Thursday, May 17, 2012


What is feminism?

Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.[1][2] In addition, feminism seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist is a "person whose beliefs and behavior are based on feminism."[3]
Am I a feminist? Guess I am one when I fight for my own equal rights.

But sometimes I find feminists making fatal mistakes. For instance in Kerala a hair oil company is bringing out a few advertisements in favor of women and the issues they face specially in Kerala. One such is the eve teasing and harassment that occur in buses and trains. This is depicted by a woman standing amongst others with her hair let loose. But somehow instead of a feeling of empathy it only generated pity. I am not sure if it is because of the forceful way this lady delivered the dialogue or the dialogue itself. It puts off the viewers and specially men who are supposed to be the target. A woman is harassed irrespective of her hair. It is ridiculous to think that eve teasers or perverse men target only women with long hair!

There is one more about an abusive husband coming home drunk to beat the hell out of his wife. This too just does not capture the empathy of the audience. I guess a woman needs to be a woman and only then she will succeed in her attempt. She needs to find strength in her feminism. It is this same feeling that I got while reading an article that appeared on Kafila regarding the first episode that appeared on Satyameva Jayate. Amir Khan is only making an attempt and it needs to be appreciated. The whole nation is now forced to confront these issues. While Shohini Ghosh has a point, I believe that a true feminist can overcome any situation when she starts loving herself and those of her kind. An abortion becomes a very hard decision once a woman becomes a mother. How much ever one talks about a woman’s right on her body and her right to abortion, it always works against her since she is going against her own feminism. She cannot escape from the basic qualities that make her feminine. If not, even men would have been given the privilege to conceive.

Now a women opting for abortion would have many reasons. A medical situation where the mother is in danger, because of a rape and if the mother don’t want to have the baby or because if a mother feels that she cannot cope with another baby. The reasons can go on and in each instance the cause is always external. In some case it is under her control while in some like the medical case, she is not. But citing this will cause a dent to the fight against female feticide. It is a risk that women need to take in order to ensure that her kind shall survive.

If a girl child is not allowed to live then what is the point in talking about her right to abort? If she is not allowed to live then it is not just her right to abort but many others that were already taken away gradually. It is these rights that need to be established before talking about her right to abort. Let us talk about her right to education, her right to marry the one she loves when she want to, her right to live on her own if she wants to, her right to take decisions., her right to travel on the road or bus fearlessly. Oh, there are many more such rights. And maybe if these rights are restored she shall enjoy her feminism. She may take a different view on abortion and she will NEVER let another girl child die in her womb.

MTP is allowed in India and that need not interfere with the laws that shall be enacted against female feticide. This country needs to love their women better. She needs to be given the strength to bring forth others like her. If none is going to help her in this process then this strength needs to come from within. This is the time to act. This country needs to love the daughters just like the son. Let her not be equated with weakness but with strength. Let her not be treated like a commodity that needs to be protected until she is given away with a price. Her feminism is enough for her to survive and it is this inner strength that she needs to tap into.


  1. I agree, but more for....She cannot escape from the basic qualities that make her feminine. If not, even men would have been given the privilege to conceive.

    This is to be understood by and women..

  2. A strong subject and a passionate argument and I cannot agree with you more.
    And my take on the matter is as follows.
    The two factors that can alleviate the plight are education and economic freedom. It is a sorry fact that many women hesitate to file for divorce because of the economic free fall they will face when the man walks out. Usually the alimony or sustenance courts decree are pittance.

    An Aiswarya Rai, , a Parameswar Godrej, a Shoba De or a Priyanka Gandhi are not the true representations of Indian women. And they were not assisted by feminist movements, but by sheer chance of being born in affluent families. The true feminist face is the ones of a Kiran Bedi, Medha Pathkar, Irom Sharmila, and the many such who perhaps against odds survived to be what they are.

    Another matter is the limpet like hold on to conventions and compliances decreed by male dominated society. Marriage- why should not a woman be given the choice to wed or not?
    The biggest threat to feminism will always come from bigoted religious codes. And the fear instilled in women of the consequences if they deviate.
    The subject is not exhaustive so I’m forced to stop here.

  3. Renu: Yes.. how much ever one fights for equality, it should be with the knowledge of the differences too...
    and if women should love their feminism she needs to be free to do it.. it shouldnt be a burden upon her

  4. Anil: one thought education and economic freedom would liberate women but we see that it hasnt. Maybe it is religion which continues to pull her down but then if it was religion then why hasnt it taught her that killing her unborn daughter is not right.

    The attitude towards girls need to change; both in men and women.


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