal right and opportunity, it is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” And since not one country in the world can say that they have achieved gender equality, we need Feminism.

5. Aren’t all feminists ‘lesbians’ or ‘lesbian men-haters’?

Being labelled as a ‘lesbian’ for standing up for your rights is a really cheap trick to choke voices demanding equality. Since, in our society, the terms ‘lesbian’ or ‘homo’ is used as slang and most people have a phobia of being branded as one, those opposing gender-equality use it as a device to instil fear of being ostracised by the society. Lesbians can be feminists, and feminists may not be lesbians. And for the record, being a lesbian doesn’t imply being a man-hater.

6. Feminists are loud and aggressive

More often than not, when it comes to women, assertiveness is misinterpreted as aggressiveness, and doggedness as being overtly loud. A sheer bias has been rooted in our world with such a permanency, that assertive girls are called ‘bossy’, and a boy showing the same characteristic is branded as a future leader, even our saviour. Do you know why many feminists are loud and aggressive? Because we are frustrated. Frustrated at having to deal with the same problems over and over again, at home, at workplace, at educational institutions, at friends’ reunion, at our in-laws place, since our childhood, throughout our adulthood, and even in old age. And most of all, we are frustrated at the deep rooted inhibition ourselves.

Feminists, while some of you may be loud and proud, know that others can be quiet and firm but no less of a feminist. I had never been very demonstrative, and thought that I could never speak up for myself. Apparently, the idea was a sham. Be assertive, if not loud, be confident and take heed of what IBM’s first female CEO, Virginia Rometty once said, “…you have to be confident. Even though you are self-critical inside about what it is you may know or may not know. And that, to me, leads to taking risks”.

Did you know that you might be a feminist by default? 

Feminism does not downplay the abuses men are subjected to as a result of the ‘misuse’ of laws made to protect women (dowry laws et al), in fact feminism promotes and champions the cause of these male-victims.

Why?

Because feminism is all about ‘equality’. It really is. And if you believe in equality between genders (men, women & others), you are a feminist. I have friends who are careful to mention that they are not feminist but they constantly promote gender equality. I tell them — mate, you are an equalitarian, that makes you a feminist by default!

If you don’t limit your daughter from education, when you don’t expect any less from your daughter because she might give birth to a child later, you are a feminist.

If you think that your wife has equal guardianship right over your children, you are a feminist.

If you think that your sister deserves equal property rights, you are a feminist.

If you think your women-colleagues deserve equal pay because they are putting in equal amount of time and effort, you are a feminist.

We need more men like you in this world.

Among my acquaintances, I have observed some being afraid of feminists, while others simply lose their temper by the mere mention of the term. Partly, it is due to the distorted concept that feminism liberates women ‘at the expense’ of men. It arises from the wrong notion that men are natural controllers while women, as a result, are naturally controlled. The struggle here is for freedom. Freedom from the mislead inclination that makes us believe that giving orders makes life easier, and that taking them, makes life easier, too. But life should not be lead by doing things that are easy and safe.

I am talking about this because we need help to make the world fair-and-square. Together, you and I can make an equal world where ‘women would run half of our countries and companies & men would run half of our homes’. Our generation, the next generation, and all the generations after, are rooting on us.

You must be to comment.
  1. Krishnandu Sarkar

    Yes you are right. It was a nice read. What do you think about the special facilities provided to women (Like Ladies Coach in Trains / Ladies Seats in Bus etc.) should be withdrawn too if Feminism takes place someday? Because as you said, and I believe, Feminism is Equalism. So if someday everything becomes like that (Though I have serious doubt on that), those facilities should also be withdrawn right?

    1. humans

      No u r wrong…u know what whenever i go to that apartment of metro which is for Men and Women both…which is of course not reserved only for Women I feel scared coz there is 100 % possibilities that i will be molested any part of time while travelling in. If not me, then any other women for sure! And mind u. People who scare us is no one but can be any group of age of so called MEN. And please forget about taking any action against it on the spot. Please…!

    2. Fem

      Actually yes they should.

      And for that the first thing we require are the men who can keep their hands to themselves. And here we are not even asking to be respected and not be raped by eyes. We can still live with than and do not require special coaches/seats if the only thing we get are stares. Sadly that’s not the case. So when I look for women only spaces its not because they give us a seat to sit. But its for us to be in a place where we can probably not keep on trying to protect our bodies from hands from every direction for whatever time we are forced to stay close to vicinity of these hands.

