By Arpit Goel:
Feminism is not a term I use as a hashtag, as a twitter trend or use it in parties to get noticed. It is not just a slogan banner creatively doodled with graphic metaphors on my T-Shirt, but it tries to say something more than that. It definitely doesn’t deserve to be seen as a threat by any person. And it is more than fair to all stakeholders in every society. Considering Feminism with a serious eye would be a wise decision and there are reasons for that.
It matters that we understand feminism because it is not based just on actions but also vouches for our understanding of the reasons behind each action. Feminism simply espouses requirements that essentially demand us to do the right thing at the right time and it can be applied to anything in our day to day lives: From how we construct our cities to be socially progressive, to ensuring our freedom of expression through attire or speech. It helps create and engender a libertarian narrative with arguments around people and even their sexual habits.
Shockingly many choose to grasp only that limited definition of feminism made available by its opponents – who view tomorrow’s possible equitable change as a ‘threat; to their present. But feminism presents a fair challenge to status quo and argues for human liberty and freedom. It is fair to accept that this ‘change’ in the daily lives of all genders is more radical in lives of the dominant sex in Indian society – men – as it seeks to create spaces within the spaces they have inherited under their status as dominant.
Feminism then justly demands an equal sharing of roles and taking charge, consciously, of customary habits and practices daily. It proves to be a hard trade-in at each hierarchical level, as this aspect of equal level participatory action has been absent and unheard of before. And it is assumed by the dominant sex that it marks the status quo. It perhaps tries to shake it up.
But it is not the naughty child in society out on rampage as it is often accused of being. It works to offer a positive change towards equitable opportunities for women and does suggest optimistic consequences especially where an individual’s sensitivities matter and become all the more important. For example, at certain places, feminism’s implied actions are seen to demand the betterment of all.
Within the public scope, it asks for mandated personal convenience spaces and an equal and ‘no prejudice approach’ to consideration in jobs prospects. When it comes to personal necessities and choices, it exhibits itself through demanding access to contraceptives and freedom to practice a safe sexual lifestyle of one’s choosing.
Feminism alters our way of life by giving place to raise questions regarding length of breadth of liberties that women deserve unequivocally. But it is not a women-centric term, as it can work for the rights of all people by criticising and releasing conventional shackles of possibly all gender-based norms. Sharing of power, or in other much fairer terms, the demand for natural rights through feminism, should not be seen as thrifting away of something that was for men to give, but a basic need, like every human being desires and expects from life, for acquiring prosperity with dignity in the pursuit of happiness.
Every thought deserves a critique, so does feminism, we agree. Therefore a ready and active social leadership coupled with vision are needed and together they must engage with a bustling young population like us.
Efforts to include youth to vociferously advocate and indulge in conversations becomes pertinent – youth who can represent its nuances in simplistic mannerisms of everyday lives. But it can only come once we are not scared of feminism and choose to consider it by inviting into our lives.