We are amongst those countries where discrimination against women has been a part of the long-standing customs and culture. Thus, it was only natural that among other things, feminism came to us as a part of globalization. Yet as tough as it has been for the other countries, the feminists in our country have to go through trials unparalleled by anyone else. Such is the state of feminism is our society that one would rather be a male chauvinist than calling themselves, feminists. Here are a few reasons that make being a feminist in India tiring.
The problem begins with the understanding of feminism in the so-called feminists of our country. This isn’t about privileges in every aspect of life, but about equality, which means that when you can, you should work as hard as men. Being equal to men means not asking them to get up from the seats reserved for ladies when they can be just as tired as you are; not letting them do the lifting of heavy stuff alone when you are in perfect condition to help; and even staying after office hours to get the job done just as they do. While certain privileges like maternity leave are a necessity for they arise due to the difference in biology, let’s not forget that they are given to the ones in need, and we need to stop being the needy ones if we want to be equals. It is only natural for the oppressed to want to become the oppressor when given the opportunity, for the circle of hatred and vengeance is never ending. However, in order to achieve peace and harmony, it is important to focus on equality and being at par with the oppressor, rather than exchanging roles with them. It is the natural desire to oppress men, in the women of our society, who have faced oppression and discrimination since ages, that has led to a misinterpretation of feminism amongst the masses.
The misinterpretation of the concept of feminism gives rise to misconceptions amongst not only the feminists but the rest of the society as well. The motive of feminism is understood as an attempt to make the feminine gender superior to the masculine gender while at the same time taking away all the advantages available, and this is the situation in practice for most. No individual or group would like to be dominated or suppressed by someone else and that is why feminists are put under a negative light. Equality, which is the true goal of the movement gets lost in these misconceptions, thus making it harder for a true feminist to practice their ideologies. Feminism is mistaken for a war against morality. The lack of proper understanding makes people feel that only by going against all the values and customs of our society can the feminists achieve their goals. A true feminist understands the difference between oppressive and harmless customs and chooses to reject and accept accordingly. It is true that our society is plagued by oppressive, discriminating values and customs, and those need to go no matter what but the traditions that are a good part of our identity need to be preserved.
The Detrimental Star Power
Priyanka Chopra is one of the leading female actresses of today, so when statements like, “I don’t need a guy for anything except for children” come from people in her position, they do a far-reaching damage to the feminist cause. While her comment might sound empowering, imagine it being said by a male superstar about women, how does that sound? One of the recent celebrity blunders came from Shahid Kapoor’s DU educated wife, Mira, who struck the wrong chords when she remarked that she didn’t work for she wanted to raise her daughter who wasn’t a puppy to be given only a few hours of her day. Our so-called royalty barely understands feminism and this turns into a menace for the entire movement.
The Unreasonable Expectations
For those who mistake feminism for an attempt to establish female superiority, encountering a feminist becomes a matter of ego and grave danger. While non-feminists are allowed to refuse a certain work which they are unable to do due to any reason if a feminist refuses she’s tagged a hypocrite. If men can complain of fatigue so can women, regardless of whether they are feminist or not, for we are after all humans. According to the perception of those scared of feminism, a true feminist should complain about nothing, not even the things men or non-feminist complain of because they want us to establish ourselves as superheroes for only then will they bow to our superiority, or else you’ll be branded as a rebel without a cause.
The Societal Pressure
We have to conform to the way the society works for you can either be a rebel and ruin your reputation thus hurting your family, or keep your mouth shut and bear the inequality in silence. As I mentioned earlier, complaining is a sin. So even if you try and change the male chauvinists through civilized talks, you will be called a rebel and the blame for such insolence will be placed on your parents for giving you too much freedom, or your character will be assassinated. If you demand the same freedom as men, even that will lead the same results as mentioned before. Ultimately you will be forced to be a feminist only at heart and not in practice.
The Personal Bias
Womenkind is associated with jealousy and bias across the globe and it seems more pronounced in our society. Our inability to rise above ourselves and treat all as friends and equals is the root of mostly all biases and discrimination against women in our society. One would expect things to get better in the modern days but sadly we are still stuck in this rut and it includes women of all ages, even those of the modern, educated generation. Rather than standing by and empowering one another, our so-called feminists have more self-oriented goals. We bitch about those who aren’t around, try our best to show other women down, and participate in an unhealthy, cut-throat competition in every aspect of life. So those old hags who kill the unborn or newly born daughters are not the only threat to feminism or feminists in our country, it’s all of us may be you who are reading this or even me who is carefully hidden behind the shield that my blogs provide me. This weakness of our sex has made it difficult to realize the true essence of feminism in our country.
Courage is the key to changing the masses. While the process is tiring, if you have the heart to brave it all for the greater good then keep going forward and let nothing come in your way. Set an example not only for the next generation but for yourself and those around you as well. Introspection is another very important step in this process of becoming a feminist and changing the world. Look into yourself and see the biases that you hold against your own gender.