Discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, sex, age, religion, anything you can think of, is quite prevalent in our society. If you are applying for a job, you could be rejected by statements like ‘You are too old for the job’; ‘you are too young for the job’; ‘we don’t take black people for job’; ‘we don’t take white people for job’; ‘we don’t need women in our office’; ‘we don’t hire men’ etc. So the crux is; if you are a human, you’ll never be enough or qualified for a job. People will find some or other excuse for differentiation.
One such discrimination existing even in the 21st century is, gender inequality. It’s a century old tradition, still practised in modern times that has hollowed our society from within. In the land of Goddesses, a girl child is considered a burden on the family. From swyamwar to sati to female feticide and infanticide we have come a long way. It is a known fact too, that discrimination starts from even before the girl child is born and sometimes she is killed as a foetus, and if she manages to see the light of day, she is killed as an infant, which makes up for a difference in the sex ratio.
The birth of a male child is celebrated with pomp and show whereas the birth of a girl child is a curse.
Why so much discrimination, when both are blessings of God?
Patriarchal norms have marked women as inferior to men. Women have been subjected to domestic violence, dowry death, sexual abuse etc, throughout the years. Our female helpers at home and even the educated class are target of this. No one is spared. And, this discrimination continues to be present in every aspect. Be it education, health, protection or participation, the women are always treated unequally.
There has been considerable improvement in this scenario where women have vocalized their pains and miseries, fought for their rights, demanding equality in every aspect and are now leading the world in various fields which were initially considered the dominance of man.
Feminist movement propagated all over the world, uniting women for their rights and helped them establish their grounds. There have been four waves of feminism starting from right to vote, to equal pay for equal work, to present times.
Despite the goodwill, the feminist movement is now losing its touch and both men and women are moving away from it. The most important reason for this change in attitude, is the way “feminism” is propagated in our times, through social media or any other major platforms. Even women are reluctant to call themselves a “feminist” because of the jest that follows.
Feminism is now just being perceived by people as to male bashing and objectification of women. People consider “I am a female” as a victim card. There have been instances in public transport where females have argued over the sitting arrangements with men, despite the reservation for female seats. Saying “I am a female. Get up. I need to sit.” to a person who is sitting on general seat is wrong. When we are demanding equality and not the treatment of a fairer or weaker sex, this sets a wrong example. I can completely understand that the female who would have said that must be tired from her journey and so was the person who was already seated. The statement could have been better framed as, “I am a little tired. Would you please allow me to sit for some time.” I think this would have been better. I may be wrong as well.
Blaming male for everything is also not feminism. I agree, that, we live in a patriarchal society and men have many privileges, but criticizing them for everything is not the solution. Even, men are subjected to domestic violence and sexual abuse but, they are often underreported.
You know when a female child is born, the first person to say, “Oh my God! She is a girl. How will I arrange for her dowry? How will she get married?” is her mother, in her birth chamber. Males come into play later. The toxic masculinity that is prevalent in society is not only harmful to women but also to men themselves.
Feminism is the belief in social, economic, and political equality of the sexes. It is for the creation of a world with equal opportunities and not a creation of alternate Matriarchal society.
I will admit, feminism has taken a different direction in the changing modern world. The problems of sexual abuse, domestic violence, dowry death, genital mutilation, lack of proper education and menstrual hygiene, need to be still addressed.
Feminism is still necessary for our progressive society; Not all women and men feel comfortable or safe, not all women in the world are truly equal (some aren’t even close) to their male counterparts. Let us become the voices of many who are subjected to the injustice and are unable to stand against it, because of the inaccessibility to the medium to express themselves. Let us once again establish the true essence of feminism! Let its premise be inclusiveness, equality, intersectionality, and peace. Let us not cloud its direction with faulty logic or nonsensical battles that distract the purpose. For as long as “Men are from Mars and women from venus” logic prevails, the gender inequality will seep it’s way in the society gnawing it from within. Evaluate the choices, actions, and decisions as they can be crucial to the delicate fabric, we hope to break.