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How To Ruin A Date With A Feminist In Just 5 Words

By Shambhavi Saxena:

#RuinADateWithAFeministInFiveWords started about a day ago, documenting “micro-aggressions that people who identify as feminists, face quite regularly both online and offline,” says Shreya Sen. In a short span of time, it is gathering steam on social media with women making their own contributions in sharp, succinct and clever ways.

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Photo Credit

After the Twitter trend on #RuinADateWithAnAcademicInFiveWords, three women, Anu Salekar (Zehen), Archismita Chowdhury and Shreya Sen (Being Feminist), thought of starting a discussion around #RuinADateWithAFeministInFiveWords.

Speaking about these examples of micro-aggressions, Sen says, “We face it so often we may become immune. But this gives us a stronger, deeper sense of solidarity.”


For feminists, the mantra is that the personal is the political and the political is personal and in Sen’s view, “Personal experiences and narratives have always been essential to feminism. Which is why social media has become so important in how feminism is practised today.”

Those who are familiar with the feminist brand of humour, which generally points towards structures and institutions of oppression and is, as Sen puts it, “non-derogatory”, reacted positively to the pithy updates under the hashtag. Does it seem like a sort of inside joke between feminists? “A lot of people got pure fun out of it which I think is great! We deserve it too, right?” Says Sen. “Sometimes the inside jokes are also important; it gives people outside the movement an idea of what we are like as people and what the movement is about.” But one does see strains of sadness and anger commingled here. “Someone had posted ‘you’re more feminist than girlfriend’ under the hashtag. And that really broke my heart. Many feminists I know have struggled in relationships because they are strong and opinionated people.”

Samcha Lowang, postgraduate student of Delhi University, found a lot of the remarks uncomfortably familiar. “I was on a date once and he said the exact same thing: ‘yeah but not all men’.” She believes one of the reasons people make such statements is that “concepts like feminism and queer rights have made them conscious of how little by little they are losing ‘control’.” While Lowang links up these micro-aggressions with the direct structures of power in society, others offered various explanations and speculations. Harnidh Kaur of Lady Shri Ram College, who writes extensively on feminist issues, attributes these remarks to a lack of awareness, fear, preconceived notions, pop culture and confusion. Delhi-based photographer, Archisman Misra pointed out that many women are also prone to making such statements, because they are “still, in some way, bound to the patriarchy.

When asked about the effect #RuinADateWithAFeministInFiveWords could have, Nikhil Dalal, an Indian student in Geneva, says: “I’d have preferred #HowToImpressAFeministInFiveWords, which sounds more constructive. A list ofwhat not to say isn’t as educative as a list explaining why.”

Sen sees these online platforms as an important space for counter trends to exist. “#YesAllWomen invited questions about homogenizing women’s experiences and intersectional ties, and #RuinADateWithAFeministInFiveWords raises the issue of myths and stereotypes about feminists.”

Sen, like any vocal feminist, has been harangued by a persistent and seemingly inexhaustible inundation of trolls. “You can extend the philosophy of respectful dialogue to some, but others aren’t worth engaging with. It always helps to have a support system online as well. A feminist troll army, if you will. Enlist friends willing to help out, because the onus is not on you to single-handedly change society,” she says.

While the focus is clearly on the quoted statements being made under the hashtags and the kind of biases, prejudices, privileges, misconceptions and other problem areas that they indicate, it is also worth noting the implication of the sentence “Ruin a Date with a Feminist”, and I’m deliberately stressing the word “Date” here, which means social intercourse and interpersonal relationships. Some people who harbour half-baked notions about feminists generally assume that feminism excludes you from having relationships.

It’s so easy to cast us out as a bunch of people with inherently un-loveable traits,” says Sen. “We are challenging a lot of thoughts and ideas that people are comfortable with or have gained privilege through or have grown up with, and it’s a difficult process. A lot of us who identify as feminists have put ourselves through that process too. But to lash out at feminists, constantly belittle and vilify them, it’s just not okay.” The hashtag then becomes a gentle reminder that feminists are people, with lives, emotions and relationships.

While Sen says it isn’t being treated as a campaign, the hashtag will be bandied about by feminists for a while. It serves the purpose of being an outlet, as well as challenging persons who make these comments, and making feminist circles online all the more cohesive, inclusive and strong.

