There are times when I witness discussions about feminism, between people who often don’t understand the word and its impact, thereof. Of course, it’s not by choice that I am pulled into these conversations where people pride themselves over not being ‘feminists’. And I don’t blame them. I’m myself guilty of dissing remarks that would qualify me as a feminist. But those were times when I was younger, and way stupider. And the reason behind my behaviour was that feminism was taking a major turn towards misandry. And for people who didn’t understand either of the terms – it was because of this thing called feminism where women hate on men. I thought it was because of its ‘much needed’ aggressiveness that feminism was turning sour towards men; that misandry was a sad but indispensable by-product of the feminism wave.
But no, it’s wasn’t. Never has been. The line between feminism and misandry is not thin. If you’re overlooking it, it’s because you are ignorant. You don’t have to put someone down, to pull yourself up. Male bashing is on a constant rise and it’s not just morally wrong, but also deeply concerning. Over the years, have I not only understood the importance of feminism, I’ve also realised the necessity of its advocacy. For centuries feminists like Rani Lakshmibai, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. B R Ambedkar, Emma Watson, Malala Yousafzai, and many more have worked towards equal opportunities for women. We have, for hundreds of years, battled against atrocities such as Sati, Child Marriage, Bride Burning, and are still battling Female Genital Mutilation, Forced Prostitution, Marital Rape, Dowry Violence, Honour Killings, to name a few. Such stupid and rather distasteful remarks only serve the purpose of dismembering hundreds of years of these struggles.
So, here are some guidelines to help you not be a male-basher:
– Don’t hate on men just to make a point and support your gender
– Don’t go crazy on someone who says he/she is not a feminist. If it bothers you so much, educate them.
– Don’t mistake ’not needing a man’ for independence.
– Don’t ask for equality and also expect men to pay on dates, and then bash them for not doing so. You can’t have your cake and eat it too!
– Don’t validate opinions that turn the tables on men. Whether it’s rape, eve-teasing or even ‘matriarchy’, what’s wrong will be wrong.
– Jokes about Misandry are not funny, unless everyone gets a good laugh out of it! (The key word here is ‘everyone’)
As articulately put by yet another vocal feminist of our times, Nivedita Menon, “feminism is not about that moment of final triumph over patriarchy but about the gradual transformation of the social field so decisively that old markers shift forever.”
Let’s get this straight. Rape is not ok. Forced marriage is not ok. And misandry, sure as hell, is not ok.