If you are a woman who has many male friends, I am sure many-a-times, you’ve suffered at the hands of their unexpected and untimely misogyny.
This can range from making sexist jokes based on you and other women, to expecting you to “loosen up a bit” and “laugh it off”, to their perception of feminism which is that feminists are now turning into ‘feminazis’, to logically counter-attacking their self-contrived notions like “feminism is not needed anymore”, to letting go of their shallow and inconsiderate opinion on the very recent and much needed #MeToo campaign.
What I ask you today with utter honesty and brutal confrontation is that how many times have you ignored, let go of, or forgotten such incidents? How many times have you felt uncomfortable dealing with your closest of male friends carelessly and casually mocking the whole idea of feminism you so firmly believed in? How many times have you tried explaining to them your opinion on the same through first-hand experiences or just otherwise, only to be made fun of?
With the increasing use of the word ‘feminazi’ for feminists, where we are heading is a society full of concealed misogyny and hidden guilt among women who endure backlash because a ‘few’ don’t manage to understand the real need for the same. From being a completely misunderstood term, to being mistaken as a synonym for hating men, feminism has undergone way more scrutiny than ever required. What began as an open attack on women who misuse feminism “for their own benefit” now lurks as a fixed idea in our head. Feminism has lost its meaning in its misuse not just by women but by men who couldn’t come up with a better argument against it. What suffers in this entire process is the actual need for feminism.
While I have heard all sorts of things for being a staunch supporter of feminism – from ignoble abuses and accusations, to only privileged women using the feminism card, to women using feminism for privilege over men, to laws being only in favour of women and against men, to tireless hypocrisy at the hands of a few who criticise it for existing “just for women”, and finally those who say, “they are not against women but feminists crying for fake freedom.”
What I find masked in this approach is an inherent dislike towards the need for women to stand up for anything and everything, their proposition to get their opinions heard loud enough. With a backward approach of “what more do women need”, we fail to understand the basic requirement for the movement, for both men and women, because women alone have never been the victims of patriarchy.
While I am not against people who have a different and logically restricted idea of feminism, I am against those who defend their side without being aware of the struggles and everyday hindrances a woman faces. What affects me more is that there are women who have learned to internalise the structure of patriarchy mindfully taught to them since childhood. I wouldn’t for a second deny that most of us women have grown up with the same set of values but many of us choose to reject the same for it perpetuates the ingrained misogyny amongst those who feel agitated at women wanting to fight against established gender roles, not pertaining so productively in times before.
I reject the idea of rejecting feminism because you don’t necessarily understand it, I reject the idea of rejecting feminism because a few people misuse it, I reject the idea of rejecting feminism because the need for it will not cease to exist till we learn to internalise that many people, whether from “privileged sections of the society” or not, need it for survival. What I do reject is your misogyny that aggressively charges women who at least have the privilege to voice their own opinion.