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  1. TheSeeker

    “Why not call yourself humanist?”
    Whoever said that is absolutely right. The world does not need feminism anymore. Be a bit more realistic and get your mind out of the early 20th century.
    (Cue the ‘look up the definition of feminism in a dictionary’ comment)

    1. Shambhavi

      I’m going to disappoint you here by offering a more in depth response.
      Humanism isn’t an adequate term by any measure. It refers to a philosophy evolved during Europe’s Renaissance and Rationalist period, and while yes it does place value in the human being, it fuels value for humans as opposed to deism. Feminism is more adequate because it addresses issues that are specific to women, and issue that are born to patriarchal institutions, to which, as one of the interviewees mentions, binds both men and women (and even non binary individual) for a great part of their lives.
      Humanism dates back to even earlier than the 20th century. Feminism will be relevant for as many centuries as patriarchal institutions hold power over us.
      I hope this clears up some of your confusion? Thanks for reading! Cheers 🙂

    2. TheSeeker

      I did not mean to say humanism in the literal sense. I meant that feminism is really not required anymore. We have to fight against both sides of sexism, therefore ‘humanism’ is required (just a bit of wordplay 🙂 ).
      Now before you say feminism does address that issue, I would completely disagree with you.

    3. Monistaf

      “Feminism is more adequate because it addresses issues that are specific to women”. I thought that Feminism was supposed to be about equality of the genders!! How can you fight for equality by focussing solely on the issues of just one gender? Feminism is a misleading ideology that discredits the humanity of men, diminishes their pain, marginalizes their issues while elevating and perpetuating the perceived victimhood of women. It is time for a new movement and a new word in a new century. I am with TheSeeker on this one.

      As far as “patriarchy” and oppression are concerned, I will quote Voltaire. “To learn who oppresses you, just understand who you are not allowed to criticize”. I think it sums it up quite well.

    4. janaki

      Dear ‘monistaf’ and ‘seeker’ , its men like you who are a bigger part of the problem , whomake it difficult for us to actually talk about feminisms in a complex way by coming up with simplistic sweeping statements and decontextualised statistics. Who think some education priviliges them to debunk ‘percieved victimhoods’ of others with as little ground to stand on and as little study and work and experience as this but with all the arrogance and confidence of the’oppressor class’ . Firstly how ridiculous to say , as rightly pointed out, ‘the world does not need feminism ‘ – maybe you could let others have a say in deciding that before pronouncing doom for all for falling prey to false isms? the world will save itself, dont worry on its behalf Mr high priest of humanity , if it will make mistakes , it will make mistakes and redeem itself – speak for yourself and state youropinions but dont presume to take on these burdens even from your ‘lofty heights’ on behalf of poor lesser men and women. Asfor you monistaf , the blindness of statistics,which could be otherwise usefully employed if contextualised properly ,comes throughin a case like yours . You should have also been linked to reports by several groups on how a vast proportion ( 90%) of crimes against women arenot reported ,just like in case of caste and religious crimes , because of the manner in which a system operates with all its socio economica nd cultural hierarchies . Secondly, crime against women which are reported are under specific crimes – abduction, rape, dowry, torture, assault and insult on modesty ,importation from foreign countries – a vast range of crimes including those which are committed against them for other reasons where both ‘men’ and ‘women’could be subject to such violence so a statement like’ Based on these numbers, I would gladly walk the streets of New Delhi as a woman, because I have a LOT more chances of being a victim of violent crime as a man.’ is outright silly as these violent other crimes are not ‘exclusive ‘ for men , while those specific to women are ‘exclusive ‘ to them. Thirdly , just like under reporting of crimes against them, there are several forms of socio economic and cultural discrimination which women face on an everyday basis which have been extensively documented (since u found those statistics so quickly, i’m sure if you google and are really this ‘objective judge’of all such matters, you will find them too )and these function because of a unequal social order which places men above women and savarnas above dalits and a majority over a minority( i’m also sure you are one of those men who thinks caste is no longer an issue and niether is religious majoritarian religious fundamentalism – and all of it is actually about percieved victimhood and appeasement with no basis in ‘real statistics’ for you guys , actually you guys are the ‘real victims’ arent you – WOW !! ) .Men like you, by loftily and smugly living in this bubble where the need for all ‘ism’ is easily debunked from a position of relative ease and privilige – , make it so much more difficult for us to base debates on more objective grounds .

