Feminism is the nonsense that mistakenly attempts to ‘solve’ a problem that doesn’t even exist! Feminists will go on and on and on about how “25% women experience physical or sexual violence at the hands of a male partner”… then stop there. What they WON’T tell you is that the same applies to 29% of men
– a discussion thread in one of the social media
I was outraged reading this comment. I have been trying to find out as to how that person arrived at the 25% and 29%. Are we trying to solve a problem that doesn’t even exist? Let me ask you a simple question. Do you believe women have the fundamental right of expression? If you think yes, let me define freedom of expression first – “Freedom of expression is the right to express yourself in every type of situation – both good and bad”. I hope at least some people realize now as to what I mean by freedom of expression.
I strongly believe that women do not possess that freedom especially for the most important and need-to-be-spoken issues. Women are scared to talk their heart out. Not because of the fear of law but because of the fear of criticism. Women find it extremely scary to talk openly about some sensitive and most important issues like sexual harassment.
You might say “Why care about others?” I agree with you. I do not believe in changing myself for something or someone. But, overseeing criticism is easily said than done, especially in these delicate issues.
A woman who has been sexually harassed is always, always, always scared to talk about it. #metoo is a social media revolution encouraging women to openly talk about their harassment. Hats off to every single woman who is coming forward and sharing her story. I was initially shocked by the magnitude of the problem. We all know that sexual harassment is something really common. It’s one thing to know about it but it’s another thing to actually feel it. It is too depressing. I am a part of the various #metoo groups on Facebook. The stories that I read in the group make me sad and depressing. I was devastated after reading some purely horrifying stories.
Almost every woman had been harassed at least once in her life. Harassment includes touching a woman improperly in the bus using the crowd as leverage, cat calling, harassment in social media etc. These things have become so common that women are taught to ignore it. But nobody, except the woman alone, would know how annoying it is. No man can empathize with this. Only the woman who has been affected would know how bad it is.
When a woman is being catcalled, she would react in 3 possible ways –
- completely ignore it thinking “Boys will be boys”
- feel bad but not come out because she is scared to talk about it
- Very few will muster up the courage to actually confront those issues by reaching out for help. But most of the time they would not be helped. Instead they would be told – “There are bigger issues to handle. Do not make this a big deal. When you know women are treated this way, you should only learn to be careful”.
Apparently, a burning issue happening every day is not an issue anymore.
A woman who had been raped or attempted to be raped would be mostly filled with shame and guilt instead of anger. This is true 99% of the time because that is what the society has taught us, women – “Don’t get raped”. This shame and guilt creates fear in her to talk about it to other people.
Rape and murder should be perceived the same way: when someone is attempted to be murdered, they don’t think twice to tell it out or seek out for help. A woman who had been raped is scared to death to talk about it.
The word “rape” is still a taboo in many parts of India. Women who have been raped have no platform to talk about it without the fear of being judged. Talking about this openly is a necessity. If not, no solution can be found. The #metoo’s intention was to create a sense of the magnitude of the issue. But more than that, I liked the aspect of women openly talking about it. Women posted on Facebook, Twitter and many other social media after which their parents got to know about their own daughter. Women realized: “We are not alone”. They realized that there were millions of women out there going through the same or even worse situations. This, obviously gave them the will power to talk about it. There were many people who completely rejected the #metoo saying that, this initiative will not get anything done if we just keep talking about it. But openly talking about it is the first step to taking action. I personally know of women who opened up to their families. When families see the sheer number of people facing the same problem, they try to empathize with the girl and treat her with care and affection instead of accusing her.
I salute the women who stepped up as a part of #metoo
I am really glad that the #metoo initiative is encouraging women to talk about these issues openly. But I am yet to address the new and silently wide-spreading belief:
Girls who reject culture, custom and tradition in the name of feminism are arrogant/uptight
This particular attitude is clearly wrong and it doesn’t get said enough. I want to use this platform to address this issue as well.
