“Feminism is not here to dictate to you. It’s not prescriptive, it’s not dogmatic. All we are here to do is give you a choice”Emma Watson
When I say I’m a feminist, I get asked “you are not one of those man-hating feminist types are you?”. So why is this word “feminism” surrounded by misconception and negativity?. And why is our society threatened by something as simple as equality?
Feminism has become an unpopular word. Thanks to the media, feminists are shown as angry man-hating women who get volatile at the slightest of inequality. And also feminists are accused of always “complaining” when in fact they can bring hope in people who are not given the equality they deserve. Feminism is the reason why today’s women can vote, excel in workspaces, get an education, or even make their consent matter. It also made many other things possible which was previously not. Feminism does not have the idea that women are superior to men nor are Feminists against the traditional duties of women.
So now what is feminism, it simply means freedom of choice. Anyone can choose what they want to do and they shouldn’t be limited to do so because of their gender. One should be able to be in control of their own body and be able to choose what they want, whether they want to have sex or not, what clothes they want to wear, and everything else about their body. It can even be things like men being able to openly display their emotions and vulnerabilities publicly when they want to or women being able to openly raise their voices and make their voices matter.
“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong…. It is time we all perceive gender on a spectrum, not as two opposing ideals. ”Emma Watson
Some might think that feminism is already achieved, now that women can vote, get an education, or even get special benefits that men don’t get. But is it fully achieved? Although the constitution grants men and women equal rights, gender disparities remain in many realms including the workplace. Around the world, we can see different types of deep-rooted gendered stereotypes because of which inequalities are not always intentional but sometimes are even subconscious. It is often due to the mismatch between the perceived masculine occupational qualifications and feminine stereotypes about women. Even today women in some countries like Israel, Iran, Pakistan, and some parts of India are told not to bother with higher education as their sole destiny is do become homemakers for their future husbands. And women are brutally raped and murdered and the unfortunate part is more than 50% of the men and 20% of women in today’s India think that women with their ‘provocative nature’ are the reason for rape to happen. ‘Marital rape’ is another shameful and disrespectful practice of a man raping his wife with full immunity. This is still not a crime in 36 other countries including India. Laws that permit martial rape treat women as the property of their husbands.
When is equality achieved? It is achieved when people understand that wearing a miniskirt is not consent and does not mean she ‘is asking for it’. It is achieved when women can say ’NO’ and they are not raped or murdered for that. It is achieved when men understand the difference between a sex object and a sexual being and recognize that women too are a sexual being just like men. It is achieved when toxic masculinity is removed from society. It is truly achieved when women are free to choose and when the society around respects and accepts the choice.
Author’s Pen Name: Lily