Well, so the training I was singing praises about is finally over. Yesterday was our last session. And yes, I am sad. My Wednesdays will not be the same. Being in a room full of opinionated, intelligent, strong, passionate and yet extremely compassionate women, would leave anyone a richer and smarter person. I did a lot of foot-in-mouth stupidities, and yet I never felt judged. I go on the phone for the first time tomorrow, so I need all the good wishes and blessings I can get. But that is not what this post is about. This is about something that was discussed, at the end of the session yesterday, and left me wanting to say a lot, and more importantly once again brought to the fore my thoughts on the topic of feminism.
It was a five minute, self evaluation on how we felt at the end of the training, and it was then that I realised, that like a lot of other things in life, I had, through this training come to a full circle around my opinions and views on feminism. As a child growing up, I felt very strongly against the inequality between men and women or rather girls and boys as I saw it at that age. I saw it everywhere, in families who were part of the educated, moneyed middle-class of society, the stinking rich, the poor, it happened everywhere. When I look back now, I find it a bit surprising, that I was so infuriated by the situation, especially considering the fact, that being an only child, I did not have to deal with any such issue in my own life. But like most issues that are related to inequality and discrimination of any kind, I was passionate about it. But things changed.
The past few years, the term feminism, had me looking at it cynically. I had seen just way too many women, use it as a ruse to act selfishly. Rich women, with loving families, who don't want to do their part, women who use it as an excuse to reap the benefits and shy away from the duties. Feminism is not about getting the upper hand in every marital discord, or not breast feeding, or making sure that a woman does not take care of her children just because the father is not doing so(because he was at work), or yes, claiming she does not need to cook, because her husband does not... may I add here, that she does not do anything else concretely either. Yes, I have met and heard of women like that. I have heard about the huge fuss being made about continuing with her maiden surname after marriage, by women who actually do continue with it anyways. And while I agree, that it should be a woman's free-will, what name or surname she wants to use, at whichever point of time in her life, it just takes away from the real issues a feminist is fighting for, issues that determine the course of a woman's life. I think such women in the name of feminism, take away from what feminism is all about, they completely dilute the severity of the true cause. No I am not supporting women, who think they have the right to drink till they throw up, in the name of feminism, or women who think they should have many casual sexual encounters because men do, in the name of feminism, or women who say they are feminists and can hence sneer upon others who are more traditional in their outlook or lifestyle. And that being the case, I had become quite disillusioned about feminism.
And then I joined this organisation which is openly feminist in its views. Initially, I was not sure, how I would fit in, based on my the existing view of feminism and feminists. But then things changed. As I learnt and discussed, about the real issues facing women, violence, lack of rights, stereotyping, lack of options and choices, being controlled and dominated, being left alone with children and without any money to fend for themselves, I left more than one training session, enraged, angry and disturbed. And in the process found once again my true passion for feminist causes and issues. Being a mother now, just sensitises me more. And I found the gap between the true feminist, and the pseudo-feminist.
A feminist is a person(yes it could be a man too), who in actuality is bothered by discrimination or inequality of any kind, and is particularly sensitive to the issues, faced by women, because they are women, whether in her personal life or professional. That is how I define the feminist. A feminist would feel equally for a friend who is a victim of domestic violence, as she would for the poor homeless one, because she does not discriminate based of social or financial status of a person. She would feel for the boy, of a rich business family, who is taken out of school to work in the family business, while his sisters go on to college and more, just as much for the girl, who is taken out of school, to earn some to contribute to the family income, while her brother is allowed to do as he pleases. But yes, the feminist, would fight a bit harder for the girl, because she is after all a feminist. A feminist does not say all men are d*$#, but she is strong enough to stand up against any man(or woman) who takes away from any woman's basic human rights. And so, yes, that is me a re-born feminist. And believe me, I will fight any woman who tries to dilute the true issues, and problems facing women, with their fluff about the right to smoke.
*sigh* I feel liberated! And this was so important to get off my chest, that well past mid-night, I am up typing this, because I had to say it. Cheers to all the feminists of the world.