    5. TheSeeker

      Shocker! I’m a woman. 🙂
      And I’m not gonna bother replying, sorry. Over assuming much?

    6. TempleTwins

      You should have also been linked to reports by several groups on how a vast proportion ( 90%) of crimes against women arenot reported

      First we would discuss how feminist fabricate rape statistics or crimes against women in general and how mainstream media reports on the said crime. They often say one in 5 woman would be sexually assaulted on campus, how they deduced that? They have a questionnaire which is given only to women and put forth a question such as, ‘have you ever had sex when you didn’t want to or tired’, if there is a check mark, then she’s a rape victim. ‘Have you ever had sex because your bf pestered you’, if there is a check mark, she’s a rape victim. I’m sure if you give the same questionnaire to men, we could figure out how many men are raped by women in the campus, but no this is applicable only to women. Then they make a statement as in 1 in 5 ,then 1 in 3 and everybody keeps on repeating it, if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

      Mainstream media often cash in on female victimhood as it appease the majority of victim-addicts, as it gives their victimhood a spot light. Lets say if there was victims in a platoon comprised of 8 men and 2 woman and out of which 3 men and 1 woman died. They would say 50% of women and 37% of men were victims of war.

      Now lets get back to the unreported crime argument. If you want to speculate on what’s not reported, then what we agree is “real” devolves to who has the boldest fantasies. Most of these unreported numbers comes from an anonymous source which can’t be investigated and we have no way of knowing if it was true, or assumed or the numbers are inflated (as usual) to get more funds from the govt.

      is outright silly as these violent other crimes are not ‘exclusive ‘ for men , while those specific to women are ‘exclusive ‘ to them.

      That is very ignorant of you. May be I could use some feminist buzzwords, ‘privilege blindness’ perhaps? Women are not the victims of majority of violent crime yet you are saying even a woman can be attacked, sure, if we have that same line of thinking then men can also be raped, harassed, abducted, stalked yet you choose to call those as crimes against women alone, hypocrite much?

      Secondly a man is more likely to be attacked violently in case of mugging, because men is more likely to carry money, travel at night and even if both men and women are being mugged, the man is more likely to be attacked violently as he would pose more of a threat to the mugger than the woman. So these are indeed crimes against men for being men. Like a typical feminist you wanna stay blinded to other perspectives may be and want to dwell in your narcissistic ignorant bubble?

      these function because of a unequal social order which places men above women
      Most Indian women being in a conservative background, prefer missionary position, why does it bother you?

      Women are the oppressed and men are the oppressors, you poor poor women, there is no where in the world where the oppressed outlived their oppressors, where the oppressors have no medical funds even if they die a lot sooner than the oppressed. There is no where in world where the oppressed have special seats, carriages, transports exclusive for them. There is no where in world where the oppressed can beat their oppressors and lie to world saying it is a fight against the molesters and have the oppressors lives, career ruined while the oppressed would be praised by everyone and would be awarded by some politician. The list goes on…

      TheSeeker:- Shocker! I’m a woman.
      Sigh! I am all sapiosexual now.

    7. janaki

      Dear temple twin , rest of the the stuff is such nonsense that i need not reply.I’m glad you’ve replied that way . As for, ‘is outright silly as these violent other crimes are not ‘exclusive ‘ for men , while those specific to women are ‘exclusive ‘ to them.’ – if you say so !! But before you proove your sapiosexualignorance further over here, i’m just stating facts qoute there – go to the website and check them – its simple english and simple figures , these are theclassifications the crime bureau has done and clearly stated how they’ve done it .You (monistaf ?) decided to pick on crimes exclusively reported as crime against women ,and then used that to say men are at a greater danger because that means the rest of the crimes under ‘other crimes’are committed against only men and men are against a greater danger hence not even bothering to find out what the figures ( my dear watson these are general crimes which are recorded irrespective of whether they are committed against men or women-only those specific crimes attributed to be against women are covered in the statistics as against women i.e’exclusive to women !!!- so on that basis u can hardly make astatement that since the rest of the crimes are against men , its more dangerous for them to walk on streets of delhi !)- Stupidity????hahaahaaaaa

    8. TheSeeker

      Hah! Thanks, fellow INTJ.

