Musings of an Unapologetic Feminist...

Are you a feminist or just a man hater?

Are you really a feminist or are you just fascinated with the idea of feminism?

Many a time I have been asked these questions. Many a time I have been asked if I’m a feminist. But before I answer that let’s dwell a little on what feminism is. At least for me? As far as I’m concerned it has got something, in fact everything, to do with the quality of life of a female. It is something that reminds the world that a woman deserves respect and has every right to lead the life of her choosing. For me it’s not only the age old fight for equal rights but something more than that. It is to remind the world, especially the Indian society, that a woman is more than just a wife or a mother. It is to ensure that a woman is not punished for the clothes she wears or is not blamed for being raped. It is to ensure that marriage or motherhood isn't the culmination of a woman’s life until she wants it to be so. It is a movement, a vision and a life long struggle to fight the highly misogynistic society of ours in whatever little way possible.

So I don’t know if it matters but still I have this sudden desire to announce to the world that of course I’m a feminist. Why would anyone even think otherwise? Let me also let you in on a little secret, I’m proud of being one. Call me what you want. Define me as you wish, not that anyone really cares, but I think that’s what I will be as long as I walk this earth. And I’ll do it with pride. Here are just a few of the reasons why.

To ensure that every time I’m asked to wear a saree for a client visit I stand up to make it clear in no uncertain terms that what I wear has got nothing to do with how I work. I’m not here to deck up and look pretty. Though there’s nothing bad in dressing up there’s more to me than what I wear. And if my wearing a saree is good for the company’s image in front of the client then I’ll only do it when the men in my team wear dhoti and kurta too. Women are not show pieces and every organization needs to know that.

To take notice every time a woman places her career on the back burner for her husband or children unless it is by her own choice. Yes, the feminist in me will suffer a heart break each time women give up their aspirations but she will not be tight-lipped about it. I’ll never believe that sacrifice should be a woman’s middle name and will try to propagate the same.

To raise my hand every time a woman feels guilty for taking care of her parents after marriage for the feminist in me wants to change how our society thinks.

To interject every time someone takes the names of a handful of successful women to subdue any voice urging better treatment of women folk. The feminist in me will shout at the hypocrisy of the world which refuses to see the plight of millions of women around or the fact that even the successful ones are not spared from jibes of the world’s questioning attitude.

To yell every time a pseudo-intellectual woman justifies acid attacks or rapes by men on the guise of the opposite sex being hurtfully shunned. The feminist in me needs to raise her voice at every such occurrence and she will indeed do.

To bring to the world’s notice every time a woman is stopped by her husband or brother from wearing sleeveless salwar suits or even churidar for that matter. The feminist in me will be angry then because while a man gets to roam around freely in shorts there’s clearly discrimination when it comes to a woman’s attire.

To stop someone from equating liberation of women with a few reserved seats on buses and compartments in trains. The feminist in me would like to remind the world that if not for that some men would have free access to groping women in every nook and cranny of the public transport system, especially in India.

To stop and make you ponder every time you think women are bad drivers. I see thousands of awful male drivers on the road. And I’m sure you do too, day after day, every day but what gives the world the right to associate bad driving skills only with women? So the feminist in me will urge you to not resort to such sexist outlook of the world.

To remind the world that it’s not fair to deride women. Remember the jokes trending on twitter making fun of Alia Bhatt because she wasn’t able to answer a question? You do, don’t you? Well even her male co-star Varun Dhawan wasn’t able to answer so why no jokes about him? Convenient memory loss to only target a woman? So yes the feminist in me will raise her voice for such instances too because for some strange reason the world finds it really easy to mock women.

So there I’m a feminist and maybe you should be one too. Up to you of-course! All I can say is it has got nothing to do with hating men. It’s about hating the wrong done to women. In fact, if anything at all it has got everything to do with making this world a better place for women. Tell me then are you with me? Will you raise your voice too? Perhaps by lending a helping hand to the woman in your life as she makes it through this skewed society every day? Perhaps by being the woman you want to be, unapologetically? Think about it.