Feminism, a word coined and first used in the 1890s has become quite popular now-a-days and is heard almost every day. Authentically put, feminism is not that simple a word. Feminism in itself is not just a word- It is a thought, an action, a movement and most importantly in today’s world, it is and should continue to be – a change.
So much has this word been used, that it now stands on the verge of being nothing more than a cliché. It is most trending and yet most are unaware of the basic meaning, essence and virtue of feminism. It has become one of those words that might earn you recognition. In midst of debates, fights, arguments and discussions, people forget what Feminism is really about.
For all those already lost, let’s start with the basics.
Feminism aptly and simply is the equality of gender. It is not in favor of any sex, man or woman. According to feminism, both genders should be provided with equal opportunities, respect, freedom, rights (political, social, economic) etc.
The supporters of this idea are called feminists and movements that promote the ideas are called feminist movements.
If the meaning is so simple, why write an entire article on it? Why are there so many protests chanting this word? If there is a word like this, there must have been some disparity amongst the sexes. This disparity was in support of the males. Let us talk about India.
Wrongs against Women:
It is true that our society is patriarchal to some extent. Unequal wages, opportunities for job and education, lack of freedom of choice (both personal and social) etc. are some examples which are testimony to the same. The society is biased towards men.
A girl is tagged a slut if she wears something revealing or talks to a few boys openly. A child is killed just because she is a girl. A girl is judged as characterless if she expresses her desire to marry a particular guy or if she has been intimate with someone before marriage. She is decided to be unfit for marriage if she has been divorced before. A widowed woman cannot even think of getting married again for the fear of society pressures.
A woman is tortured for dowry. She is judged as arrogant if she does anything against the wishes of her parents, in-laws or husband. You might have heard someone saying, a well-educated woman cannot be a good bride. In a few areas, a girl who sits on a bike with legs on both sides (like the rider) is considered a whore. Even in urban society, a girl cannot reveal that she has a boyfriend in front of her parents as openly as a boy.
All of the preposterous ideas mentioned above would still make sense or at least have been debatable, had they been applied to both the sexes.
Why should a girl go through all this? A boy talking to different girls openly is tagged as a stud! A divorced or widowed man gains enough sympathy to remarry without hesitation. Hell, a guy can rape and yet be married in India.
In a land where we worship innumerable goddesses, where we adorn a bride with innumerable jewels, where we consider our daughters-in-law as our own daughters, a land in which we seek and worship girls during kanya pujan, a land in which our mothers are considered supreme, where rakhi is celebrated as a symbol of love between a brother and a sister with a promise of protection from the brother and a land which is considered a woman itself – Bharat Maa, why are there so many atrocities against woman?
Flip side: Wrongs against Men
That being said, men are not spared from misdirected hatred either.
Why should there be alimony if there should be no dowry? Why should men suffer due to false dowry cases? Why should every man be considered and labelled as a potential rapist?
Why should every man who says anything remotely against a woman be considered a “male chauvinist pig”?
Why should a man be considered an ATM card who is fit to marry only when he has enough money, a well-paying job, and a house? Why does a man get immediately beaten up on the streets even if a girl makes so much as a plea? Why are there laws which allow women to go as far as kill a man even at the slightest of doubt of physical assault? Why should a man suffer public shaming on news and social media just because a girl accused him of something without being proved?
Every guy has a MAA-BEHEN, but every girl has a BAAP-BHAI too! The way to resolve years of atrocities is not by making new ones. Feminism is not about revenge for what has already happened, it is about bringing equality so that such atrocities don’t repeat themselves. Across internet and you will find numerous articles about how women have always been victims of the system and how men have always been at the better end. True, women have suffered, but that does not mean men have not. Ask a man who earns less than his wife, how he is shamed in the society. The concept of house-husband does not even exist in the Indian society, the wrath, if it is introduced, is only unimaginable. Ask a man how his side of the story is neglected when a girl accuses him of something or how he is deemed a pervert when a girl leads him on falsely, intentionally, and he makes a move.
People, please stop this “War of the Sexes”. Learn to be rational. Learn to not be judgmental. Learn, not to generalise. Learn, to treat everybody as an individual. Let us all grow together to make this world a better place and a world without sexism.