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Feminism: The Real Perspective

Monday, June 10, 2013

Feminism or let’s say a doctrine advocating equal rights for women has always been a critical issue, left unattended since forever. For centuries, women have been suffering discrimination, stereotyping, objectification (especially sexual objectification), oppression, and patriarchy. Many feminists, including men took up endeavours to eradicate this epidemic disease off the nation and worldwide. But what actually does feminism mean? Is it the eradication of the above mentioned toughies or providing proper dignity to the unfortunates? Let’s skip the definition part for the time being.
What’s the reason for this unaltered epidemic? Do you blame men for it? Or is it the politicians? Or the religious heads? Even these politicians and the religious heads have evoked of the same society we are a part of. They are one of us! The problem lies deep within. We all are the ones to be blamed; and it’s not about a particular group of the society. Every individual remaining silent is to be blamed.
Most men ask what they can do for them. The most important step for them is to just stay away! Don’t indulge and try to command such movements. Hereditarily, women cannot be as open to men as in a group of women itself. A male dominant society can be neutralized best by keeping an appropriate space for women as well. Keeping men away will not only make them more open, but will also raise their confidence and self-morale and create a feeling that they too can take a project on their own. And what men can do here is to provide a helping hand as and when required. The active presence of men in the fight for women’s rights can be extraordinarily powerful in achieving its goals. But we must also be aware that as men in a patriarchal culture, our participation in the women’s movement is inherently problematic. For a society where both men and women wish to be stood together, women have to get up and take the perspective command of such projects in their hands. Women’s rights can never hold a lasting and serious place in social organization unless the people on the front lines are women, organized as a class.

Be aware.
Words are very powerful, especially when spoken by people with power over others. We live in a society in which words are often used to put women down, where calling a girl or woman a “bitch,” “freak,” “whore,” “baby,” or “dog” is common. Such language sends a message that females are less than fully human. Women should be represented with same dignity in words as well as actions.

Speak up.
You may never see a man abusing his partner or witness a rape, but you will see and hear attitudes and behaviours that degrade women and promote rape and abuse. When your best friend tells a joke about abusing women in some way, say you don’t find it funny. When laws are proposed that limit women’s rights, let politicians know that you won’t support them. Don’t engage in any forms of sexual harassment, such as wolf-whistling, unwanted touching, outrageous or inappropriate behaviour. Women are not public property, available for our intrusions. Neither are men!

Talk with women.
About how violence against women and fear of violence against women affects their daily lives; about how they want to be supported if it has happened to them; about what they think men can do to prevent sexual violence.  If you’re willing to listen, you can learn a lot from women about the impact of relationship abuse and how to stop it. Believe people when they tell you they’ve been raped or abused. Support what they say about it. Don’t ask about their behaviour, what they were wearing, etc. Listen to them. Recognize that women neither ask for nor deserve to be raped or abused ever.

Talk with men.
Learn about how relationship abuse touches the lives of men and what we can do to stop it. Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don’t involve degrading or abusing girls and women. Volunteer to work with gender violence prevention programs, including anti-sexist men’s programs. View men not only as perpetrators or possible offenders, but as empowered bystanders who can confront abusive peers.

Confront Yourself
Have the confidence to confront your own actions, beliefs, and opinions.  Have the strength to look inside and admit your own faults and to commit to changing the way you think and act. Examining your social role and learning ways to express feelings directly and non-violently can help to create deeper and more meaningful interpersonal relationships. You don’t have to prove yourself.
Don’t have sex with anyone against their will. Don’t assume that because a woman dresses or flirts in a manner you consider to be sexy it means she wants to have sex with you. Don’t abuse girlfriends or partners.  This includes controlling, intimidating, manipulative, threatening, and harmful behaviour.  Realize that abuse takes many forms, and that abuse is a choice.  A partner always has the option of leaving the room or breaking up.

Some tips for the daughter’s parents:

Of course your little girl is cute as can be, and getting prettier every day. And chances are she takes pride in hearing that she’s adorable. “We all like knowing we look good, so you don’t have to stop telling your daughter that she’s pretty.” Instead, the idea here is to compliment her on other things as well. “When you see her taking great joy in something, mention it. I love that huge smile! You look so happy on the swings.” This sends the message that a big part of her beauty is the happiness she projects. Also applaud her abilities and accomplishments, like spelling, drawing, being a good friend or helping her little brother, too. Pepper in praise for all the things that make her a whole, authentic person, not just one part that’s great about her.

You don’t need to have a full-on birds-and-bees conversation with your daughter at age six (though if she asks questions, answer them honestly and in an age-appropriate fashion). When it comes to talking about sex, try to keep your own discomfort about discussing the subject out of the equation.

Have you ever wondered what impact those princess costumes and fairy tale movies have on your daughter? While it’s perfectly normal for young girls to like those stories- many of which include a knight on a white horse riding it to save the princess. Ask her “What do you think happens to Cindrella after she gets married?” etc. these talks will go a long way towards helping your daughter put fantasy in its place and realise that she doesn’t have to depend on a man to ‘rescue’ her. But don’t ban the sparkles and fairy wands altogether.

Moms with a negative body image are more likely than those who are happy with their appearance to have daughters who don’t like their bodies. So avoid commenting on your own unhappiness with your size. Be a healthy-eating and exercise role model and fill your home mostly with nutritious foods, without turning any particular food into the enemy. “Make it clear that no foods are off-limits, but some foods make up the mainstay of a healthy diet. If she asks something like, “I’m so fat”… “I think you look beautiful.” Make her feel great about herself.

