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Although this article has been written addressing a regular college going girl,guys are most welcome to read and share their views.
What does feminism mean to you? I’m sure there must have been instances in life when you faced situations that can help you answer the question. (I recently wrote about the kind of academic challenges girls face in Princesses And Their Dark Side: Why The Concept Of Being A ‘Good Girl’ Is A Faux ). So what is it then? Holding grudges against certain men (and women) for treating you differently as compared to the guys? Competing with guys,always trying to prove you’re a cut above them? Being a tomboy and ignoring the feminine side of you? Completely dismissing dating/marriage as you think all men are ‘bad’’? Ignore it as much as you want to but the truth is, you’ll be come across this question/situation quite often.
In a recent article in The Gloss titled Donatella Versace, Anja Rubik Don’t Know What Feminism Is, Still Don’t Like It, the celebrated fashion stars were attacked for what seemed like their ignorance on the topic. Which got me thinking, aren’t we young women (most, not all) also guilty of the same crime? If after nearly 20 or more years of living in a society, you’re ignorant of of what feminism is, you need to start looking at things seriously.
Versace,in the same interview was heard saying-‘Feminism is dead.It comes from another time’. Well,sorry ma’am, but feminism is still very much alive. Its just that the third wave of feminist movement acknowledges that we should take into account the feminine side of us as against what was practised by second wave feminists. Similarly, Rubik, a 29 year old Polish supermodel’s views on the topic were similar to what a lot of young women-myself included (I didn’t take a clear stand while writing Abortions: Highway to Hell? )- have been misinformed about.
Feminism, in its totality, is not some ‘crazy extremism’. Yes, many overlapping movements and ideologies have been developed over the years, some of which can be called extreme (such as separatist feminism which does not support heterosexual relationships), but mostly, feminism is not something that extreme.
Feminism, is a collection of movements for establishing and defending all rights of women, fair enough right? Before you go on to decide whether you’re a feminist(or even if you don’t care ,for that matter), look at all the privileges you have that women born before couldn’t even think of. Privilege to vote, take part in elections, work, earn, drive a car, reproductive rights(such as birth control, abortions etc) were not there for women 100 years back. I’m not just talking about India here, but the world in general. For example, women in Saudi Arabia still don’t have the right to drive (Allowing women drivers in Saudi Arabia will be ‘end of virginity’).
So, yes, if you and me have it easy these days,it is because of the work of those so called ‘crazy feminists’. I’m not really encouraging/discouraging anyone to call themselves feminists as I’m myself still learning about it.In fact, I have doubts such as-don’t some women call it sexism when a male colleague is paid more than them but also expect chivalry in the form of a husband/boyfriend paying for their meals? Isn’t that a kind of of conflicting behaviour? Of course its just a trivial example. However,the point of the post is, we must try to take a valid stand when it comes to feminism. It’s not ‘cute’ to act like we don’t care or we don’t know. And even if that seems like too much of work,we can at least be grateful for all the rights we enjoy now. Someone else worked hard for it!