The Pains Of Being A Feminist

Posted by Mita Biswas in Feminism
July 16, 2017

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Some think being a feminist is just so easy, others disdain the concept of being so. But those who follow the path of equality directly or indirectly are feminists. They have tolerated a great deal of stress in order to stick to what they believe. It is a fact that feminism is not a panacea for inequality but it is a feeling that makes us greater and better.

Rousseau once said, “The mutual duties of the two sexes are not, and cannot be, equally binding on both. Women do wrong to complain of the inequality of man-made laws; this inequality is not of man’s making, or at any rate, it is not the result of mere prejudice, but of reason.” Candidly speaking I don’t find any reason to say so. Many would, of course, think this statement right as they possess the same values within the heart. People who do not believe in feminism think there is no need of it. Certainly, they would argue and defend themselves saying ‘it creates more inequality than equality’. We all know their clarifications (man hater).

But for those who follow the very notion of equality in their heart and have to endure excruciating mental agony every single second, I just want to put one question – why in the first place our society needed feminism? If everything were normal; oppressed women, child marriage, subjugate women, everything; then I don’t know who needs the doctor.

In my childhood, I did not care about these things. How would I? All these were normal. Girls have to get back home before evening wherever I go, unlike boys. It is not that I was deprived of education. I got everything my parents could afford. Unquestionably, education is a thing, the very first step, but it is not everything. I faced discrimination the day my father scolded me for playing volleyball with boys (after some ultra-concerned, curious aunt told him so). And the list does not end here.

Why Is It Painful?

I wonder if the term ‘feminist’ stinks because there are many who are not ready to call themselves as feminists. Oh my god! What would other people think? Secretly, they expect others to fight for her.

Secondly, if you are a feminist you probably could not bear the everyday discrimination; yes every day, everywhere. You would speak up. You would every time. People would think you a freak. They would be surprised at your oddity. Those who know you would say, “Now you will give lectures on feminism,” or some would say, “Okay, here comes our feminist.” No, not out of respect but that is the deadliest weapon they would use anytime.

If you whimper about something you will listen, ‘Ah! women always complaining’ or ‘Why are you complaining of bus seats? Are not you equal to men? If men can go like this, why don’t you?’ and then will utter the same dialogue, ‘And you people want to become equal!’

It is a fact that a true victim of domestic violence seldom files any cases against the convict. That is not a proof that these things do not happen. While discussing the case of domestic violence you will always come by one example where a women’s false claim under article 498 destroyed her in laws. That might be the case somewhere but it is not the rule. They would question your sentiment towards the in-laws family, but they would never have the audacity to raise the question why in the first place we are needed such law.

I rarely wear saris at my workplace. Listening to that, some of my close relatives stared at me like i was an alien. The age old perception is that a teacher looks good in a sari (they actually mean sanskari). When I told them that I am learning to riding a bike (not scooter), the response I got was, ‘Why do you need to learn bike? You are a girl’. Some said that out loud, while others gave me a ‘look’. Yes, I cannot describe it but it was definitely not a positive one. ‘She is going to meet with an accident for sure’.

Scrolling across Facebook wall you would come across a lot of cheesy jokes about women; how ugly they are without makeup; how they make the life unbearable of their better halves; their fetish for shopping (as if men don’t want to look good). Girls are even judged for being too girly and for not rightly naming superhero movies. Any normal person would laugh at these jokes, ‘They are just jokes yaar, why are you taking it seriously?’

But I am not normal, I am an anomaly.

Every day we encounter these kinds of tongues, gazes, expressions which try to indicate that whatever you do, you are basically a woman. You are saying this because you are a woman that’s a very familiar sentence I hear often. To which I would like to say in the words of Simone De Beauvoir, ‘I am saying this because it’s true’.

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