It’s not entirely up to you to raise a confident young girl. When girls have a close relationship with their father, it can help promote successful relationships as adults. Fathers naturally pay a different kind of attention to their daughters such as engaging in more physical activities together. Remember that daughters are watching how their fathers treat the women in their lives, from his mother to his work colleagues. “This is how your child starts understanding how men and women relate to each other.

Not only the historic heroes, don’t forget the women right around you. Mention heroic women by saying things like, “Isn’t it great how Aunt Jennie is getting her master’s degree now that her kids are in school?” Take any change you can tell your daughter that women can be much, much more than thin or pretty.

Sexist comments and situations are all around us, and should be pointed out to younger girls who may not be able to tell the difference between jokes and reality. If, for example, a TV show is parodying a sexist situation, “Your daughter may be too young to understand that it’s just for laughs. Take time to explain what she saw. And be sure not to let real-life examples of sexism go unexplained. Put a positive spin on them.

A message to the ladies as well:

Since childhood, we have been trying to imitate our idols. Emraan Hashmi or the serial kisser is at the lead for today’s youngsters. And you all are very well aware of the reason! Here Imran kisses a girl passionately in his new movie and there, boyfriends plan theirs. That’s their work. They make movies in such a way that people try putting themselves into their shoes.
Today I saw a 5yr lad walking hand in hand with his so-called-girlfriend. Shocked!! When I was 5, I didn’t even know if something like the so called relationships existed.
Ok. Forget about that. Every day, or every hour, or infact, every few minutes, we all come across TV commercials while watching our favourite show. What we see is a gorgeous lady wearing a bikini advertising a bike, or jumping over a guy with a particular DEO. I mean- SERIOUSLY?? Does that 2-piece actually have to do something with the bike the girl is sitting on, or the DEO the guy applied? Was that model really that worthy? Did she actually increase the worth and glamour of the bike? I don’t think that was ever meant to be; rather than just increasing the advertising investments and further the initial costs of the product.
Those were also the movies when ‘making love’ was depicted by touching flowers, rather than the present day scenarios, where buss is a must to show the initial stage of infatuation; and by the end, it reaches to the girl sleeping naked with the guy… Is that what film industry is all about? Is that the right you have been fighting for since long? Have you been raised such a giant by your parents just so you may sleep with a guy publically? Just ask yourself, was it seriously that important??
We learn by what we see. I strongly oppose the glamour being brought to India by the mass media. No, actually wait… that’s for a pinch of money, I guess?? Grow up, kiddos! That surely was not the demand of feminism. You aren’t being liked by the people, you are a mere piece of fresh meat for them. So just stop selling yourself for money, if you want to buy some respect for yourself.
Looking at the facts, there has been a significant decline in spousal violence against women since 1999. The only increase is in the no. of rape cases which bounced from 293 in the year 2012 to 463 by mid of 2013. The hike is more than the hike rates of our daily usage things. Do you still think we men are the only ones to be blamed?
Wake up sweeties… It can’t be clapped with a single hand. Just stop blaming ‘only men’ for the wrongs being done to you. Your every single footmark has made the things crucial, drastically affecting the issue. So just drop the shitty thought of always pointing at others, instead of poking a finger at yourself first. Maybe that could do a bit into your feminism thing.
After years of endless efforts, the problem still remains unaltered because the major causes are still left untouched. Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition. Feminism is doomed to failure because it is based on an attempt to repeal and restructure human nature. Women already have got so much at the name of feminism that another avail to them seems like a yet another discrimination against men. I disagree those feminists who believe that feminism should only be interested in equal rights before the law. I utterly oppose special protection for women where I think that a lot of the feminist establishment has drifted in the last 20 years.  Nobody will ever win the Battle of the Sexes. There's just too much fraternizing with the enemy. It all has led the way in demystifying personal relations, forcefully insisting they are political to the core.

My idea of feminism is self-determination, and it's very open-ended: every woman has the right to become herself, and do whatever she needs to do. Their rights should be respected in all forms. But we shouldn’t forget that men too are a part of this imbalanced society and the only way to overcome this is by self-awareness (of every soul). You cannot marginalize more than half of the globe's population and expect to see any meaningful solutions to the problems that ail the world. Every action should act in favour of humanity rather than raising a particular section’s rights. Meaning of feminism has changed with time. It isn’t about female supremacism or man- hating but it is a belief in equality between the two genders.

Here are some quotes from famous feminists.
“I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig.” — Andrea Dworkin
“All men are rapists and that’s all they are” — Marilyn French

If you’re going to say feminism is not a man-hating movement, I’m going to have to insist that you provide links either to sites showing feminists condemning the statements listed above, or feminists telling women to respect men as men.

The word feminism is considered outdated by a third of women, who thinks it is “too aggressive towards men”, according to a report. Feminism is not about hating men. It is not about losing your femininity. It’s about equality; which is something that we still need. God protect us from the efficient, go-getter businesswoman whose feminine instincts have been completely sterilized. Wherever women are functioning, whether in the home or in a job, they must remember that their chief function as women is a capacity for warm, understanding and charitable human relationships.

"The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity."

This post has been written for  Ring The Bell for IndiChange

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