” That’s like someone being like, “I don’t really believe in cars, but I drive one everyday and I love that it gets me places and it makes my life so much easier and faster and I don’t know what I’d do without it.” “
– Amy Poehler
If a woman identifies with this word she is immediately typecast as another raving, tampon burning lunatic. If a standup comedian cracks a joke about it, it is widely laughed at for it’s dark satire. This word is none other than probably the most controversial word of the century- feminism.
We are all reasonable adults here so I am simply going to assume that we all know what it means. We know that women are no inferior. We know they deserve equal footing. We know they need to be treated on par with their male counterparts.
So if we do know all this, where is the issue you ask? The problem lies in the fact that most of us know it only in theory. We know it as a fact without application. We know it like textbook.
As long as this invisible brick wall exists it doesn’t matter how passionately Emma Watson speaks in the UN for it will be a repeat of things we already know. Surely a well-meaning, brave, attempt but a mere scratch on the surface, none the less.
I’ll let you in, on something I read recently which inspired me to write this. A gender studies professor in a well-known university after his lecture expressed the same concern I had earlier and wanted his students to know exactly how your gender affects your lifestyle rather than just have them read about it. On the last day of the year he involved his freshman class with equal number of girls and boys in an activity. He asked them to stand to one side of the lecture hall if they’d ever stopped themselves from doing anything or missed out any experience at night, simply because they feared bodily harm. The rest who felt otherwise were to stand on the other side. In a matter of minutes his class had quite precisely split in to half. Each half, a homogeneous composition of a single sex. Every single girl had answered positively. And that day, every male student in the class learnt something years of lectures couldn’t teach.
Just like that it was plain obvious how being a girl was not shoved in your face on just payday or recruitment day but literally every single day.
The fact that you are denied something just because of your gender is not a realisation you have at isolated times in a lifetime but a blatant truth that continues to burn in the back of your head. A truth which we’ve sadly come to accept as a given. And this is where the need to rebel arises.
For feminism doesn’t demand a woman’s right to work or a woman’s right to stay at home. All it asks for is the freedom of choice to pursue either. All it asks for is a woman to be made the controller of her own life, the writer of her own destiny.
Gender inequality is in itself, a rotten bias and ironically, it has been one thing which has seen no bias in it’s existence. Irrespective of time, caste, class, color, creed or religion, the female of the species have unanimously been victimized by every civilization that ever came into existence.
We celebrate education and brandish it as the one answer to all the evils of the world. We say, educate the masses and take for granted that every unresolved social issue will cease to exist. But again the one exception continues to be gender discrimination which is shamefully practiced by the educated and the uneducated alike.
It is about time now that we stop using the word feminist to describe anyone who believes in equality of the sexes. For anyone who does that are simply to be considered normal. As for the ones who don’t believe in it, they are to be branded sexist, the worst kind of person to be.