    9. Ra’s al Ghul

      Hypocrisy, thy name is feminism

      From 2005 to 2008, as many as 22,000 men have ended their lives in reverse dowry harassment after allegedly being tormented by their wives. In contrast, dowry harassment has driven 6,800 women to suicide.

      http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/Harassed-over-dowry-men-demand-fair-play/articleshow/5241108.cms

      Who’s the victim?

    10. Monistaf

      Quote @Janaki. “just stating facts quote there – go to the website and check them – its simple english and simple figures”. Total number of rapes, regardless of how you see it 33707. In India, thanks to feminists like you, men cannot legally be raped. If you think that out of the rest of the crimes not reported as crimes against women, women are the majority of victims, you must be delusional to say the least. In every country on earth, where these records are kept, men are, and always have been, consistently the larger share of victims of violence. With regards to under reporting of crimes, it is equally true for both genders. So, I get the fact that the numbers do not add up for you, and you are acting like a typical feminist. The numbers tell a story that is not aligned with your agenda, so they must be wrong or you must reinterpret them until they appear right so you can continue to justify your ideology. Next time, I think you should make sure that a feminist is in charge of the National Crime Records, so the numbers will appear more “friendly”. In a world full of deceit, just telling the truth in itself is a revolutionary act. You seem to be living loftily and smugly in a bubble as well, diminishing the pain and suffering of men with relative ease and privilege. As far as speaking for one self, every one here, including you are doing the same. No one is claiming that they represent more than their own opinions, and as much as I might disagree with what you have to say, In the spirit of free speech and open debate, I will defend your right to say it. As far as the “arrogance and confidence of the oppressor class” I will still refer to my quote from Voltaire in the original comment and let the readers make up their minds in terms of who is really being oppressed.

    11. Shambhavi

      And also it’s a little silly to say the world doesn’t need feminism anymore. Have you asked everyone in the world? Can you really decide on behalf of everyone whether they need feminism? I think it’s better to let them decide for themselves isn’t it?

    12. TheSeeker

      Yep. Let them decide. Though it will lead to the world’s ruin unless feminism is cleansed of its hypocrisy (my opinion). No need to break down every word in my comment, it was MY OPINION.

    13. antara

      ” Feminism is a misleading ideology that discredits the humanity of men, diminishes their pain, marginalizes their issues while elevating and perpetuating the perceived victimhood of women.”

      Perceived victimhood? Excuse me? Just Google some statistics and you will know how wrong you are. Just because feminism threatens to shake you out of your patriarchal complacency doesn’t mean it is wrong. It does not focus only on the issues of women, but of all oppressed genders, trans folks included. Men have never been oppressed at such a grand scale and thus, feminism doesn’t talk about them. Going back to Voltaire, us criticizing men seems to be such a problem that you have to speak out against us, however, I see men making horrendous passes at me on the streets and no one is outraged in the least. In fact, if I choose the fight over the high road, which I do because I have a right to stand up for myself, I am opposed by more men saying “Jaane do na.” Is it safe to assume then that men are in fact the oppressors? Our problems are neither perceived nor fake. Be a woman in Delhi for one evening and try to walk out in a dress, I dare ya. Lastly, I want to say that feminism doesn’t belittle the problems of men, it puts them into perspective in light of what the other genders have to face on a daily basis.

    14. Monistaf

      @antara – you are EXCUSED!! Here is my proof for “perceived victimhood”. Check out the “Figures at a glance” from http://ncrb.gov.in/. This is the National Crime records bureau. These figures are based on the crime report for the year 2013. The report is not out for the year 2014.

      Total crimes reported (Violations of IPC) – 6640378
      Total crimes against women – 309546 – 4.6% of total crimes
      Rapes – 33707 – 0.5% of total
      Dowry deaths – 8083 – 0.12 % of total
      Insult to Modesty of women – 12589 – 0.18% of total
      Cruelty by Husband or relatives – 118866 – 1.8% total
      Kidnapping and abduction of women and girls – 51881 – 0.78% total

      And guess who are the VAST MAJORITY of VICTIMS? The other half of the population that you could care less about. Perceived victimhood? Absolutely, without a doubt. Based on these numbers, I would gladly walk the streets of New Delhi as a woman, because I have a LOT more chances of being a victim of violent crime as a man.

