What Is This, Feminism?

Posted by sanika athavale
March 8, 2017

Self-Published

 

The word ‘feminism’ is misconstructed, misinterpreted and misused too often.

Feminism isn’t man-hate.

Feminism isn’t about patronising men.

Feminism isn’t saying that women are superior

Feminism isn’t just about LGBT.

Feminism, is a revolutionary global movement that promotes and fights for equality amongst all human genders. The truth is that women and transgenders have been most subjugated since years immemorial. Therefore, more often than not, it advocates issues pertaining to them. But that, in no way translates into hatred towards men. If asking for equal rights and opportunities is hatred for you, let it be as such. Maybe your grandchildren will be able to tell you what feminism is.

In an effort to explain the idea of feminism, I have used the much talked about – ‘MY CHOICE’  (a short film directed by Homi Adajania, starring Deepika Padukone and 99 other women) and ‘MY CHOICE TOO’ (a retaliatory video posted by Being Indian, on YouTube), as cases in point.

 

HA – My body, my mind, my choice.  

A very harmless opening. Every person has the right to use his or her own mind and body as per his or her own wish.

 

BI   My body, my mind, my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

Of course, your body, your mind, YOUR CHOICE! There is no doubt. Err, the inappropriate milkshake comment could have been avoided.

 

HA – To wear the clothes that I like, even as my spirit roams naked.

Definitely. The concept of clothes was invented to protect the human skin from harsh weather conditions. As generations passed, this concept evolved into being a symbol of status and a mark of character. Today, we judge people based on their appearance and the amount of layers they choose to cover their bodies with. We have grown to be such a perverse society that an unconscious display of female body parts can get imaginations and opinions racing. One (man and woman included) should be allowed to physically roam naked without being subjected to verbal/physical/mental abuse.

 

BI –  To wear cargo shorts and old tshirts under which I am naked.

Totally justified. An individual is free to do whatever he/she wishes, as long as those actions don’t cause any harm to another living being.

 

HA – To be a size zero or a size fifteen, they don’t have a size for my spirit and they never will.

The number of teenagers and adults who are depressed because their bodies don’t fit into the definition of ‘perfect’ or ‘attractive’, is alarming. It is time we stopped propagating industry-friendly body sizes and encourage a healthy body image.

(These small sizes came into existence by accident, as a matter of fact. When mass producers started experimenting with cloth designs, they created small sizes to save on their resources, before the experiment was marketed. They eventually found people who could fit into these prototypes and photographed them wearing their new designs, for promotion and marketing. Soon, it became a norm and a misunderstood idea by the fashion aficionados)

 

BI – Two inches flaccid, five inches erect. They don’t have a size for my spirit. Actually they do! It’s measured in pegs and pints or a Patiala.

The misconceptions that exist about the penis and its various sizes are saddening. Sex education is necessary to deal with this because it has been scientifically proven that size doesn’t affect the process of conception. Unless you have an inclination towards a particular size/sizes, it shouldn’t matter.

The alcohol remark is redundant. Manhood isn’t measured by how many beers you can down. Your alcoholism is.

 

HA – To use cotton and silk to trap my soul is to believe you can halt the expansion of the universe, or capture sunlight in the palm of your hand.

Truer words could not have been spoken. The purdah, burqa, hijab, etc are desperate actions of sexists who believe that limiting a woman’s physical freedom is equivalent to confining her mental and intellectual independence. Just as the forces of nature can’t be tamed and conquered, an individual’s spirit is indomitable.

 

BI – To believe male models and actors are representatives of our society, shows what a dumb fuck you really are.

Actors, politicians, models, scientists, activists, regardless of whether they are male or female, are all representative of the society. Movies, songs, literature, festivals, educational systems, social evils, social goods, familial relations, common interests, stereotypes, bio diversity, human-animal relations, inter-personal relationships are all a reflection of the values and morals upheld by a society. Human models, actors, or public figures personify this.

The cuss word could have been avoided.

 

HA – Your mind is caged, let it free. My body is not, let it be.

People in general try to avoid change. This captivates the mind as it isn’t allowed it to see and contemplate beyond a certain point. If the world was change-welcoming, as opposed to change-averse, it wouldn’t have taken as long as it took for the abolishment of apartheid, dilution of the caste system, access to equal education, etc.

