top of page

Feminism and what its not

by Aparajita Jaiswal

June 1, 2021

Feminism: Why such a misunderstood word?

Let us first understand what Feminism means, because in India this word is highly victimized, accused, and bullied. Feminism means prophesying equality from the point of view of a woman. Unlike the meanings that this word is given in this country, it does not promote gender inequality or tries to prove that men are in any way inferior to women. It is just equivalent to the concept of gender equality only within the viewpoint of a woman.

Now, there will come questions why this viewpoint is considered from a woman’s point of view, why there isn’t a term called menism.  It’s a completely healthy argument, but there is one phenomenon that the world has landed on and it still hasn’t recovered from ever since the dawn of it. The phenomenon is nothing but the most crucial of the societal construct that our ancestors instilled in our minds, called Patriarchy. This term means to have a societal construct completely dominated, ruled, and exorcised by men. that women are the second citizens, unturned and incapable of making any decision even for themselves. 

This particular thing has led to centuries of oppression of women. Women were the ones who had to take a step back to follow the path of a man. A mother sacrificed her needs, her interests to raise a son, a wife left her family and comfort to foster a man to build his empire. There was an eternity-long sacrifice that women adsorbed, absorbed, and digested to make a man what he is today. This makes a man privileged and a privileged person’s point of view can diminish the idea of Equality. There are no shaming men here, it’s just that it is hard to give up the privileges. If you are the decision-maker of what ice cream to eat in your ice cream shop, you can obviously pick your favorite, but an outsider will ask about the availability of that ice cream.  It is the same way in the world, a woman is not granted all she wants but a man can take anything he wants as granted. A man can wear whatever he wants, roam whenever and wherever he wants, have any type of friend circle as he wishes, etc. But, at each step of the way a woman has to climb a bigger mountain to enjoy those same mundane things that a man is freely doing. 

And thus, there is a need to look at what woman’s needs are and how we can address them to match at the same level as men. Hence, we are viewing this equality concept from the eyes of a woman. But, sadly this concept is pathologically broken into pieces in Indian society. 

Indian society thinks that feminism is the chivalry of women as a way to seek attention, as a way to disrespect their religion, and most importantly as a way to demean men. In reality, it boosts women to actually understand the viewpoint of men, to understand the struggles that men face. The point of feminism is never chivalry but peace and a sense of responsibility, credibility, but we have made it such chaos that there are no bounds to it.

As in every construct, here also the reason that such misunderstanding of the terminology is due to unawareness of knowledge or its lack thereof.  The concept of lacking this knowledge is in rural parts that have brought themselves up in a highly conservative stature. The unawareness on the other hand is the bigger evil that spurs out of educated, civilized people who pass any comment bashing the male gender in the banner of feminism.

Feminism is not threatening a man with sexual harassment lawsuit or mocking when a man gets in trouble.  Feminism is in understanding that both women and men have their flaws and quirks. That both genders need equal rights, support, and law to reach a point of ethical correctness.

Feminism is upholding the banner that we all are humans and we all need the same things. Feminism is understanding one another, in a way it prompts gender sensitization. It is all that word equality resonates with its every alphabet. One thing is to be understood that the ladder is for the oppressed to climb to the same pedestal as the privileged not to raise one above another. 

bottom of page