‘Fake feminism’ is the raging new trend. Feminism is the belief that women should have equal rights as men, and adding the word ‘fake‘ to it makes it a bit complex and nonsensical. To me, it’s just another way to gaslight women into thinking that they are wrong to demand equality. I’ve been called a ‘pseudofeminist‘ or a ‘feminazi‘ a lot of times, but the incident I’m about to recount is the best.
I was clicking my best friend’s pictures along with a close friend of mine. While posing, my best friend’s top slid enough to expose her bra strap, and the other woman started poking her to hide it. I said, “It’s looking good, let it be like that only, it’s perfect”. And that woman, scandalised, turned to me and, in a very condescending way, called me a “feminist“. I looked at her and smiled because I didn’t know it was supposed to be demeaning for me. She tried again and called me a “fake feminist”.
The thing that affects me the most is she is an educated, independent and accomplished woman. She has had all kinds of exposure in her life, yet, she can’t fight the age-old patriarchal cliches that women have been conditioned to believe. She can’t figure out that a bra is just a piece of cloth that supports your chest, while nipples are just a body part. It’s okay if I love to flaunt a bra, and it’s okay if any woman doesn’t feel the need to wear one either.
If this is what can happen at my house, in my friend circle, then it’s safe to say that the level of hate women get for fighting for equality and their rights isn’t only coming from their male counterparts. This hate is deep-rooted in some women too, and that’s where it gets mind-numbing. If a woman who lives in a different state, away from her family, and earns for herself, is scandalised by a bra strap, then the fight is still really long and it has to start in our homes.
Every day I see women gradually easing in their skin, embracing themselves, helping other women grow, fighting against patriarchy, fighting against stereotypes and gender roles, fighting for their own and others’ rights too, and I get hopeful that we’re headed in the right direction. Then I meet people like her, and it gives me a reality check that there’s still a long way to go. If feminism is normalising a bra strap without getting our character judged, then I am a feminist. I am a feminist with or without a bra.