Has Feminism Got Way Too Mainstream?

By Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Okay ladies, lets be honest and admit how many times have you played the feminist card. Don't you try to deny it because I know you have, well, we all have. 

May be that time on the bus when all the ladies seats were already full, and you try to give this little guy an angry stare down or when you tried to grab the last piece heavenly rainbow pastry at the bakery by giving the 'I am a woman please let me have the pastry face' ( Okay, that might have been me)

In a nation that still struggles to completely define gender equality and feminism, we have somehow found our own definition to it. Some do get, and some absolutely don't.Now make no judgements, I am a feminist myself and I believe women are superior to men but then isn't that just male chauvinism ?

But you know what really irritates me is people sharing these stupid, pathetic posts about feminism and calling themselves a feminist. These are the same women who do not even help any other woman if they see someone getting eve teased on the streets, these are the same women who would blame the girl for her rape because she was wearing short clothes and these are the same women who would leave no chance to tell you how fat or unhealthily slim you have got.

I was reading this article about Saudi women, when it hit me - no matter how much we try to parade the feminism in people's faces, its just never going to be enough.

According to this article, women in

  • Saudi Arabia aren't allowed to drive ( Fine by me, I hate to drive! ) But hey, women should atleast have the choice to drive, liking it or not liking it is their choice. And no, I am not trying to quote Deepika Padukone here.

  • Women are not allowed to leave the house alone without a chaperone, a male chaperone. Why ? Seriously, why ? What if I lived in Saudi and I was in my house alone but my dog needed to poop. Would I have to make him poop inside the house? But seriously, what if there was an earthquake or a much awaited alien attack? Would they be compelled to stay at home and hope for the Men in Black to arrive on time?

  • No gyms or sporting events for women. Again, completely fine by me but what the government (or the king) of Saudi don't realize is, the future Williams sisters are being escorted to the market right now with their male chaperones, wearing burkhas and buying nice clothes so that their family can wed them off soon

  • Okay, here comes the weird one - no wearing red or giving red roses on Valentines day or celebrating Valentine's day at all (Shiv Sena would go ecstatic if that rule was implemented here). But who is the government to tell women what they can't or cannot wear. And all this over a colour? Seriously ? This is like the US government trying to decide if a women can have an abortion or not. Seriously, no uterus no opinion. And there, I just quoted Rachel fucking Greene.

  • But the worst one - women cannot work. They can may be in education and medical field but hey nothing too fancy and nothing to major because well, you are a woman and you are never supposed to forget that. You are not expected to have any dreams

But then comes the agony of the Indian woman, no the modern Indian woman who lives by her own, has a nice job, can definitely travel alone, has a nice guy hanging on her arm but hey - she needs feminism.

  • Don't you dare tell her she is too weak to pick up those heavy boxes because that is chauvinism but if you don't offer to help her out with the boxes you are a jerk.

  • Don't you dare tell her she is a bad driver but if she hits something while trying to park, its your fault for not warning her

  • Don't you dare tell her she can't cook. Its 2015 and not all women spend their lives in the kitchen but when she finally makes something and it tastes hideous, you are expected to gulp it down like its the best meal of your life. But hey, she is going to criticize that chicken you made all day long.

I know and I understand women need to be empowered ( Just to clarify, I am not quoting Rahul Gandhi. I am quoting whoever he stole those lines from). But empowering a gender doesn't mean making the other gender look bad, what we need is gender equality and not feminism.

Women often complain about not getting paid as much as men but men aren't expected or in a lot of cases not allowed to take a maternity leave too. Now I understand the guy doesn't have to push the baby out of his womb but he is having a child too and shouldn't he be entitled to take a few weeks off to spend some time with his kid and help her wife out? The wife could play the feminism card over the husband here for not being there for his baby. But hey, its still the guy's fault right ?

