You recently published an opinion piece on ‘Responsible feminism’. I was so intrigued by the title itself that I thought I was in for a treat and probably learn a thing or two in the process of reading the article. But to my utter dismay, the article was nothing but a bunch of stupid words, which felt like it was written by someone who knows nothing about feminism or someone who knows but chooses to ignore it because it doesn’t affect their life. I bet it’s the latter.
Anyway, since the author pointed out pretty early in the article that she was a woman and a mother, let me do the same. I am an “Arunachalee” man and I completely disagree with the author’s perspective (if she has one because frankly, it felt too one dimensional and generic).
Now that that’s established, let’s break down the article. I have broadly divided the article into three parts because I want it to be simple for everyone to understand (especially the author). The first part deals with cheating men; the second part with domestic violence and third part with the misuse of power by women.
Part one: Cheating men
A man is more likely to cheat because he has the luxury to do so. Men are often applauded (and in some ways encouraged) for having affairs outside their relationship. Stud, player and my personal favourite “asli marad” are some of the terms associated with cheating men; whereas a woman in a similar situation is slammed and blamed and called all kinds of derogatory names.
You see, the society has been in a way designed (let’s say) to favour a certain gender (by you know who) and feminism as a movement was started to challenge this just like what the anti-apartheid and civil rights movement did with racism or the more recent “me-too” movement; which called out the systemic sexism, harassment and exploitation (which I am sure the author had her doubts over) that had been plaguing women for a very very long time.
Part two: Domestic violence
Every woman (including the author) has had to deal with the brunt of a man’s machoism/masculinity in some capacity in their life and if they haven’t, they probably will in the future. And often times, a man shows off his masculinity by hitting his partner, which is the textbook definition of violence. Add to that a whisker of mental trauma and there you have it, the good old double whammy of “domestic violence”.
Are their “women” who mentally and physically abuse their partners as well? Yes! But the numbers are negligible.
Part three: Misuse of power
This can very simply be explained by the concept of positive discrimination which by definition is the practice of favouring someone due to ‘protected characteristics’ in an attempt to reduce inequality (I Googled it). The key word here is inequality. There is a reason why there is a National Commission for Women and not for men (although some men have been advocating for one). The reason being that the patriarchy in our system had weakened the position of women, and policies such as ‘beti bachao beti padhao’ were brought in to promote equality. The author needs to tell her son why there is no policy for ‘beta padhao’; it is because beta already padh raha hai.
Feminism is not about cutting down the privileges of a man, it is about providing the same privileges to people of all genders.
Alas, I also have an issue with such articles being published. Articles or opinion pieces (whatever you want to call it) such as this undermine the whole movement. It is very similar to when some people (white supremacists) started the hashtag “all lives matter” to counter the hash tag “black lives matter”. The fact that the editor even gave the go-ahead to print such an article is itself questionable. The best argument that one could give is that the editor wanted to follow the “two sides to a story” trope, which is fine as long it is rational and based on logic. But when it is not (as is in the case of the aforementioned article), this recognises and dignifies “lies and hate” as a side which is a very dangerous proposition.
I am ending my article with the definition of feminism which is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”. This definition is pretty self explanatory and it is also the first thing that comes up when you Google the word. Teach your children to Google good words such as feminism, equality.
Irresponsible and ambiguous feminism