“Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”
If I go to a tapri tomorrow and say “Bhaiyya ek chai dijiye but without tea,” or say that “I am all for Maggi. I think the world needs Maggi, but all these noodles and all is too much,” people will rightly assume that I am a moron.
Back in 2015, when asked whether Quantico is a feminist show, Priyanka Chopra said, “I don’t think it’s feminist, but it’s empowerment… It gives females an opportunity to be equal with the boys, and I think that’s really progressive.”
I am not calling PC a moron. She is a self-made woman who broke a racial glass ceiling. I genuinely respect her.
One of my least favourite people on the planet, who also happens to be the President of the United States once said- “I am not a feminist, I am for everyone.” Many people echo a similar sentiment, online and offline. Feminism is more complicated than chai or Maggi, so here goes,
To the common eye, it may seem as though they have made a very fair statement, “Why should women have all the fun?”. But, in reality, it is this statement that underlies what being a feminist is all about. Actually, I am a feminist and you should definitely be one too. Before I make my case to tell you why everyone should be a feminist, let me present a few reasons for the un-initiated of what feminism is NOT about:
It is not about pitting one gender against another. It is definitely not about berating men. It is also most definitely not about angry protests about freeing the n*pple (though I am partial about this one).
Feminism is for everyone. It is for standing up against a society of toxic masculinity and standing with everyone (guys, gals and non-binary pals) who has been a victim of toxic masculinity. Because if you think it is OKAY to make fun of boys who cry because you were thought they are not supposed to OR you make statements like women cannot drive OR if you walk the other way because you see a eunuch, you are a part of the toxic masculinity culture. And before you start with the “not all men” debate, please just go and take a hike.
To echo Hannah Gadsby, “I am not a man-hater, but I am afraid of men. If I’m the only woman in a room full of men I am afraid, and if you think that is unusual, you’re not speaking to the women in your life”. Let me also tell you what is weirder than a guy wearing a dress – it’s even weirder and downright disgusting when you are a straight male who sits at your dinner table with an angry scorn and expecting your wife to serve you a hot meal because that is her “job”. It is even weirder when you say things that doing the dishes or laundry is a woman’s job. Seriously, take a hike.
Feminism as an ideology benefits men as much as it does women. Less pressure on men to be sole breadwinners means they can take paternal leaves or sabbaticals to pursue their dreams. They don’t have to be stuck in a rut. They don’t have to support their parents as they grow older, they will have their wives and sisters to share these responsibilities. Feminism is as much against toxic masculinity as it is against disempowerment of women.
Toxic masculinity refers to traditional cultural masculine norms that can be harmful to men, women, and society overall; it does not demonize men or masculine attributes, but rather explains the harmful effects of conformity to certain traditional behaviour ideals such as dominance, aggression and competition. It doesn’t allow men to have emotions, let alone express them. They are unfair standards imposed on men. Being muscular, growing facial hair, basically opposite of the standards imposed on women. Homophobia is a symptom of and driven by toxic masculinity.
We need to create a world where we are raising our children to be better human beings and not better at their birth gender. Feminism is about choosing what role you want to play in society regardless of your designated biology. If you are a man who wants to learn cooking, you should do so. If you are a woman who enjoys sports, so be it. It is being able to make choices without the chains of your biological sex.
“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”