      And for general information – Its a pain for us to. To be confined to those little spaces.In fact the first time I traveled alone in a train, my father wanted to book me into women’s couch. I had to wait for some time before I could get reservations. While the men could just get up and go as and when they got tickets without a worry in their heads. And when I finally did get a seat, I was sorely reminded of how little space we are given to live our life in dignity. It was not a happy feeling. Please remember that next time you rue that extra seat given to a woman. She despises it more than you. Because it is a constant reminder to her about how unsafe and unequal she is in this world.

    3. Krishnandu Sarkar

      Yeah I know and I’m aware of the situation, why this system is made. I’m not asking to withdraw the system right now. Only if we ever manage to get equality then only. Because I won’t even want any women to get equality in terms of Seat and Coach if we don’t manage to get equality in other terms too.

    4. vaspri

      @Fem, see this is where I do not understand the concept of being treated as equals. I am a male and use public transport in two large metros in India on a regular basis. I get pushed, shoved, pick pocketed, occasionally groped and stepped on. In spite of all this, I still push and shove my way into the bus almost every day. I have even missed several buses because I could not get on while I see the women getting into them with ease from the front. So, if we are equals, I would assume that you too should be able to push back, stare back and fight off those groping hands. Why do you deserve special protection and I don’t? That is what equality is, no? So, let us forget about all these reservations and truly be treated as equals as depicted in this video.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1JADWjEajg

    5. Fem

      @vaspri – Our friend Babar gave you your answer. We need extra seats because we all are unable to compete fairly with men, hired for our better looks over men, all of whom (without exception) are better qualified, and then get too tired from having sex with bosses to earn that extra money for shopping. So all this manipulation and sex makes us so tired that we do require that special seat to sit on. We do need our strengths after all to abuse men around us. Please understand!

    6. vaspri

      @Fem. Thanks for the sarcasm. I understand that it is difficult to answer the original question.

    7. Fem

      @vaspri
      Well it is not. It is just tiring. Besides it was Sunday and therefore I had other things to do. I started typing a reply to your question but being serious is a serious business. Being sarcastic is easy.

      So coming to your question. I think it is an important question not only because it is oft repeated but also because of this video. It’s a video that went viral. Most of us have seen it. Going by the comments on this video (wherever it appeared) it had made most of us (men as well as women) gleeful. Goes on to show the hidden grievances and questions in everyone’s mind. Well let me attempt to answer that and put my thoughts on the video one by one.

      Response to your question – You answered it partly yourself when you said “I get pushed, shoved, pick pocketed, occasionally groped and stepped on”. Now let me take away ‘occasionally groped’ for some time and look at your other complaints. ‘Pushed, shoved, pick pocketed, stepped on’. A woman may go through it too. A man in a crowded space probably goes through these more as their space is a bit more crowded. However the desire to have a women only space is not to save ourselves from these things. We can get pushed, shoved, stepped on, pick pocketed like the next man. No one likes it but it doesn’t give us physiological scars. Our problem is groping, rubbing and other wily sexual things. So when you are groped, you are grouped ‘occasionally’. A woman gets groped more than ‘occasionally’. Almost every time. And anyway the chances are very high. So when we stand in a crowded bus surrounded by men we are not worried about unimportant things like pushed, shoved etc. We are worried about protecting our bodies and minds from experiences and touches which sometimes stays with us for years. This is a constant struggle we live with everyday. Multiple times in a day. So we live in this perpetual fear. You can say that their fear is irrational because I don’t see anything happening in most bus trips I take. Well it does happen. Most times most people do not come to know because usually women keep quiet and just move away to protect herself more. And even if something is not happening, the chances for it to happen is very high. It’s just a matter of our concentration slipping, the protective walls lowering and we may end up with a hand somewhere on this body. So the frequency of actual act may be anything but our fears do not let us relax ever.

      We would like equality too in terms of pushing, shoving etc but it differs for us. We can push, shove etc if the only thing men would do are those. We can fight off groping hands too (which we are anyway doing) but it’s much too often than pushing, shoving and none of us want to go through that experience. Apart from the physiological trauma I spoke about earlier, it would happen to us ‘Every-Single-Time’ we get into the melee. And we have just 2 hands. If we have to fight off groping hands or even just protect ourselves from it, we need to wear iron man suit. As we do not have those suits yet, we like to stay away.

