Opinion

Feminism

Today I spent some time thinking about feminism. About what it means to me and what my opinion is on it. I realized I had some scattered thoughts about it so I decided to collect them all and put them together here.

I want to talk about the feminists first. From what I’ve seen, there are two kinds of feminists. The first one is people who are actually doing something. I say people because feminists are not just women but men as well. After all, it’s not just something that affects women but men as well and it’s natural they’d want to be part of it. These are the people (the feminists) who are making positive impact, spreading awareness about it and helping those in need.

Feminists believe in equality, which is what feminism is all about. It’s not about special rights or special treatment for women, or putting men down. Feminists understand the role of men in the society and all they ask for is people understand women’s role in the society as well. That women are more than just a BabyMaker 5000™, where sex goes in and 9 months later a baby comes out, or somebody’s mother or wife or sister, but an actual person that deserves equal treatment.

These are the people doing all the hard work and if tomorrow women succeed in getting what they deserve these will be the ones they would have to thank for.

Then there is the other kind of feminist, that isn’t actually a feminist at all. These people are generally known as feminazis. Feminists believe in equal rights, feminazis want special treatment. These are people filled with hatred for men (I believe the word for that is ‘misandry’) and hide behind the ‘feminist’ tag to spread their hatred under the guise of fighting for women’s cause when all they are doing is pushing their own agenda. These are the people that burn bras and write Tumblr posts about how horrible men are. Or lose their shit online when a main character of a game is a man instead of a woman. Because that’s really what matters right now.

Every group has some extremists and the feminazis are the extremists of feminism. Religion, for all its flaws, could continue to exist in peace in this world. There are many people, majority actually, who go about their business and follow their religion without bothering anyone else. Then there are the religions extremists who ruin everything. They hate people who don’t subscribe to their religion and they hate people following some other religion. These are the people who give religion a bad name.

The feminazis are like the jihadis of the feminism. These are the people who give feminism a bad name because as it always happens, the vocal minorities take up all the limelight and somehow end up representing the whole group. It has come to a point now where feminism is considered a bad thing, even among educated people. Worst of all, many women think that feminism is a bad thing. I understand some of these women (and of course the men) are in a position of privilege and may not feel the importance of feminism. But even if you are healthy, you don’t diss the healthcare system; there are others who need it.

If there are any feminists reading this, the feminazis are someone you have to take care of. They need to be stopped and only you can do it. Identify them among yourselves and shut them down. It won’t be hard to spot one when you look around. It probably seems like a nice idea to have as many people on board in need of help but one should also consider the kind of people you are bringing on board to help your cause, as some of them might do more harm than good. People who are just there to hate, people who are using it to look cool, people who are using to impress others and show how open minded they are, are not feminists. These are not the droids you are looking for.

I am not a feminist. I believe in equality and always treated women like any other people with as much respect as they deserve. But I’m not a feminist. Thinking of equality does not make me a feminist just as thinking of going to a KFC does not make someone a non vegetarian. I don’t know about others but I believe you need to do something constructive before you can call yourself that.

Everybody is talking about feminism today. It seems suddenly everyone has woken up to this concept, or at least the word in general. Blame the feminazis if you will but it seems the concept and the word is being hammered on to you every other minute, especially online. As such, it’s not hard to see someone or the other complaining about it, often women themselves. Unpopular (and uninformed) opinion it may be, but it feel it could have been handled more subtly. Hammering a new concept onto someone is less likely to them accepting it and more likely to them rejecting it. New ideas need to be coaxed onto the people gently so that they grasp themselves and not forced upon them. Maybe the time for coaxing is gone. Maybe it’s time to bring the hammer down. I don’t know. I just feel I’d listen more eagerly if someone explained something calmly to me than if they kept shouting it at me every day.

I feel I’m talking from the position of extreme privilege. As a straight male born in a middle class family in a city like Mumbai, I have diddly squat of an idea about people’s sufferings. People like me shouldn’t really be wasting our time talking about feminism when we don’t have the faintest idea of what it’s like to be a woman, even in a city like Mumbai, never mind the rural regions. This is why I find Anurag Kashyap’s recent comments odd. He asks why feminists are angry. I guess it would be hard not to get angry if you go through the same stuff women go through on a daily basis. It’s like a person who is chauffeur-driven to work every day asking why are people so mad at railway price hike. And he’s going to make a movie on rape, which is like the aforementioned chauffeur-driven person who never stepped in a train making a movie on the discomforts of a second class compartment during rush hours at Dadar station.

Anger is a good thing if used constructively instead of just spraying it around everywhere. I guess that doesn’t happen often enough, hence the angry feminist stereotype. But getting angry at people who are not at fault or worse, trying to help you is perhaps the worst thing you can do when fighting for a cause such as equality.

I didn’t want this post to sound too condescending or patronizing to feminists. I wasn’t trying to show oh look how much I care about your cause. Like I said, I’m not a feminist and I’ll likely never be because honestly I don’t find myself devoted to any cause so much that I’ll fight for it, never mind one that I don’t even fully understand and will never properly appreciate. This is something that only those fully dedicated to the cause should be doing. But I also won’t get in anyone’s way as long as someone doesn’t behave like a dick, at which point I would have to stop and call out their bullshit. Like some of those morons on Tumblr. But that’s a discussion for another day.