    15. janaki

      Fine, if you say so Ms High priest of humanity then 🙂 , my arguments were gender neutral and i’m under no illusion that women cannot have as regressive opinions as men – who said all women are right irrespective of what they say especially when their privilige makes them blind to what others of their kind might be facing because they havent faced it themselves or not seen it in their ‘own circles’ ( ofcourse that gives them the right to comment on the whole world !!!) ? thats besides the point . There are all kinds of subjects everywhere – irrespective of whether they are men and women, dalits and brahmins, muslims, sikhs and hindus. How does it make a difference to the points being made just because you happen to be a woman?

    16. TheSeeker

      Well, nothing at all. You’re assuming things again. I was correcting you. You mistaking me a for man is just another example of our inherent sexism, no?
      Just because I’m not a feminist does not mean I’m oblivious to problems faced by women. I have had my own share of groping and assault, in fact. So no, I’m no priestess. I’m ordinary.
      My dramatic remark was taken a tad too seriously.

    17. Chill

      “To learn who oppresses you, just understand who you are not allowed to criticize”.

      Let’s talk about how male egos are so fragile, they can’t handle rejection, criticism or take no for an answer.

      A woman says no, I don’t want to go to prom with you, and gets stabbed to death.
      A woman says no, I will not sleep with you, and a man go on a shooting spree.
      A woman says no, I will not give you my number, and is shot outside the club.
      A woman says no, I don’t want you to buy me a drink, and a man shattered a glass across her face.
      A woman say no, I’m a lesbian, and a man shoots both her and her girlfriend while they slept in their home.
      A woman says no, I don’t want to be with you any more, and a man stabs her to death and murders her dog.
      A woman says no, stop harassing these teenagers, and a group of men beat her to death with stones and bats, smashing her skull on the pavement.
      A woman says no, we aren’t married any more, leave me alone, and a man shoots her to death.
      A woman says no, we work together but I’m not interested in you romantically, and a man shoots her to death whilst she’s working.
      A woman says no, I don’t want to sleep with you, and a man rapes, murders and then hangs her from a tree.
      A woman says no, I’m not interested, and a man slashes her neck open.
      A woman says no, I never cheated on you, and a man beats her.
      A woman says no, I want a divorce, and a man cuts her neck open and stabs her multiple times.

      http://nypost.com/2014/04/25/teen-girl-stabbed-to-death-after-rejecting-prom-proposal/
      http://thoughtsonliberty.com/elliot-rodger-killed-six-people-because-women-wouldnt-sleep-with-him-now-what
      http://metro.co.uk/2015/02/04/woman-glassed-because-she-turned-man-down-at-club-5049049/
      http://www.allkpop.com/buzz/2014/11/man-sentenced-to-18-years-in-jail-for-stabbing-ex-girlfriend-to-death-and-stuffing-her-dog-inside-a-washing-machine
      http://mic.com/articles/105396/this-brave-student-died-after-protecting-two-teenage-girls-from-street-harassment?utm_source=policymicTBLR&utm_medium=main&utm_campaign=social
      http://news.yahoo.com/video/man-woman-dead-apparent-murder-052016268.html
      http://nation.com.pk/national/21-Jun-2014/rape-victim-hanged-from-tree-in-layyah
      http://www.publico.pt/politica/noticia/homem-mata-mulher-e-e-depois-atropelado-pelo-filho-em-soure-1659752
      http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Keys-Man-Beat-Girlfriend-After-Dreaming-She-Cheated-on-Him-270614721.html#ixzz3A3CFSUE2

  2. Rahul Mehra

    I agree with the seeker

  3. TempleTwins

    Feminism/feminist talk a lot about choices until someone choose not to be a feminist. Then they must be brainwashed by patriarchy or they have misconception about feminism or they have internalized misogyny etc. Feminism is an ideology and ideologies can change over time, even be corrupted. People should choose to follow or stop following or criticize the ideology based on their world view and experiences. This hashtag about ruining a date had some questionable opinions from feminist such as,
    “Misandry is just like misogyny” ‪#‎RuinADateWithAFeministInFiveWords‬
    Misandry is hatred of men, misogyny is hatred of women but no don’t say it is the same, hating men is not same as hating women, our issues are more important yours, we need more attention, period. It gets even better.

    “I think misandry is real.” ‪#‎RuinADateWithAFeministInFiveWords‬

    Misandry is not real, no one would hate men, what a joke, don’t argue you are ruining your chances to get a peck on your cheeks.