I know that women have still a very long way to go when it comes to achieving gender equality and I know its not an easy road but I also know not all men are against gender equality. I have met a lot of men who respect women like they should be and believe women should have an equal status as men but they do not believe in feminism. They think a feminist is someone who gives more preference to a woman over a man and that;s not we want. We need an equal society. Just like our constitution says,

The constitution of India not only grands equality to women but also prohibits discrimination against any citizen on grounds of gender,race, caste or religion

I don't know when this part of the constitution will come to reality, but I hope it does soon.

or, we could always go the Ryan Gosling way

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  1. "gender equality" is the key phrase here. Feminism is equal to gender equality.
    And gender equality is being treated the same as a man.
    If a man has to get up from his seat for a pregnant girl, a woman should too.
    If men are allowed to stay out of the home till late, women should be too.
    If a man can drive a car like a maniac and get away with it, so can a woman.

    Equal treatment. No bias on the basis of gender.

    What feminism does NOT mean is getting preferential treatment BECAUSE you are a woman.
    This point right here is what gets lost in translation.

    On second thoughts I might just write a whole post on this, thanks for the nudge, Ritika!

    1. Feminism does mean gender equality but the whole purpose of this post was to show how people just don't get it.

      I have travelled in public transport in Mumbai a lot and I can tell you most of the men (like 99.99% ) are damn respectable, you don't even have to say anything but they make sure to give their seat to you. If ever there was no seat and I was standing in a suffocating crowd, the men made sure I had enough space so that no one was pushing me around, even if that meant they had to scrunch in a small place.

      Women are allowed to go out late, it just not safe, and again that depends on the area and how alert the police is. You possible cannot go out in the middle of the night in UP but in Mumbai you could travel anywhere at night and yet feel safe.

      You cannot blame the men here for that, if the authorities were as strict everywhere, this wouldn't be a problem.

      As for driving like a maniac, in June there was a case where a woman lawyer had killed two people on the Marine Drive road by her Audi and she is out on bail.

      Gender doesn't get you out. Money does.

      And yes, I am definitely waiting for your take on it. Ping me up when you do :)

  2. I definitely think it has gone too far. so much so that advantage is being taken all over..

    I think we indians love doing it we take everything to a extreme :)

    if we start to treat others as we want to be treated ourself.. things will change for sure


    1. You just summed it up all so beautifully Bikram, we just have to treat others how we would want to be treated, that it !

  3. This whole saudi arabia thing makes me really sick!!!! their restrictions are so unbelievable....

    btw....the post is perfect about feminism!!! i love it ...i mean really,... it made me ur fan!!!

    1. Thank you so much Ajgal! I am glad you liked it :)

  4. Umm...okay some clear problems with the post. Please bear with me as I explain.

    "May be that time on the bus when all the ladies seats were already full, and you try to give this little guy an angry stare down"

    That is not someone playing the feminist card, that is just someone being unbelievably selfish.

    "Now make no judgements, I am a feminist myself and I believe women are superior to men but then isn't that just male chauvinism ?"

    Feminism does not mean that women are superior to men. They are not. Nobody is superior to anyone here. Feminism simply means that women are as good/bad, capable/incapable, deserving/undeserving of rights and opportunities as men are. That based on their gender they will not be disadvantaged in any manner and that they will be treated with the dignity that any human being deserves in a civil society.

    "But empowering a gender doesn't mean making the other gender look bad, what we need is gender equality and not feminism."

    No. What you need is feminism, because that is exactly what gender equality means.

    "Women often complain about not getting paid as much as men but men aren't expected or in a lot of cases not allowed to take a maternity leave too."

    Maternity leave is meant for women to cope with the immense physical changes that her body goes through during and after childbirth. Something that men do not go through. There is no question of equating the responsibilities and needs of a man to a woman in this case as they are essentially different. Demanding equal pay is not the same as asking for more days off.

    "I have met a lot of men who respect women like they should be and believe women should have an equal status as men but they do not believe in feminism."

    Please tell these men that they are already feminists, if they do believe in these principles.

    Lastly, Feminism is not a fashion trend. It cannot go "mainstream". You either believe in it (which is to say that you believe in a fair and civil society) or you don't.