      So hopefully we have established that getting pushed, shoved, stared at, stepped on etc are not our major issues for which we sought out exclusive places. It’s the sexual touch which does not let us breathe. Now onto your next question.

      “Why do you deserve special protection and I don’t?”

      You do too. Everyone deserves to be secure in his/her own space. The problem here is more tactical though. A vast majority of times it is the men who are doing this. Comparatively easier to take women away from men and put them in a place where they are away from them and therefore exponentially more secure. Now when it comes to men vs men what does one do? You cannot have a screener before getting on a bus where they can establish who is a potential molester and who is not. If they could do that, they could have put all the molesters in a separate place and hence the world would have been more secure for all of us alike. Then a separate space was not required. Equality as you like.

      Now moving onto the video.

      What is depicted here is what all the innocent guys go through if they are in this situation. I know that these things happen and believe me when I say this, I feel equally troubled for the guy as all the other men folks. I have men in my family and men friends who are the most decent ones and not at all the type who can’t keep their hands away. I would be pained if something like this is to happen to them. I could be outraged also on the perpetrator but I don’t. Because the women in question here (or anywhere in similar situation) is as much a victim of situation as a man. She doesn’t do this because this pleases her or this is her trait. It’s the defense mechanism which kicks in because of her fear of getting molested. When someone bumps into her she doesn’t know if this is because of the bus or because the man wanted to do that. If this is the 2nd case where the intent is just to touch then she can’t let it go. Because her ignoring it would just increase it manifold. Next time the guy bumps his hands would be on her breasts. And I am not even pulling these situations out of my head. These are actual ‘often repeated’ scenarios. So she just plays safe and put all men as potential molesters. Much safer that way. Unfair? Yes it is. Very unfair. For both men as well as women. Men live in a perpetual fear of getting humiliated thus. Women live in perpetual fear of getting groped at. So both are victims here. The actual criminals are those who create this fear by constantly sexually harassing women. The innocent guys just get the brunt of what those criminals perpetrate. To use an analogy, women here are like scared animals. If you have dealt with scared animals who have gone through trauma or are painted in a corner, they would attack the first man/woman who comes in front. Even if the man/woman in question are innocent by-standers. What would you call it? Fault of the animals who have no way of knowing that the person in front is innocent or coming to do more harm to them? Or fault of the situation/people that animal has come across?

      So we are in this together Vaspri. We are equally victimized. The inherent problem here was not the slap. That’s just a repercussion. The same way the guy reacted by slapping back. Or would react later in his life by distrusting (maybe even hating) all women who are trying to stand up to sexual harassment in close spaces. Should we blame him? ….How can he sympathize or even trust a woman when she says that someone molested her? His experience says otherwise. But don’t you see how warped this is? Normal innocent people go though trauma and get manipulated in the process and end up paranoid. While the actual perpetrators get down the bus after devoting all their time molesting or trying to molest someone. I guess rather than snapping the hand which slapped, we need to snap the hands which create this phenomenon. And this is the equality we demand. Understand us, stand with us and fight with us against all those who create this fear; this gender divide.

    8. Deva

      @ Fem: So you say that the woman in the video is a victim too. She is a “victim of sexual harassment”, so the blame is lies not on the woman who chose to slap the man out of her “natural defense mechanism”, as all men are potential rapists. So that is how the woman is not to be blamed as some men are responsible for sexual harassment. Did the man ask to be treated as a molester? NO. Did she have his consent to slap? NO.

      Equality you say? By your own logic (or lack of it), you would mean that a man raping a woman is not responsible for the crime. Since he has been sexually repressed, he treats all women as potential mating partners out of his “natural sex drive”. The innocent women “just bear the brunt of sexual repression” is what you are implying by “Equality as you like it”.

      Your justifying her slap, justifies the rapist, being the “victim” of sexual repression by society, is how you are justifying rape. Utter nonsense. I am outraged.

      Don’t you see how warped YOUR thinking is?

      Listen woman, get this clear in you head: the blame lies on rapist for raping. Similarly the blame lies on that woman for slapping. If you justify her slapping, then you are justifying rape. I just wish this horrible mentality of yours vanishes from the heads of women and men in our society.