Independent women are viewed differently. They are perceived to be bossy, dominating, the ones who do not know cultural values etc. I find that offensive. The society has implicitly set some dos and don’ts for women like:
- “Women should take care of the household”
- “Women should look beautiful. But it is fine for guys to be as they like”
- “Women should not use swear words”
- “Women should not talk about taboo topics – sex, menstruation etc especially not in front of men”
- “Women should value culture and tradition”
- “Women should not hang out late at night like men”
- “Women should not drink and smoke”
- “Men can go abroad and study. But women should not do so without being married or at least engaged”
If you do not abide by the rules above, well then, you’re perceived to be arrogant and rude. I have been viewed so many times by many people. And this is my way of opening up to them. So, here comes my #metoo:
I am a woman in my mid twenties. But I won’t resemble a traditional woman, even remotely.
- I am lazy to put make up. I don’t like to dress up just for the sake of looking good. I like to wear clothes that I am comfortable in.
- I prefer backpacks to handbags.
- I would rather not wax than wear sleeveless and shorts.
- I use swear words with my friends.
- I consider cooking a waste of time, but still I cook for the sake of survival and especially because it is expensive to buy outside.
- I don’t like to sing.
- I do not keep my house super-clean
- I have a lot of male friends.
- I do not cringe if my bra strap shows up.
- I am not shy to talk about taboo topics such as: sex, menstruation etc even TO my male friends.
- I do not believe in custom and tradition. I do not know how to perform traditional festivals.
- I believe I know my priorities better than anyone else, including my parents.
- I want to have control over my life.
- I do not want my family to single handedly sponsor my wedding, which is a custom in my caste. I want my partner’s family to share half the expense of the marriage.
- I have been attempted to be sexually assaulted, the nightmare that still haunts me. But I am trying incredibly hard to move past that and live my life my way.
- I like to hangout late at nights.
- I am very straightforward. I do not like to sugar coat anything. I prefer straightforward answers to comforting lies.
- If I want something, I ask for it.
- I am proud to be a feminist. I wouldn’t respect someone who does not believe in gender equality.
- I do not believe in accepting someone’s advice just because they are elder to me. If I do not find a rational reason, I will not take the advice.
- I can’t be nice to people if they are not nice to me. I don’t have the uncontrollable need to please people
A girl with all of these characteristics would not always be perceived in a good way in our society and so am I. If you’re a woman like me, trying to break the so-called rules that society put upon us, you would probably be looked down. If you are one of those people who believe that all of the above things are acceptable to a man but not for a woman, you’re not someone who believes in true gender equality. Please do not try to convince yourself by saying that “I believe in gender equality but I just watch out for women so that men do not misuse them“. I cannot stress this enough:
Stop saying “Boys will be boys”
A final note to all women: The world still has a problem with seeing women in positions commanding respect. People might often say: “We tell you to adjust patiently because you’re a woman. You have a lot to lose”. Please realize that you can be quite today and give in easily but it will not help anyone.
Stand up for what you believe in, even if you’re standing alone.
Post script: A note on volunteering:
Volunteering for a good cause gives complete satisfaction unattainable by any other activity or job. How happy would it be to know that someone is getting food or education because of you? But unfortunately, not many people are able to volunteer because often they have many doubts in their mind and eventually lose motivation to do so. Are you one among them? Are you scared that you might not have time in your busy schedule? Are you scared that your help might not bring about a huge change? Are you trying to do virtual volunteering but are lost on how to do it? Well there is a lot that you can do and bring about a huge change if you are ready to spare even one hour every week or even one month. I am listing below some organizations that have volunteering opportunities.
- Children’s education – http://www.evidyaloka.org/
- Women’s rights – http://sayfty.com/about-us/volunteer/
3. Sex trafficking – http://apneaap.org/get-involved/volunteer/
4. Casteism – https://dalitfoundation.net/support-us/
If you need help getting in touch with any of these organizations for volunteering or if you are not satisfied with any of the above and are looking for something different, please reach out to me and I can direct you to the right source.
Email id: firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/saisruthi_sathy