On responsible feminism

Monday Musing

[ Karyir Riba ]

People who have small children know how outright they speak their minds and how brutally honest they can be.

The other day, after all these Covid-19 weeks of spending my life in my boxer shorts and comfy T-shirts, I decided to dress up a little to get something important from the market. I felt good and took the opportunity to take some selfies.

My 10-year-old saw me taking pictures of myself and said to me that my eyes looked a bit different.

Since I had woken up earlier than usual on this day, I asked him if my eyes were looking puffy. And then he goes, “No Mama, your eyes are looking very wrinkle wrinkle.”

Of course this made me not only put my phone down but also delete all the selfies that I had so cheerfully taken. The rest of the day was spent mentally sulking and cursing all the Korean beauty products lying on my dresser. Had I spent all that money on them just to be so harshly shown a mirror by this 10-year-year old boy!

This boy has given me a reality check more times than required, but one particular time that made me think deep was when he asked me something which I believe should really be given some sort of speculation.

When he was a lot younger but had learnt to read, he once asked me very innocently: “Mama, why only beti bachao, beti parao? Why not beta bachao, beta parao?” he asked.

This got me thinking. Have we, as a society, been giving leverage and importance to just one gender, making the other feel ignored and unimportant?

Where is equality in this?

We all speak proudly of feminism, but do we all really understand its true meaning?

Feminism is defined as the belief in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. The goal of feminism is to challenge the systemic inequalities women face on a daily basis. When did this become about women being better than men?

In simple words, feminism simply means gender equality. It does not preach that women are mightier than men, or vice versa for that matter.

I might face a serious backlash for taking sides and sabotaging my own kind, but our male counterparts’ grief also has to be highlighted sometimes.

Let’s face it, we are always ready to jump into conclusions that men are always the wrongdoers. Men are never given a chance to put forth their side of the story.

When a couple goes through a rocky relationship, “Oh! The husband must have done something wrong.” A couple gets divorced, “Oh! The husband must have been an evil man.”

Without any hearings or prosecutions, the man is judged and labelled as the villain in every situation.

Let me bring to your notice another very hypocritical thing that we practice. Between a husband and wife, if the wife is more on the aggressive side and has the habit of hitting/abusing her husband, she is lauded and women empowerment is hailed. However, when a man does the same to his wife, it becomes a pure offensive case of domestic violence. I am not advocating domestic violence in any way here, but just trying to point out that there are situations when women too are abusive and guilty of committing domestic violence – its just that such cases go unreported and unnoticed.

Women have many a time misused the right and power entrusted on them by law. These laws which were put in place for women’s safety have now become like weapons for some ill-minded women, and men are often threatened with these. Rape, molestation, domestic violence, dowry cases – these kinds of charges are very commonly and wrongly pressed on innocent men. The law is also made such that the men will either have a hard time proving their innocence or will have to face consequences without any fault of theirs.

It also doesn’t help that the society gets very judgmental, too quick to judge and make an opinion against the menfolk.

We women sometimes scale the heights of hypocrisy when we speak about feminism and women empowerment. In one breath we speak about feminism and gender equality, and in the next breath we do not hesitate to play the woman card and cry about being victimized and not being treated ‘well’.

On the one hand, we speak about women empowerment and on the other hand, we make a separate ‘ladies’ line’ to get money from the ATM, bypassing and ignoring all the men who have been standing in queue for a long time, some sweating like pigs.

Speaking about pigs, men are often associated with this animal, maybe to mean that they are dirty, repulsive and immoral in their mating rituals.

It stands true that the percentage of cheating men is way more than that of cheating women, meaning that men have the greater tendency to cheat, compared to women.

However, if we look closely, these men who are cheating on their wives are not doing it with other men but with members of our own women species. These species of women, despite knowing that these men are married and most often have fathered children with their wives, intentionally wreck homes and find pleasure in destroying the married lives of other women.

Again, I might receive a thrashing from my fellow women, but since I’m already on a roll and have put everything on stake, I shall not let myself stop from saying that, while a cheating man is absolutely wrong, the woman he is cheating on you with is equally wrong or more wrong, if I may say so.

A woman should know that a married man is off limits. Instead, she chooses to entice and encourage him. I say this because a man will never have the guts to approach a woman and at the snap of a finger start an affair with her. As long as the woman shows disinterest, he will know his place and back off. On the other hand, when the woman responds with the littlest bit of interest and leads him on, he will be encouraged and supercharged, and just like that these two people will start a path of destruction for many lives that are associated with them.

So, the saying, ‘Women are women’s worst enemies’, does hold some amount of truth.

Maybe I’m guilty of watching too many crime shows, but if there are men who do the unthinkable to women, there are also women who do the same. If there are men who get their pregnant wives cold-bloodedly murdered, there are also women who perpetrate such crimes with these men (if you can read between the lines).

Hence, the conclusion here is that all genders are equal. If men are made physically stronger, women are also made emotionally stronger. For the world to function properly, it is required that both men and women work together, shoulder to shoulder. The survival and reproduction of humankind would be impossible without the presence of both the sexes.

And most importantly, the world would be a boring place to live in without men: if we didn’t have a loving father, a protective brother and a caring husband. Therefore, beta bhi parao and beta bhi bachao.