    9. Fem

      @Deva

      Thanks for not understanding my point at all. So here is goes again –

      “By your own logic (or lack of it), you would mean that a man raping a woman is not responsible for the crime.”

      Your choice of word is wrong. You have put my thoughts in a very simplistic manner which belies what I intended in the first place. So on your comment – Yes, a rapist is responsible for what he has done in the same way the girl in the video is responsible for what she has done. But the larger issue is to understand where it comes from. The crime or aggression stems from unequal and unsafe society which leads to anger or fear or just plain arrogance. A rapist is a product of patriarchy in most cases. He should be blamed but the bigger blame goes to the place from where he (or his attitude) originated. If I would have a son and I would not teach him to respect women and inculcate values in him which would make him look at women as pieces of meat and for his for taking, the equal blame would lie with me. And if I take myself as metaphor for society then the blame becomes even bigger because then I am the hot bed of producing these kinds of men. The same way it happened in the video. What happened was wrong and no one is celebrating what she did.But where is this coming from is the bigger issue. Should we not try to fight the disease rather than dissecting the symptoms?

      I hope you get my point this time.

    10. Fem

      Additionally there’s a difference between:

      (1) ‘defense mechanism’ which kicks in, in a woman when she senses danger (namely a guy bumping with her as in the case of this video) and therefore retaliates

      and

      (2) ‘aggression’ stemming from whatever it is which leads a man to rape.

      Now if a woman would have gotten on the bus and simply pulled a guy standing 8 feet apart from her by his collar and slapped him and somewhere a man would have raped a woman because he was scared of her or the situation around him then we could have talked about how the woman is more wrong as she is acting out of unnecessitated anger and how the guy’s action is in perceived self defense.

      But as these are not usually the cases in reality, I still stand by my arguments.

      I hope you see how warped YOUR thinking was.

    11. Babar

      The only reason why there are cries for reservation for women, from the parliament to the corporate world, is because women cannot compete with men fairly. Furthermore, many women are hired for their looks over men who are more qualified, while many women have sex with their bosses for promotion.

  2. Deva

    Ha ha! Couldn’t help laughing!

    1) If someone says “Sun rises in the west” it does not mean that the Sun actually rises in the west. You may define feminism however you want, but in absence of actions supporting your definition, all it remains, is empty talk.

    2) “Why must men be denied becoming a fuller human being by embracing their natural inclinations?” Fuller? Otherwise such men are incomplete? *Cough* Hypocrisy! Sorry, but that sugar coated words just fell apart.
    So men should embrace their natural instincts huh? Some natural instincts need to be controlled. Sensitivity, weakness, crying, and similarly, sex drive, aggression, emotions – jealousy, envy, anger. Unchecked, they may lead to physical harm, murder or RAPE. Still embrace instincts? OR does the author want men to selectively “embrace their natural instincts” only when it supports her cause of feminism?

    3) Please do not generalize half of world’s population. You state that “half of world’s population is not welcome to participate in the cause of feminism” I doubt if you have asked every male on planet!
    There is no difference between fanatics and you who want things in their own way. You can’t even change the name to Egalitarianism, which means equality! You just want it your way.

    However you may try to sound politically correct, you cannot justify something not justifiable. Please stop manipulating people by saying they are feminists if “they believe equal pay for equal work, equal opportunities for education….” I breath. I am a human. A tree breathes too. That does not make a tree human by default! Similarly those reasons of equality do not make a person feminist by default! Much manipulation! Wow!

    I don’t need feminism because it still does not mean equality for either gender.

  3. Monistaf

    Posting the SAME comments on “yet another” article that attempts to glorify a movement called “Feminism”

    “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 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 complicit with the vast majority of feminists 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 supported 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 agency in the 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.

  4. Babar

    Why is it that women always look to marry men richer than them, earning more than them, live in their husbands house, drive their husbands car, shop with their husband’s money, eat at restaurants with husband’s pay, buy jewellery with husband’s income, and live luxuriously courtesy of their husbands – For women today, a husband is an ATM, driver, porter, and dildo.

    Today, women have seats reserved for them everywhere, from office to politics, and ask men to leave their seats for them in the name of being gentlemen – What happened to equality? And when was the last time a woman left her seat for a man? – Equality is only applicable when it works in favour of women.