Try to be more liberal, world. Live and let live.

 

BI – I don’t really need you. Apna hath jagganath. My right hand, my choice.

We all need each other as this is an interdependent world. Open your biology textbooks from high school. One of the first chapters taught the lesson of symbiosis.

(Use your right hand, or your left. It doesn’t matter to the world)

 

HA – To marry, not to marry, my choice.

A fair statement. Marriage is a choice, not a necessity.

 

BI – My mind is dirty, deal with it. Our species survival and evolution depend upon me imagining your best friend while I am doing you.

Dirty, not dirty, that’s your prerogative.

The survival and evolution of the human kind doesn’t depend on your ‘thark’ level. Please think twice before you make such horridly misogynist statements. If not feminists, you’ll need to explain yourself to biologists.

 

HA – To have sex before marriage, to have sex outside of marriage, to not have sex.

Sex is a physical need. There is no shame in it. But to have sex outside of marriage is largely questionable.

Marriage, by definition is lifelong commitment to someone – physically, emotionally and sexually. If you don’t have an understanding that permits sex with others, doing so will hurt your partner’s feelings. It is the breach of an agreement that you had consciously entered into. If you don’t agree with the conditions of marriage, don’t marry, but don’t try to break the concept.

 

BI – To marry or not to marry, my mum’s choice.

Err, sure. If you really want that. (?)

 

HA – To love temporarily or to last forever. To love a man, a woman or both.

One does have the independence in deciding how long to love. However, this decision shouldn’t be taken at the expense of the other’s feelings. Due consideration needs to be given and a mutually acceptable decision may be taken.

When it comes to deciding whom to love, every person must know that love cannot be suppressed by mere notions held by religions and people. You can be gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, whatever you want! You have the right. On the other hand, it is unfortunate that the Constitution of India decided to criminalize any kind of love that doesn’t fit into the rudimentary definition.

 

BI – Where we live after marriage, also my mum’s choice.

If your choice is your mother’s choice, good for you! There is no shame. Just don’t be blindly influenced by someone and try to use your own head in evaluating situations.

 

HA – Remember, you are my choice, I am not your privilege.

Hands down! Girls and boys, know that the relationships in your lives are invaluable. If you don’t respect them, they’ll stop respecting you.

 

BI – To be a mama’s boy, my choice.

Okay. No harm. We also have mama’s girl/daddy’s girl/daddy’s boy, as options.

 

 

HA – The bindi on my forehead, the ring on my finger, adding your surname to mine, they are ornaments. They can be replaced, my love for you cannot, so treasure that.

Being a part of a materialistic world, we tend to value insignificant things more than humane feelings and emotions. It takes a mature and an evolved mindset to move beyond the realm of rapacity.

 

BI – If you want to sleep with others then I want to have sex at least three times a week. If I cannot have it with you, I will find another.

Fair, totally fair. But the same thing applies – If you are married, you don’t have the right to break that commitment by infidelity. Marriage is complete devotion to the relationship.

(Food for thought – Why does only ‘sexual infidelity’ equate ‘breach of trust’? There are so many things that form a marriage. Apathy, emotional indifference, selfishness, and a plethora of variables can also used to judge the level of commitment. Why is only sexual loyalty used as a yardstick for commitment?)

 

HA – My choice, to come home when I want. Don’t be upset if I come home at 4 AM. Don’t be fooled if I come home at 6 PM.

The streets, public places, office and educational spaces, belong to all. Curfews should be for criminals and not the ones vulnerable to them.

 

BI – I watch porn, lots of it! Red heads and Japanese girls are my choice.

A lot of men and women watch porn. ‘Pornography’, per se, is a different topic. It doesn’t need a ban but massive regulation.

If you don’t fall in the class of those who excitedly surf categories such as – Rape, Child Porn, Animal Porn, and the like, you needn’t worry. But those who proudly watch, share and create a demand for such videos need to be put to task. You are not only perpetuating wickedness, but are also promoting chauvinistic degradation of women, children and animals.

 

HA – To have your baby or not. To pick you from seven billion choices or not. So don’t get cocky.