    At the height of the desperation some men choose to date a feminist, who has a monopoly in gender disclosure, you can’t question, criticize or argue when the only thing which is expected is a nod, compliance and empathy. If that’s what you want you can trade your spine and do the time, for the crime, good luck.

    1. Shambhavi

      I appreciate the mental gymnastics going on this comment thread. It’s amusing. But I am yet to see a valid opposition raised against feminism. Is feminism man-hating? If it was it wouldn’t engage with the construction of masculinity which is hurtful to both men and women. It wouldn’t view fatherhood as important. It wouldn’t address the patriarchal binds on men then. Essentially what you’re saying is akin to how white America reacted to #BlackLivesMatter by saying #AllLivesMatter. All lives indeed matter, but all lives do not have the history of oppression that black lives do. The same goes for queer lives, women’s lives, lives of lower class and lower class persons, religious minority lives, tribal lives etc.
      I understand the idea behind “humanism”, but it isn’t practical. Even the broad idea of ‘feminism’ was found to be lacking, which is why it has evolved into intersectional feminism, you see? 🙂

      Thanks for reading

    2. Anonymous

      Whoa there Temple Twins. I too chose not to identify with feminism as a movement, and no one has ever said any of those things to me. Out of curiosity where did you learn about feminism? About misogyny? About misandry? Cuz if it was at a temple then your lack of information is understandable. And if it was at an institute of education, then your education has failed you. For future reference here’s one clear difference between misogyny and misandry. Misandry is not accepted practice in most parts of the world. Misogyny is in several. Sure misandry is real. How many people can you name suffering from it?

      Your problem my friend is not that the feminists are expecting you to not debate and comply with everything. It’s a bigger problem, that you are having the wrong argument. You seem to have completely missed the point here. So for future reference the offense is not that you you’re arguing with the feminist. It’s that you’re not arguing the right point. Go educate yourself about the right point first.

    3. TempleTwins

      no one has ever said any of those things to me.

      So no one would ever say anything like that to anyone because no one had said anything like that to you? I am not sure what you’re trying to imply. No one I know have aids, so there are no aids patients in the world? I don’t know how your reasoning works man but you seem to lack objectivity.

      Out of curiosity where did you learn about feminism? About misogyny? About misandry?
      We live in an information era, it is not difficult to learn things of your own with a little bit of effort.

      Cuz if it was at a temple then your lack of information is understandable. And if it was at an institute of education, then your education has failed you

      What exactly was I lacking. I hope understood I quoted those hashtags from ‘Being Feminist’ facebook page. They claim misandry is not real, I don’t know how that helps women or feminist for that matter. Your rambling doesn’t make sense again. I guess you simply want to say something as a counter argument but you’re lost since you haven’t made any arguments.

      Misandry is not accepted practice in most parts of the world. Misogyny is in several. Sure misandry is real. How many people can you name suffering from it?

      How did you deduced that? I really hope your reasoning is not same as above, like ‘I don’t know anyone who suffer from misandry so it is not accepted’. I can give you various examples of how misandry exists in both traditional system and the progressive feminist model.

      It’s a bigger problem, that you are having the wrong argument
      What exactly is wrong? You just made a lot of claims with no substantial evidence or references, yet you often say ‘for your reference’ and simply stated your opinion. Learn how to make a coherent argument and rebuttals.

    4. TempleTwins

      Feminism in action is not same as feminism by definition. It is like saying being a chirstian is all about love and scarifies, yet at the same time holding placards which says god hates gays etc. I assume we all can agree NOW is a feminist organisation, they believe in the duluth model for domestic violence, which arrest men alone, no matter who the victim is, the so called patriarchy may say men can’t be abused by women and feminism reinforces it with its primary aggressor policies.

      Coming to Indian context famous feminists like Kavita krishnan opposed the gender neutrality of rape in the anti-rape bill, feminism again siding with patriarchy to push the male rape victims back to their closet. Another notorious feminist Ranjana said men should also share their ancestral property to their ex wives during divorce, men being providers came from patriarchy and feminism reinforced it by women friendly policies, as both patriarchy and feminism are gynocentric in nature. Both these women spoke on a national television but I don’t anyone disowning them from feminist movement. In fact kavita krishnan wrote few articles in YKA. I would also argue that both the construction of masculinity and femininity were detrimental to the rights of both men and women, yet men are privileged somehow and their issues must take the back seat.

