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Coffee Breaks With ISLM: Feminism - Pseudo or Otherwise

Coffee Breaks With ISLM: Feminism - Pseudo or Otherwise

Feminism is perhaps the most jaded word in India right now and it can boast of a lifespan (with or without relevance) that is much higher than the term "intolerant", which had taken the Indian masses by storm a few months ago...

Everyone has something to say about it. Some are for it, others prefer to stay away from it while many make a daily "living" off it on social media... Whatever the reason, Feminism is sure a favorite, to love or to hate.

So what is Feminism really and do we really understand it?
"The advocacy of women's rights on grounds of equality of the sexes"
is how Google defines Feminism but are we misunderstanding it?

My instagram profile gives a lot of information about my personal life, from my profession to my hobbies to even my sun sign and I have many a times thought of adding the term "Feminist" somewhere in there as well. And every time I get such a thought, I refrain myself from doing so... Not because I fear a backlash (sadly yes it is to be feared in this context) but because I am afraid I may not have grasped the full meaning on the word that is thrown around so callously nowadays...

Now really, I am a feminist, at heart, in my mind... I don't know how not to be... And just because I am a woman does not automatically make me a feminist... A true feminist could be woman as well as a man. Being a feminist does not have anything to do with one's gender, it has however everything to do with one's thought process.

Because feminism calls for doing away with gender discrimination towards women and there are women guilty of perpetrating this very bias, it is pretty evident that a feminist need not always be a woman. I won't even mention the ghisa-pita "daughters need to learn to cook, daughters-in-law need to not stay back in office late as much as the workload may be" etc kind of a thing...
I'll make it more relevant to us "modern" women... How often have you been judged by other female colleagues for wearing too much makeup at work? How often have you been judged by your female friends for not wearing enough makeup? How often have you been judged by your girl friends to have dropped your surname and embraced your husband's? How often have you been judged by your girl friends to have not dropped your surname after marriage?
Get the drift?

Now that we have established men as well as women can have a feminist mind-set, let me elucidate on what feminism really means to me, personally...

Feminism is about choice and having the freedom to choose. Its about equality. When I say "equal", I don't mean equal pay at work or equal responsibilities at home. By equality I mean giving women the choice to choose for themselves... I abhor cooking and so I should have the right to choose to not cook while my friend loves cooking and she should have the choice to opt for cooking a lovely meal for her family even if her husband insists on hiring a cook...
The freedom to wanting to don a mini skirt or a burqa, the freedom to wear makeup or no makeup, the freedom to choose to keep your surname after marriage or go all out and embrace your husband's, the freedom to have your own say in things that matter to a woman without having the fear to be judged is feminism to me...

Women's equality and feminism gets a bad name because of how it has been misused. Having a separate line for women at ticket counters, separate seats for able-bodied, young girls on buses and metros, getting away with driving rashly in broad daylight, insisting on not getting checked or tested for DUI just because you are a woman are some examples that are perceived as being a feminist but in actuality is not.
Think about it, every right you enjoy, you need to give it back through a duty. Remember Std V civics lessons that differentiated and correlated between fundamental rights and fundamental duties? Hence, equal rights call for equal duties... Food for thought, eh?

Feminism is often misconstrued on the basis of how women look and behave. People often misunderstand when they see 2 women, one perhaps sipping a Long Island Iced Tea at a bar while the other sipping Orange Juice, thinking that feminism is about going all out and often against the society. What they cannot fathom is that not drinking alchohol is also a choice that a woman has made (probably not worrying about perer pressure!) and in doing so she is a feminist too!
Hence, the color of your lipstick, your grades, your partying habits, the language that you speak, the choice you make in life are all irrelevant to feminism.
Feminism is far above all this, it is genuinely all about a mind-set that does not discriminate on the basis of gender and sees everyone as equal human beings that are free to choose what they want in life...

Do share your thoughts...


  1. I so agree with you ! Very well said. Feminism is really about all human beings enjoying the same respect, rights and privileges as anyone else. It has been conveniently labelled as taking an aggressive stance or as you rightly said a dirty word.


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