Feminist or not? : the war within my mind

I’m not a huge fan of the new-age teenage books, but I decided to give ” looking for Alaska” a try. I’m so glad I did! I love that book. And now, I love John green for having understood teenagers as well as he did. I can connect with Alaska, but only to a certain extent. We both read a lot, she has feminist-ish ( if there is a word like that) ideas similar to mine. But apart from that, I’m afraid to say that most of my acquaintances would feel that I’m rather goody-goody, but Alaska surely isn’t! Sometimes, I have these raging arguments in my mind about feminism, and this book gave a further impetus to these ideas.

I love the idea of subverting the patriachal paradigm that Alaska is so fond of, but sometimes, I do feel that it is impossible to understand feminists. Which is exactly why I wouldn’t call myself a feminist. They start off with good intentions, but then tend to go a little overboard when people don’t agree with them. Everyone has a right to have an opinion as long as they don’t try to enforce it on others. What we really need in this world is true equality. But this equality cannot be bought by subverting the patriarchal paradigm and setting up a matriarchal one. Unfortunately, the women who were abused are continuing to be abused in spite of the society’s best efforts. Whereas, some of the others are taking unfair advantage of their new, heightened status in the society.

There are bad people among men and women. Cruelty is not the hallmark of men alone. There are several terrible women who are using their elevated status to threaten men. Feminists fail to understand that as of yet, women are not treated equal to men. They insist that there is no difference between men and women whatsoever. It is my opinion that they are wrong. To bring about a change, we need to first accept that there needs to be a change. To remove gender bias, we have to start making changes in our very homes. I was extremely impressed by Vogue’s idea: “ladke rulathe nahin hain” and the UN’s programme HeForShe. Why is it that we always feel that taking care of the home and children is a women’s duty? It is beautiful to see our generation embracing the idea that all duties must be equally shared by men and women.

Women are often accused of escaping excess work at their workplace on the pretext of having to look after their home and children. But this is not a pretext, they really are hard-pressed for time. If men and women had an equal share of duties at home, women would be free to pursue their careers as well as  men! In schools,it is often seen that girls are more dedicated to their work…but as they grow up, they are burdened with looking after the needs of every member of the family, in addition to paying attention to their careers. Miraculously, millions of women find a more-or-less perfect balance between work and family. But what about the rest of the brilliant women who end up sacrificing on one thing for the other?

Even among the educated classes of our society, if at all one-half of a couple drops out of work to look after the family, it is always the woman . WHY? Is it because men are from mars and women are from Venus? Are we really wired differently, or are these a result of the prejudices explicit in our society? It would be foolish to hope that ,in the Indian society, we can expect men to look after the kids while the women are the bread-winners of the family. I seriously don’t see that happening in the near future. And perhaps that isn’t the sort of radical change that our society needs yet. Men need to respect women for what they are. A man may be able to overpower a woman physically, but a woman has the mental and emotional strength to face any difficulty for the sake of the people she loves. We need a change in our society and we need it fast. Female infanticide and abuse of women show the monsterous face of mankind. Women have done more than enough to deserve respect, it is high time our society appreciated it.



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