Feminism? I Am Confused

Posted by Mehr Gill
April 4, 2017

Self-Published

Following are the journal entries that try to point out that the debate on Feminism has been distorted beyond measure today. The point is to truly understand what we are fighting for, rather than bringing up a deeper divide.

 A millennial feminist’s diary entry on 30th January 2017

I am an urban Indian woman, the third wave of the feminist movement is in full swing in India and world over. From what I see and hear, I guess that the movement is about sharing articles we read on social media and blaming societal codes and men for the hardships women have to go through. I am a 19-year-old feminist who is doing her best to take part in this wave of change. 

 
I often come across Buzzfeed articles like  “23 Times Feminists Shut Men up” and “17 more Times Women had the Perfect Comeback. I also read “The Sexism Row over Natural and Circular Flip Phone” and “9 Signs that a Girl you like has friend-zoned you permanently. So many people share such articles on a daily basis, so it’s easy to stumble upon them. In fact, not having read about feminism in school or anywhere else, these articles define for me, what it is to be a feminist today. Since I relate to all or parts of them, I share them and so do a thousand other youngsters like me. 
 
As a young girl, these articles that I read continue to shape my nascent and developing mind a lot.
 
I am taking part in the movement wherein hundreds of girls and maybe a few boys who think like me will share what they relate to on social media with captions that will convince the world that we know what we are talking about. Do you realize the kind of impact we are making? One post shared by each person reaches a hundred more people and so on so forth. There we have, a brigade of unaware, men and women, women and men.  
 
I feel good on days like International Women’s Day where I use discounts and get a plethora of services for free. It is just another day, but with less spending and a blinding acknowledgement of women’s existence. I read up online that International Women’s Day dates back to 1909 and was started to acknowledge the movement for women’s rights. It has now become a haven for profit making ventures. Girls and boys like me know little beyond that.
 
You see, I was brought up in an urban environment and I haven’t faced most of the issues that form the cornerstone of the feminist movement. Most of my discussions about the movement go something like this. “We should start questioning why we have long hair. Having long hair is very sexist.” “I agree with you, Sheetal, the longer the hair the more shampoo you have to use. These guys just want women to pay more. ” “I am going to hold a candlelight march against this ” “Yay Sheetal! So many people will relate. Go Feminism!”
 

Feminism’s journal entry on 30th January 2017

“I know a lot of you hate me and my existence. Although ‘popular’, I am mostly infamous. I am going to change my name to ‘Equalism’ for now because I saw a human rolling his eyes when he heard my name in a conversation. This hurts me deeply because I stand for the hopeful human reality called gender equality. But somehow I have managed to find haters.
 
There is a forum on Reddit where the members believe that it is men, not women who have been “socially disenfranchised.” So I sometimes wonder, am I encouraging hatred among the sexes?
 
Years of mind numbing marches against bras and boys have somehow left me misunderstood. I don’t hate men, I do not want people who follow me to nitpick and play the blame game. But alas, that is what is happening today. Right now, people are calling themselves ‘equalists’ just for knowing the definition of the word and also because they ‘believe’ in the idea. I am not asking every human to do field work, to hold marches, but I am asking humans to have a clearer picture of what they are fighting for.
 
What do you see as the goal of equalism? To have larger pockets for women in their clothes? Or would you prefer young girls, boys and the queer giving shape to a world where we advance as humans. To have more Elon Musks, Barack Obama’s, Indra Nooyi’s and George Orwell’s?
 
We can build spaceships and carry out an expedition of this mighty universe. Damn, in front of things like these, I feel trivial. The possibility of a world like this may sound Utopian, but unless we imagine something great, it won’t happen to us. We’ve got to be ambitious here.
 
Unaware girls and boys, men and women are using my name to protest and march against sexist tampons. Today, equalism is a perpetual circle where people whine about redundant things and the majority of the planet continues to agree to those things. They keep shouting, people keep agreeing, the cycle sees no end.
 
If I look to the left, I see women in rural areas of third world countries dropping out of school because they can’t afford sanitary pads. According to UNESCO, 1 in every 10 girls in Africa, drop out of school because they can’t afford it. Sanitary pads are a basic necessity without which women can feel uncomfortable and face problems due to poor hygiene. Young girls miss out on school during menstruation and some girls completely drop out after reaching puberty. While organisations like Zana Africa are making some serious dents, there are never enough helpers in this world.
 
When I look to the right, I find that around 47 million girls and boys in India drop out of school post the 10th standard. The reasons could be lack of motivation, difficulty in coping or family pressure to find work. Why am I telling you about boys when the debate is about, ‘feminism’? Because I am a logical being,  I believe that if an organisation wants more women to join school, they can use the same effort, same people and save so much time and resources by including everyone deprived of something potent. This also proves that I am not self-obsessed.
 
I have a distant cousin, called sexism, who I am not very fond of. She, like me, is also misunderstood. She appeared in a question posed by a reporter from the New York Times, Yamiche Alcindor. She asked Bernie Sanders if running against Hillary Clinton was sexist. This really upset sexism and I. Humans are so well read today and despite of this, they continue their moronic behavior. Oh I will call Yamiche a moron, because she has no excuse! She went to college and has been a journalist for quite some time to be behaving like she did.
 
Take another case of a journalist gone berserk, read the following example. In an article citing reasons for reservation of women’s seats in public transports, she says the following, “Why should I be a hapless victim of a perverted moron when a simple seat can bring me mental calmness and physical safety? I would better raise my voice for a ladies’ seat than fighting these morally-challenged eve-teasers found in every public transport.” Firstly, how is a seat going to make anyone calm and physically safe? I didn’t know that sitting forms an invisible and unbreakable layer around a person which the eve-teaser cannot get through.  Secondly, this journalist is so rude towards these eve teasers. Wait, WAIT before you rage and call me names. You see, most eve teasers are known to have been conditioned in a certain way. They think what they are doing is “fun” or shows that they are superior. But this lady here says that telling them what is right is less important.
 
If we follow her thought process, we should encourage young boys and girls to stay at home rather than do something about the thieves and kidnappers who pose a danger to them. She ends her article like this, “The topic of concern, and the final point I make, is that we, The Woman, would better claim a rightfully-reserved ladies’ seat than depending on the mercy of a decent man (are there any left, by the way?).”
 
To explain why I think the journalist’s approach is wrong, have a look at this YouTube video. I wouldn’t go on explaining my point, watch the video and see if you agree with what it’s trying to say at all.
 
Currently, it has become so easy to express. Let me show you some stats about this. In one minute on the internet, 40,000 Facebook posts, 278 thousand tweets and 72 hours of YouTube videos are generated and shared. If a cranky boy wants to crib about his boo boo, he can write a blog about how “my mom is a pain in my tiny butt.” Some people WILL read this and some will also relate to it. Doesn’t mean we HAVE to waste our energies on it.
 
Aah, I literally have to spoon feed you all.
 
I was planning to reach great heights, which I have now, but standing at this point I feel like jumping and putting an end to this. Please don’t make me. Just read more, spread the correct message, have more meaningful debates and include all humans in this struggle. “
Clearly, right now, feminists and feminism are not on the same page. But can we try to make both of them meet?

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