With all the talk on feminism recently, we’ve had some good coming out of the nascent conversations around the topic but we’ve also had even more misunderstanding on a very basic issue. So let me define it as google would, feminism is equality in political, social, and economic rights for people of all gender. Why feminism then? Why not simply humanism? So let’s address the question that gets asked not because there’s a valid argument behind it but to shun a valid movement.
Feminism because it’s the female gender that we are striving to bring at par with the male gender in terms of the opportunities at equality. Don’t tell me “it’s the 21st century, there isn’t any disparity”, because it’s there. Right from high-tech companies in America paying unequal wages to men and women for the same work to women in rural India dropping out of school when their menstrual cycle begins, gender equality is there, very much there.
So we have talked enough about the problem, let’s for a change discuss solutions here. How you, as a man, can ensure you support a woman in bridging this gap and how you as a woman can make active efforts to progress on the path to equality.
I have read diverse literature but some of the new literature disgusts me. It’s not new to see male writers portray a submissive devoted picture of a woman as the ideal heck; our mythologies have done it for the society but to see women actively carrying on the crusade is problematic. “I’m not like other girls, “I don’t wear make-up, “She’s a bitch and a slut,” no this isn’t boys locker room talk. This is the basic plot of many of the stories floating around.
Feminism is about freedom and equality, it’s about putting on the boldest shade of lipstick for your happiness; about wearing whatever the heck you want to because surprise it’s your life. It’s the freedom to choose to become a housewife if that’s where your heart lies, to live a life on your own without getting attached to the stigma of being ‘’unmarried’.
It’s about making it okay to flaunt your legs unwaxed. Heck, why women undergo so much pain is beyond my understanding. Human hair is as natural as it gets, why the forced need, why the unrealistic standards of beauty? It’s about picking your goddamn chair and not looking for a man to do it, not if you are capable enough to do it on your own. If we are to fight for equal rights, we’ve to learn to take equal responsibility too.
I unlearned a lot of stereotypes and prejudices as I grew up and one of them was a beauty. I’ve realized I’m not going to take being beautiful as an achievement simply because I never earned it. Genetics can take all the credit but I won’t. So I don’t tell a woman she’s beautiful. I tell her she’s strong and funny and caring, and fierce as a lioness when it comes to protecting her loved ones, and free as a dove when flying towards her dreams and an amazing friend great at what she does because that’s what I would like to hear too.
So don’t compliment me about my beauty, don’t tell me my earrings look nice, do not praise me for what isn’t mine and what I didn’t create and what is but a temporary possession. But tell me that you read something of mine that ignited your soul, that when you heard my story, you realized mountains can be broken down too, tell me you look into my eyes and know there’s a soul inside, beautiful alive and ready to set the fire because that’s what I would search in you too.
So women, bring about the change. I am glad of the barriers we have broken, thank the feminists before us for we have the right to live but there’s a long way ahead. So I hope the next time you don’t settle for an unequal salary, the next time your relatives tell you short dresses are exactly what ‘excites’ males, I hope you give them a piece of your mind. I know you are strong, and we’re stronger together. So be there for each other. Let’s fight injustice anywhere and everywhere.
It’s amazing to see your work for the cause and even better to see you creating conversations on the topic, we need it, the society needs it. And it’s okay if you misunderstand feminism right now, we’ve got you on the side of the movement, now the movement will guide you. Feminism is equality, really actually it’s that simple.
No, we feminists aren’t on a holy crusade to harass and suppress men. Believe me, that’s exactly what we’ve been fighting against for centuries, we won’t wish it on you because trust me it sucks. We’re not here to put blames, we are here simply fighting for a change, and trust me it’s a beautiful change, one that is for the betterment of the whole of humanity and we all will benefit from it. So here’s how you can contribute towards this change because it is sure as hell is on its way.
Fight for equal rights in your workplace. Do not settle for higher wages for the same work. Normalize menstruation.
Yes, women bleed once every month, yes the period blood is red well no surprise there, just thought some advertisements could take notes here. So do not freak out of your senses if you see a pad in a woman’s bag or you see a red stain on her clothes, it’s normal. Create an environment of equality in your home. No, it’s not your mother’s job to slave in the kitchen all day, and no, just because it’s lockdown and you’re at home, it’s not her duty to make you five snacks a day.
Help out in the kitchen, in the household works, it does not make you less of a man; if anything at all, it makes you a better one. Call out sexist conversations, no it isn’t funny; no the casual remark passed in meetings intended to be taken lightly is against every professional ethics rulebook there is.
Bollywood, come on, Kabir Singh? No, women don’t like oppressive men full of toxic masculinity, I don’t think we’ve spoken loud enough for you to hear or maybe you’re better at turning a deaf ear, so here’s it, women like men who appreciate equality.
Yes, I would like a man to support me as he would expect me to in any relationship. It’s equality and trust that’s the foundation of any relationship not your romanticized cold obnoxious draining version of love. So come join in the change. Help us bring it about sooner, help us bring in a world where I can walk on a deserted street less afraid of being harassed than being robbed, where the most beautiful natural process that is the reason humanity sustains be normal, let periods not be a calamity anymore. Let’s bring in this change together.