Yes, you have a major say in whether you wish to have a baby or not. It is your body, after all. You need to deal with the pangs of pregnancy for nine months. You need to endanger your life, while you give form to another. You are the most important stakeholder in this decision. If you have an involved partner who unselfishly wishes for something that eventually seems beneficial to everyone in the picture, it becomes his/her decision as well. It takes two to clap just as it takes two to create a new life. So, your partner also needs to have some decision making power.

 

BI – My profile picture with you, my cover picture with you, the two hundred and eighty pictures that I have clicked of you. They are all pictures, a lot like ornaments. I can untag myself from them.

Yes, Facebook has that option.

 

HA – My pleasure may be your pain. My songs, your noise. My order, your anarchy. Your sins, my virtues.

The need of the hour is to embrace diversity. I like this movie, you don’t. I like this book, you don’t. I hate that person, you love that person. I like this song, you do too.

We come with different tastes and preferences. They aren’t always mutually exclusive. But if we have decided to live with people, we must also accept their choices and inclinations. Beauty is in acceptance, not rejection.

 

BI – To love a woman or a goat. Or both.

I might have to make a call to animal welfare activists. Creep.

 

HA – My choices are like my fingerprints. They make me unique.

Yes yes! Couldn’t agree more!

 

BI – My choice to the naagin dance at a baarat. To fart and be proud of it because well, we all fart!  Sometimes prrr, sometimes psss. My bum’s choice.

Haha yes! We need to let go of all inhibitions and talk, sing, dance, laugh (even fart, lol) the way we want!

 

HA – I am the tree not the forest. I am the snowflake not the snowfall, you are the snowflake.

We are all individuals with our own identity and largely held generalisations can’t cripple our distinctiveness.

 

BI – To disagree with some Bollywood actresses preaching her self-entitled arrogant gyaan, my choice.

Do only actresses preach ‘self-entitled arrogant gyaan’? If you choose to disagree with anyone, it’s purely your choice! Don’t oppose someone for the heck of it or with the want of targeting a person.

 

HA – Wake up and get out of this shit storm.

The world is pretty messed up, it’s time we held our own.

 

BI – I am the naala and the commode. You are the unflushed toilet water.

Technically the toilet water keeps the nauseating smell of the faeces from spreading in your house and stops the excreted particles from sticking to the interiors of the commode. Flushed, or unflushed, its purpose is to keep the commode and your house, clean.

The comparison of women to the toilet water (unflushed in this case) and men to the naala and the commode, hardly makes sense. I guess it was just an anxious effort the writer of this script took, to make a joke out of the gender equation but miserably failed in logic and humour.

 

HA – I choose to empathise, or to be indifferent. I choose to be different.

Different people, different levels of empathy and indifference. But the indifference shouldn’t breed ignorance and oblivion.

 

BI – I am not a feminist, I am not a male chauvinist. I am just me.

You’re nothing but a silent spectator of oppression and evil. You are the person who says ‘chod na’, ‘woh sab jaye bhaad mein’, ‘apna kya jaata hai’, ‘iss sab mein nahi padna hai’, ‘she was raped because of her clothes’, ‘go back to the kitchen’, ‘woh dekh tota’, ‘itna padhke kya milga’, ‘khana banana sikh le’, ‘saale behen/madar chod’, ‘apni jagah mein reh’ to list a few.

 

HA – I am the universe. Infinite in every direction. This is my choice.

The unconquerable human spirit is contagious. It can give life, take life. It is infinite in every direction and one chooses what do to with the gift of the human spirit.

 

BI – Finite and infinite are big words that mean little to my existence. Smart enough to know my own limits and where I stand.

Oh yes, just because I have one, doesn’t mean I am one – A dick.

My dick, my choice.

Good for you. No should be judged based on physical attributes.

Your dick, your choice? Sure it is, as long as you don’t try to force it on someone’s body or eyes.

 

The links to the videos are given below –

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtPv7IEhWRA – Homi Adajania

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnBdxu0qABI  – Being Indian

 

 

The Homi Adajania short film received more flak than it should have. Agreed, there were a few incorrectly made statements but the world managed to make a fuss over two wrong lines and repress the otherwise powerful message the video held.

I hope this write up helped you understand what feminism is, and next time you wont ask, “What is this, Feminism?”

We feminists, are mere pursuers of equality and respect FOR ALL GENDERS. Nothing less and nothing more.

 

 

Youth Ki Awaaz is an open platform where anybody can publish. This post does not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions.