“Oh, you are a Feminist…”
This is a common statement that people who support women hear. Men who support women are looked down upon in many societies and mocked at. This statement shows the lack of understanding of Feminism.
Feminism is a social ideology or movement that came in support for women for equal social, political and economic rights. People have interpreted feminism in a whole different manner at times. Feminism does not mean women taking over men, but standing shoulder to shoulder with men.
Why talk about equality and ask for a reservation?
People ask why is there a need for reserved seats on the bus for women when asking for equality. The way women are made to be uncomfortable is the answer. Women get groped, molested and eve teased among the crowds very often. The safety is not ensured. Moreover, menstruation can be painful for many women at times, but they do not at many times see it as an excuse for their daily activities.
There are many educational institutions and exams which charge fewer or no fees for women. This is because many girls are not encouraged to go to school or work. Moreover, scholarships and special concessions are a method for supporting the girl child. This still proves to be necessary when taking a look at the rate of female foeticides in India alone.
Why Feminist and not Equalist?
There naturally rises a question as to why feminism has ‘fem’ when it is all about asking for equality. Could not it be ‘Equalism?’If the meaning is the same, why are people uncomfortable with the word? Moreover, feminism is all-inclusive. The ideology came up at the beginning in support of the women, but now supports all sexes in the society. The truth is even when it is called ‘Feminism’, it is criticized for the wrong reasons and made it sound negative.
Why Feminism now?
‘Of course, men and women are equal now; you have rights guaranteed in the charters’. But does this stop women being victims of molestation, sexual violence, rape or a girl walking free in the society without fear? Do the patriarchal beliefs stop? Researchers say that one in three women is a victim of sexual assault. There are very fewer women who have not faced the fear of being assaulted physically, mentally or verbally just because she is born female. Age is actually never a matter for rape as even a three-year-old and a seventy-year-old is a victim.
Women get taught to be dressed so that they do not provoke men. Adjustment is highly seen as a word closely associated with women. Many times freedom seems a myth to many women in our society.
“Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains.” But alas, still in the 21st century, a girl even before she is born, she gets not even a chance. Free the chains so that the world can be a better place with boundaries beyond genders. This is why we need Feminism.