By Anmol Nayyar:
This letter is for all those who know nothing or everything and some who might have heard about the words- ‘Feminism’, ‘Feminist’, ‘Feminazi’, ‘Anti-Feminist’ and other related phrases. Now-a-days, everyone can have an opinion on anything. So before, you give me any tag, just read it first.
I am here to bust some popular myths that I hope will clear the idea of what feminism really is.
1. People believe that feminism is some new trend to follow or go against just to appear cool or sophisticated.
While feminism has been a movement since ages that aimed at improving the physical, social, economical and intellectual worth of women through means of politics, media, art, literature and other such community portals.
2. For many, feminism privileges women to subjugate men and is aimed at proving men inferior to them.
But feminism seeks to promote equality between men and women in terms of their rights and duties concerned.
3. People think that feminism promotes rather than rectifying gender discrimination. While feminism is based on the idea of gender equality. It is a movement, a thinking and a practice that accepts the biological differentiation between sexes but disapproves any sort of differentiation other than biological means. There is a thin line between ‘difference’ and ‘discrimination’.
For example, the way a man or a woman likes to dress up is a ‘difference’ according to their body structure. But to put restrictions on one gender to follow a particular dress code is ‘discrimination’.
4. It is assumed that feminism means ‘men giving seats to women’, ‘reservation for women in politics’, ‘the women’s compartment in metros’ and other such practices. However, feminism doesn’t demand any special treatment, just equality. When you offer a healthy woman (not pregnant or aged or with a disability) a seat in public transport (place) or reservation in politics, it becomes a means of treatment that is offered to marginalised communities. So, isn’t it ironic that you say women are empowered because seats are reserved for them while on the other hand pitying them, because she is a “Bechari Abla Naari”, so let’s give her sympathy.
5. People think feminism means women wanting to roam around naked or alone at nights, drinking alcohol or puffing cigarettes. While feminism is much louder than that. It means women breaking away from patriarchal stereotypes in a society where they aren’t even allowed to be born let alone live safely.
Feminism has evolved but there hasn’t been a proportionate evolution in the minds of people. There are feminists who support women and their rights, then there are anti-feminists who believe that feminism is nothing but a sham.
Unfortunately, feminism is being misused and abused by the people who don’t even know the F of feminism. I would like to say instead of promotion, the only thing that feminism needs right now in our society is an understanding. You don’t believe in feminism, fine. But at least, don’t defame it.
I don’t know how many of you will get the picture right but if you believe in the concept of equality, then please don’t be ashamed of being called a ‘feminist’.