I’ve been reading about feminism since high school and it has always been a concept that interested me. I’ve been that outrageous kind of girl who opposed every little inequality of the sexes and got into due or undue fights that I thought were relevant to our stances as girls. It wasn’t just me, even people around me thought I was a feminist because when I’d asked a professor for guidance regarding a research area, he’d suggested I explore the lanes of feminism as that would naturally suit me best. (Did not happen though)
That feeling of defensive feminism will never go. I am and will always be the woman who believes women deserve equal, if not higher. But as I’ve grown and come to know of greater number of instances in the name of it, the idea has begun to quaver and has made be sceptical if I want to be recognized as a supporter of feminism or not. (I say supporter of feminism because I don’t recognize myself as a feminist – it’s an identity that takes much more to deserve.)
I cannot bring myself to support the modern day definition of feminism. As I’ve understood it in the past, feminism is that madly intense movement in which women from all parts of the world strived harder than all of us combined today. They left homes, had to forgo marriages and norms, their lives were turned upside down and many were even lost. Women of those times literally gave up every possible comfort to fight for that opportunity which was denied to them on the basis of sex. And owing to that struggle they underwent, today we enjoy even the most basic of rights such as suffrage. Feminists of the 19th and 20th centuries practically gave us women the world we live in today.
There are feminists today, but most of them I cannot agree with. Especially on the levels of ‘modern’ and ‘liberating’ feminism which has infused the idea with so many adulterating factors that the original idea is no more to be seen. The instances we read about feminism in modern India can blatantly be traced down to cheap chick-flick movies that advocate vibrators and swimwear in the name of ‘liberation’ and ‘women embracing their sexuality’.
Sure, we must be liberated and we must embrace our sexuality. I definitely have nothing against that. But let me tell you something, such movies and movements happening on the levels of Bollywood and urban scenarios are making no more impact than a couple of big bucks for themselves. Women who come to watch chick-flicks advocating ‘feministic ideologies of liberation’ are well based in independent backgrounds and, evidently, have fully embraced their sexuality or they wouldn’t come to watch a movie whose promotional theme was itself a vibrator.
The truth is, Feminism has been dropped to a level of ‘controversy’ which can help boost a career of a flop actress, popularize a fame seeking ‘influencer’, help an offender play the victim card and draw women away from their traditional roots in the name of liberation. They speak nothing about equal opportunities. Nothing happens when little girls are raped and convicted are granted bail. Nothing at all happens when a woman DOES NOT want to embrace her sexuality in public but is forced to do it through a ‘viral video’ scandal.
Feminism of the modern world is basically Twitter and Instagram campaigns and item songs advocating women’s rights to ‘wear what they want’ and ‘do what they want to do’. Again, I have nothing against women wearing what they want and doing what they want, but item songs and vibrators are just not how I understand what they term all this to be – feminism. They call it freedom of choice and liberation, but I cannot connect to it. My freedom of choice can be expressed in a number of ways but choosing a vibrator just in order to create a controversy is not what I’d go for. I will always call out on harassment but a Twitter campaign wouldn’t be my first choice. And if I make a mistake I might admit or budge, but I’d never claim they’re playing me because I’m female.
I am a believer in Feminism and its ideals to the deepest extent. But I cannot relate to Feminism in the modern context. I am an independent person, I wear what I want and I say what I feel like, but the idea of liberation as advocated by these feminists does not appease me at all. Women like me aren’t feminists. And those women in chick-flicks advocating liberation and ‘heroically battling’ insignificant trolls on Instagram aren’t feminists at all. There are people out in the world who are actually making lives better for women and setting up examples. They probably are, but they don’t claim it.
Change my mind please, but for now I cannot call myself a Feminist.