Oops! Did I utter an anti- male, pro-female concept prevailing in society? I don’t think so. Nowadays, wherever I go, whoever I talk to, mentions in a way or other this term known as ‘feminism’. Females take pride in it and males resent it.
But unfortunately, the eves speaking of the term with pride don’t actually know the essence, beginning and simplicity of feminism. It is a term that should not have any discussion. Since it’s not an ambiguous but definite term. With one simple specific meaning. It’s just equality between male and female.
Charles Fourier, a male French philosopher, coined the term ‘feminism’ in 1837. His concern was simply ‘to liberate every human individual, man, woman, and child, in two senses: education and the liberation of human passion’.
But this definition needs to be elaborated further so that the chauvinists or sexists cannot use it to their benefit. This practice, unfortunately, is prevailing largely in the world, and especially in my country, India, on a massive scale to this day.
Before we discuss that, let me introduce to you a few facts. Chauvinism means excessive or prejudiced support for one’s own cause, group or sex. (That shows a hint of selfishness, doesn’t it?). Sexism means discrimination against people because of their sex: anything unfair to males and females, just because of their gender, is sexism.
So, if we graph it, there is this big circle of gender. This encircles males, females, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers and if there is any other class of sexuality that is not discovered as yet. Let’s name this circle ‘equality’. Now, just circle out male and female, making it a smaller circle inside the big circle. This, my friend, is called ‘feminism’. So, equality concerning specifically the male and female genders is called ‘feminism’. Simple, isn’t it?
Feminism does talk about female rights, but it doesn’t mean that we have to go against the rights given to men or the human rights that are not specifically advantaging women. The glossary of the fourth chapter of the NCERT book of Democratic Politics of Class X describes a feminist as ‘a woman or a man who believes in equal rights and opportunities for women and men’. So, let’s stop talking about feminism and actually start practicing it.
I have given my metro seat to an elder man who is more tired than me and is in more need of it than me. That doesn’t make me any less of a feminist. The woman who is good in health and is very capable of standing for hours in the metro, if she is forcing a man to stand up from their general seat so as to let her sit, be the man in very good condition as to stand, does not make her a feminist. Rather, this behaviour shames feminism.
Feminism considers the pain and distress inflicted on both the genders equally. If I stand against abuse, of any sort, inflicted against females, I would also stand for justice to the male employee sexually harassed by his female boss. That makes equality, doesn’t it, considering the males and females in the same pane in all matters? Where women need upliftment, their cause would be supported and where males are discriminated, they would be provided justice. Now, that is what makes feminism.
Stand against patriarchy, but don’t hinder someone’s human rights. That would mean to oppose humanity. I wouldn’t like to become Fourier or Bell Hooks, but Deepika Bhardwaj instead. I would clap for Ram Prakash Chugh and oppose 498A and any other such laws. I would support ‘Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao’, but I would also stand for POCSO and Right To Education (RTE) Act, 2005. All of us, together, have to defeat patriarchy and establish an egalitarian society.
I don’t support the male partner raising his voice against his partner. But, I would also grip the hand of the female that lifts up in a blow towards her boyfriend or any male for that matter, if not in self- defence. My concerns are towards both Adam and Eve, and also others except them, who had to undergo the pain of sexual assault. I voice for the justice against the wrong for the wronged, irrespective of gender. I believe, truly, that I am a feminist. What about you?