Now, before you judge me by the headline, hear me out.
The first time I heard the word ‘feminist’ was when I was 10-years-old. I didn’t really know what it meant. I was told I was ‘acting like a feminist‘ when I told my dad that I wanted to go to the camp just like my brother. At the time, I didn’t know what was the appropriate response to that because I didn’t know if it was a good thing to be a feminist or bad. So I just kept quiet. The story ends with me staying at home but I don’t think my father was wrong not to send me. And you’ll know why by the end of this blog.
Coming back to ‘Feminism’. Based on all the conversations that I’ve had from the day my dad called me a feminist to until now, this is what people around me meant when they called me a feminist (I asked them specifically) –
- You think you are stronger than a man
- You think you can beat a man
- You think you are smarter than a man
- You think you are superior to a man
- You think you do not need a man’s protection
- You think men are overrated
- You hate men
While all or some of it may or may not be accurate. But surprisingly, this has nothing to do with feminism.
- Do I know that girls are more likely to be a victim of a heinous crime? – Yes. History is a proof of that.
- Do I think a girl should be protected? – Yes. I believe ‘children’ need be protected. (And that’s what I believe my father was doing)
- Do I know that men are physically stronger than women? – Biologically, yes. But I have come across strong women and weak men. (just puting it out there)
- Would I like to fight a man? – Hell no! I know I’d lose.
But, when we speak of ‘Feminism‘, why do we point out the differences? Why don’t we talk about the similarities?
Now your turn to answer –
- Do you believe both have emotions?
- Do you believe both do have ambitions?
- Does history not prove that both are intellectually capable?
- Shouldn’t both have the right to enjoy the freedom?
- Shouldn’t both have the right to choose?
If the answer to all these questions were ‘YES’, then what are we missing?
Women have that weird way of trying to be feminist. You know, like ‘hear me roar.’ But what they really want is a man to open the door for them.Leslie Bibb
Oookay!! Now, let’s consider this.
Do I want a man to hold the door for me? – No. But, would I like it if he did? – Yes, I would.
But if you think this is what makes him a feminist, then you’re mistaken. It’s called being a gentleman — big difference.
On the contrary, would I hold the door for a man? – Yes, I would.
We do it all the time, don’t we? While walking into a store and there’s a person standing right behind you, do you not offer to hold the door? – Nine out ten times – you do.
I am not asking a man to stand at a place holding the door for hours just waiting for me to pass.
Do it only if I’m right behind you because I would do the same.
Next, you would assert – it’s not just women, men also face discrimination.
- Do I know men serve harsher prison sentences for the same crime as done by women? – Yes
- Do I know there are women out there who cry wolf? – Yes
- Do I know women get more preference when it comes to child care and parenting? – Yes
- Do I know in this society, men have more pressure of taking care of the family’s financial needs? – Yes
- Do I think all this is fair? – No
- Do I think while we speak about women’s right, we should address men’s too? – Yes, we should.
Feminism means the political, economic and social equality of the sexes. So, when I say I’m a feminist, I am not fighting for women alone, I am fighting for men as well. I fight for equality.
But then what are we aiming at?
The aim is to reach a place where this discussion is no longer relevant. Hoping for a time when we know and accept both the similarities and differences and instead of pointing them out, we help each other. Make ourselves stronger, together.
So, personally, where do I start? I start with a little RESPECT.
Respect is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.Annie Gottlieb
Now isn’t this what we all want?
(P.S.: Feminism, in theory, is vast and its perspective is very much based on personal experiences. And I respect every human experience so pardon my ignorance.)