      Feminism is a social movement and to understand feminist, you need to understand the sociology of social movements. Read “The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements” by Eric Hoffman. To summarize his book
      1. movements need a perceived enemy or out group (for feminism its men, for nazis it was jews). Disparage groups are unified in attacking the out group
      2. movements lump multiple groups and people into the enemy group and dehumanize them (lumping all men in the rapist or patriarchy category) The yesallmen hashtag reinforced just that.
      3. the less oppressed the group is and the less severe the grievance, the more radicalized they are. Smaller grievances are more severely felt than larger grievances.
      4. the movement will eventually reflect and impose the perceived oppression it suffered, on to the society and especially upon the enemy group.
      5. extermination of the enemy group will be called for. All failures of the group will be blamed upon the enemy group, all victories of the movement will be victories against the enemy group. #killallmen hashtag anyone?

  4. Ra’s al Ghul

    Date a feminist, marry her, and then hear her howl about her “rights” for the rest of your life.

    1. Saphira

      Marry a chauvinist, and you probably WILL have to howl about your rights all your life. bc you won’t have any.

  5. Ra’s al Ghul

    In the anti-rape bill, if a boy and a girl, both under the age of 16, have CONSENSUAL sex, the act is seen as rape where the boy is presumed guilty. Why not punish both? Or only the girl? Why the discrimination?

    1. Fem

      I agree here for the 1st time with you. If the boy is below 16 too and its consensual it should not be called rape or the boy as rapist. Its actually a larger issue which has always made me wonder. 2 consenting adult is fine. What about 2 consenting children (below 16).

      I don’t think it should fall in the purview of law. It should be seen as a social issue and dealt on that platform.

  6. Saravanan

    Hi,

    I am just curious to ask this question. Why cant feminists take men along with them in the process of relieving women? Therefore when people say, “not all men” are chauvinists, there is some degree of truth. Yes, patriachal society like ours needs change. Women must come up and take charge of things. But, When feminists think only women can be better reformers in this regard, I feel that they are subjecting themselves to emotions and doing the same foolishness that they accuse men for (trying to belittle the opposite gender). Is tit for tat your primary agenda? Well, I am perfectly okay with it if so. It is understandable. However those men whom you accuse of hegemony are brought up by women ( mothers) and taught primarily by women teachers. why didnt they teach boys how to respect a girl? So, some women are equally culpable for the status of the women, right? My intention is not to counter feministic ideas (I am a feminist myself) but to drive home the point that only those men who do not treat women as their equal partner, must be condemned and not all. I am not being defensive as long as your intention is ‘only’ to offend. I am concerned about, aren’t there substantial work left to be done for women empowerment than making sweeping judgements? I wish feminist friends of mine don’t take this as hurt but as criticism constructive enough to put up a healthy feminist fight! With you,

    Saravanan.
    A Male by chance.

  7. trishla

    What’s up with the idea that every time we talk about feminism it suddenly and very obviously subordinates or makes any men-specific issues irrelevant. I find that a bit troubling. What is the logic behind that? Yes, it is about equality. We don’t want it at the cost of men. All the people saying that only men suffer when we make laws like the rape laws or domestic violence laws; it is not a problem of feminism. It is a problem with how our legal system works. People can use any law like the murder law to sabotage someone. Because of rampant exploitation of women within the preexisting social structure a there interests need to be safeguarded. We live in a country where a high Court judge locks up his 32 year old daughter because she wants to exercise her will. We also live in a world where a Canadian teen is raped, photographed while she is violated and the kids go Scot free on account of their age. So yes. A long history of violence makes it important for our rights to be safeguarded. We do need feminism. We do need to protect our interests from patriarchal hyper masculine discourses. I think people should try to educate themselves a bit about how oppression works rather than thinking that if women’s interests are ever safeguarded it will only be at the cost of men’s interest. There is more fear than substance in this attitude. And it is ever present on every discussion surrounding feminism.