    If feminists are really concerned about women’s rights, they should be raising their voices against the abuse by mothers-in-law, who are the biggest perpetrators of violence against women, not to mention daughters-in-law, who poison their husbands minds against family members, and sisters-in-law, who have mastered the art of family politics.

    It is a fact that many women prefer to stay at home and become homemakers, because they enjoy the comfort and security of their homes, and they enjoy playing with their children. Women earn a lot less than men (and then cry ‘wage gap’). First off, you are paid for your work according to your experience, academic credentials, skills, and how well you do your job. It is different with different people. Secondly, it is not a question of a man and a woman working the same job not being paid the same, even two men or two women working the same job will not be paid the same. It is not a man’s world. It is because men work harder than women and take more risks, and for every successful woman, there are many men who are dead, trying to earn for their families.

    http://youtu.be/EwogDPh-Sow

  5. Babar

    If feminism is about equal rights for both sexes, why don’t we ever talk about the biases that men face on a daily basis, how women usurp half of men’s properties during divorces, how courts give men stricter sentences for the same crimes that women commit, how juries give verdicts against men in domestic disputes, how men give alimony to women, misandry in the media, sexism against men, domestic violence against men, how men are locked up in false cases of rape, dowry, and domestic abuse, etc.

    1. itida

      May Baber you can talk about that! It would be great.

    2. Cees Tompot

      Could it be that you are slightly prejudiced, Babar?

  6. Gaurav

    in point 2 the writer seems to be suggesting that feminism is the synonym of equality but that is not true.

  7. Gaurav

    in the section titled — Debunking the misguided notions about feminism:
    1. Feminism is all about hating men—- the writer quotes Bell Hooks and concludes that feminism is not anti men. this is so innocent. it is like a man quoting a book and then saying – see we men do not hate women. writer sure has some sense of humor.

  8. Gaurav

    writer wants all men to close their eyes and take this writer on face value, literally. I have not seen such a humorous article for a long time,

  9. Gaurav

    miss watson seems to have had a big impact on the writer. the writer has based some of her conclusions on miss watson. I cannot help but ask myself a simple question ….. when will women stop reading books and go out and meet real people to understand the problems they face and try to isolate the root cause as to why people have prejudices against them.. why do people not trust them… are men really to blame… do women in power treat men with respect, the reality is women treat men who have power with respect…

  10. Oendrila

    To defend the author whom I know at a personal level, she is not a person who just reads books and talks big about the real world. She walks in rallies, works for an NGO, takes an active stand against all wrong notions even if that means going against family and people in authority, favors men each and every time the question has come up. And that is the whole point of the post. Every movement, every good effort or initiative takes a downfall when despotic and repressive people start to lead them. That doesnt mean that the movement is wrong at the core, or that there arent people who hold on to and live by the original and true meaning, who cannot change the meaning back from what the so-called leaders or ignorant pseudo-feminists make it to be, or from the monstrosity that many men want to protray feminism as.

  11. Sarvesh

    By the writer’s definition of a feminist, I am one too. But I don’t want to be called one because the whole movement has turned into what it was fighting against. Instead of approaching towards the issue with an intention to solve it, the over enthusiastic and ‘passionate’ people decided to fight it. The whole approach, even today, is wrong. We don’t need to for women’s rights, we need to fight for human rights. Also, it would be great if we aimed for equity rather than equality. Equality can be the worst thing that can happen to a society.

  12. Shubham

    If equal oppurtunities is a goal of feminism than at least in my country India,none of those claiming to be feminists are truly one…

    In india,Educated men never oppose feminism as.it can bring equal oppurtunities in areas still living old ways .However, instead of liberating unfortunate women,Feminazis of my country have imposed HUGE gender qoutas in several sectors.In india being a male of so-called ‘upper-caste’ is a crime.It was people of our community like rammohan roy that first stood for women rights and caste-equality.However since women and so-called backward castes(which include ancestors of some big royal dynasties!!) constitute majority of votes, they are provided as much as 70% reservations in some states.I wonder how this is equal oppurtunities anyways…..

    You mentioned some myths regarding feminists……….well I advise u to watch some debates on news channels on india that involves feminists.I guarentee u will see every myth(except lesbianism) being materialized in 30 min. debate show.

  13. Sofiya Shah

    Thank you!!! Soo much!! everyone needs to read this article. it makes me sad that people think we feminists are bad people who just think about women.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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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