    1. First things first - if feminism and gender equality mean the exact same thing then why do we even have these two different words ?

      Thinking that men don't need maternity leave like women do is actually male chauvinism and you just proved that women deserve a special preference over men because they give birth to a life while men can't.

      Do you know 70% of the women get dragged into depression just a few days after getting birth and how they cope up with this depression decides her relationship with the child in the future? Most of these women need their partner to be there with them to cope up with all those problems.

      And your narrow thinking that men belong out in the world working and women belong at home taking care of the kids actually proves you do not know anything about gender quality. According to you, a woman cannot leave her week old baby and go anywhere but a man can ?

      Gender equality is a father taking care of his little kid while the mother goes out to work while making no judgements about it.

      And yes, I will tell my male friends that they are absolutely right in what they believe in

  5. While I get where you are coming from, you definitely could benefit from a better understanding of feminism. Feminism is out and out about equality. And to be honest, it's moved way past even that paradigm. Feminists have brought intersectionality in the development and justice discourse. This means it's no longer even about just men and women. It's about understanding people with all their identities of caste, class, color, creed, religion, ability, mental health, education, age, gender, sexual orientation and so on. Young feminists (15-20 years of age) of all genders around the world are doing fantastic work to bring about gender equality and further people's rights in legal, sexual, educational, health, economic and other aspects. This confidence to be able to stand up for what they believe in, and do something about it, is the direct result of at least 5 decades of systematic organization, mobilization, documentation, research, resource building and community engagement within the feminist movement (so much so that now we have a whole body of feminist studies).

    On the other hand, a lot of us are still struggling with the misplaced and unfounded anxiety of feminists trying to oppress men. The anxiety is shared by the majority of the society. And even people who don't believe it will espouse it so as to not alienate this majority. Forget you and me, even the UN and WHO, who now use feminist language and processes for all their documents will never use the word "feminist". The feminist movement has brought nothing but positive change. And the goal of establishing female supremacy was never a part of the agenda. There have always been much better things to do!

    P.S- In no way shaming you for your opinions. But I do think it is important to engage with a philosophy before being critical of it. Good luck on your journey! <3

    1. Would also like to add that some of the most critical men's issues, such as sexual and physical violence against men, unfairness of patriarchal expectations on men to be providers and even paternity leaves, have all been brought in by the feminist movement. While the "Men's Rights Activism" movement in India has only successfully managed to keep marital rape legal and popularize the idea that women file false cases all the time (in a country where women barely even report. Go figure)

    2. Shreya,rape is not legal, in any form. And do be honest, there have been cases of women filing false claims against men.

      Just because a majority of women are oppressed in the country doesn't mean a fraction of women aren't taking advantage of men.

      I know and understand what feminism stands for but the whole point of this post was how many people do not understand the concept of feminism in its entirety. Feminist are who rallied up to get equal voting rights to women and the right to inherit their parent's property just as equally as men.

      But there is no denying that some feminists have just crossed the line to a point.

      And I was in a no way trying to be critical, if I were would I put those memes and gifs out ? :D

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  7. Hi Ritika,

    I get the point of the whole article. Some women do use their gender card to get preferential treatment, but so have some men from ages. I have seen both the cases. You won't believe this probably, but in many households the wives are expected to cook even though they are just as late from work as their husbands are. Lets not even get into other household chores and whether it gets equally divided etc.

    Our debates on who gets preferential treatment, can go on and on. But I would like to correct just one thing. Even a basic google search will tell you that "feminism" means to support and demand women's rights that have been NOT given to them since ages, while the men have gotten them just because they are "men". The stuff you mentioned about what women are lacking in Saudi Arabia are done to them by force. Those rights have been snatched from them. Because in many parts of the world, women are still considered a weaker gender, in all aspects. That is so wrong.

    There's enough confusion in the internet over what feminism is by definition. Lets not confuse others more by referring to feminazis (those who believe women are above men) as feminists.