  8. TheSeeker

    Interesting how quickly feminists come to save their asses. You’ve got to stop shoving feminism down our throats, I believe it is our own choice. I am a woman, and I will tell you why I do not align with feminism.
    Firstly, their futile fight for equality. Majority of them think that the path to equality is to fight for woman-specific issues. Why? Because men’s issues are apparently irrelevant in comparison? Are you blind? They face just as much oppression as women do: paying alimony in divorce, false allegations of abuse/assault, little to no reproductive and imprisonment rights, bullying, sole participants in war and labor force, even little things like chivalry! I could go on. How come feminists don’t seem to be fighting for these issues? Because feminism is gynocentric. Our whole society is gynocentric. They even mutated the real meaning of patriarchy.
    Another thing, if want equality at all, why not every part of it? Fight for women being able to participate in wars, equalizing insurance rates for both genders and break the extra privileges that women have! Also, stop using weapons like false statistics, over generalization and portraying women as victims in society (that’s a shame to women as well).
    Feminists have ruined the lives of both men and women, men because they turn a blind eye to their problems, and women because these days it is hard to take a woman seriously.
    On the other hand, I am not giving any less importance to problems faced by women; they are obviously at large as well. But raise your voice against EVERY form of sexism faced in today’s society. Women aren’t an oppressed class; they’re a highly protected class. Nor are their problems extra special. And I will say this again, get your mind out of the 20th century; things have changed now. History is in the past.

    1. Chill

      Feminism is called feminism because it is the opposite of the ideology it’s trying to topple i.e. patriarchy, a system that’s harmful to both men as well as women.

      Friendly reminder that when Shia LeBouf came forward with his story of being raped by a woman, it was feminists who stood up for him publicly while men belittled him and ridiculed him for speaking about the same.
      Feminism isn’t about sweeping issues like this under the rug in favour of a skewed bias towards women. Equality is just really what we want. There’s no hidden agenda here. Why so much hate in your post?

    2. TheSeeker

      Hate? It’s a bitter truth, and you never proved me wrong there.
      Now I’ll admit that was a good initiative that feminists took; a step in the right direction. But does it prove that feminism as a whole is gender neutral? No. I think the reason why men ridiculed him is because they can’t swallow the fact that even men can be raped. Now I wonder why? Hmmm….
      No, there’s no hidden agenda, just plain ignorance, unknowingness and imprudence.
      And about the link you sent: it’s beautiful. But what’s your point?
      Here’s a gem: http://feministcurrent.com/10107/why-are-we-supposed-to-believe-shia-labeouf/
      I am sorry for demonstrating my annoyance in such a rude way.

    1. janaki

      aha so now any x,y, z source, even twitter has become a source legitimate enough to counter nationally and internationally recognized bodies works on arbitrary,random, poorly researched ,biased and illegitimate grounds. This is what internet freedom has done – any upstart can qoute another upstart and say ‘ready for reality ‘ – after all this is a country where even a praveen togadia and a subramaniam swamy can talk utter nonsense and get away with it – sab chalta hai bhai, sab chalta hai, ha ha !

    2. janaki

      and just because one woman chooses to talk about her experience in a few cases,that proves the general case , does it ! So if a dalit today says there is no casteism he or she has experienced and laws are being abused , that makes it alright to say laws gainst caste discrimination should not be there ? Or if a few people benefitted under british rule and hence decided indians did not need independence from the british because they had not experienced and ‘colonisation ‘ and charges of colonisation were false, should we have been denied independence ? All laws are liable to be misused,you have to put in safegaurds to minimise that, not say laws themselves should not exist because oppression of others doesnt exist ??. wah bhai wah- aajkal raah chalte koi kuch bhi bol deta hai – yeh inet democracy hai bhai 🙂 🙂 🙂

    3. Ra’s al Ghul

      Hypocrisy, thy name is feminism

      From 2005 to 2008, as many as 22,000 men have ended their lives in reverse dowry harassment after allegedly being tormented by their wives. In contrast, dowry harassment has driven 6,800 women to suicide.

      http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/Harassed-over-dowry-men-demand-fair-play/articleshow/5241108.cms

      Who’s the victim?

  9. Ra’s al Ghul

    In the social experiment below, we can see how shamelessly people watch when a woman abuses a man, and one blithering moron even hits the man who is being abused, while on the other hand people jump in to rescue the woman who is being harassed, trying to be heroes and save the ‘damsel in distress’. I wonder where their sense of justice went when the man was at the receiving end. A man being traumatized by a woman is no one’s business, but lay a finger on a woman and everyone will try and be a hero.

    http://youtu.be/2B16dTOWaZU

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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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