Written by Kamakshi Anand, a grade 11 student
“To those accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” —unknown
Let me begin first, not by defending my identity as a feminist or my right to equality, but by defining what the word feminism, which is so casually thrown around, actually means. Merriam Webster defines Feminism as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”. Cambridge dictionary describes it as “the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state”. Nowhere, in no sense, does it say or mean the superiority of women over the other sexes, the establishment of matriarchy,or the oppression of men. However, I do not deny the existence of such ideologies, and sects of society that strive to achieve such a social structure and wrongly include themselves in a movement that does not represent them. These people are supporters of pseudo-feminism and misandry. Not feminism. Not equality. This is much like the peasants of the Gudem hills in Andhra Pradesh who participated in guerrilla warfare but said that they were doing so in support of Gandhi’s movement to free India.
Feminism is a movement. It is an evolving concept and practice. It changes with society; for change is a law of nature and time, and to disrupt that would be to hinder the growth of society. As women have always suffered as the “inferior” sex, the movement began as one for the upliftment of women, specifically. However, today, in an age when queer society and other genders and sexes also face inequality, feminism has become the larger voice for equality of every member of society. Though it does sound like a very “feminine” word, the words equality and feminism remain interchangeable. Feminism equals equality. Equality equals feminism. It’s not hard to meet the requirements of becoming qualified to be called a feminist. All you need to do is support the notion of equal rights for all humans irrespective of their sexual identity or gender roles.
Now, let’s talk about the need for me to discuss this agenda . Why this? Why now? This, because of a certain video; and now, because of a certain video. The individual whose video has sparked widespread outrage and some misplaced support is Divyangna Trivedi. I am, in no way, looking to bully or disrespect her: I stand to debate her views and opinions and correct the misrepresentation of facts. In the particular video, she, very casually, equated rape to having an unpopular opinion. She, very carelessly, equated a heinous crime with speaking your mind, and that, irrespective of opinion, is not ok: morally. Secondly, statistics show that women are still oppressed, suffer domestic violence, sexual abuse, etc. ,and hence, not all women “have basic rights” as she emphasised. The need for feminism still exists, and you would agree with me if you read Inaaya Kaul’s article “COVID-19 Creeps Up On Women”, on I Kid You Not. Third, “all men are dogs/trash” is not a feminist saying or ideal, which you would also agree with if you have read this article so far. My biggest fear right now is the fact that so many people out there may use this video as an excuse for disrespecting or harming women. Ms. Trivedi took words and phrases out of context. No woman should be respected because she’s a woman. Respect her in spite of being a woman. Respect her because she’s human.
Lastly, Ms. Trivedi has no right to lash out and generalize a whole segment of society based on what a small misled population does or says. Feminism is not defined by an Instagram page or a casually worded sexist joke. Feminism is the actions of anyone who fights for equality. Standing in a position of privilege, it is oblivious to say that every other person also enjoys the same quality of life and privilege as you do. Your privilege gives you a sense of entitlement that you believe is equality and therefore, equality becomes a privilege, which then takes away the meaning of the word. Equality is a necessity. Feminism is a necessity. “Women are responsible for two-thirds of the work done worldwide, yet earn only ten percent of the total income and own one percent of the property… So, are we equals? Until the answer is yes, we must never stop asking.”
Written by Kamakshi Anand
Kamakshi is a prolific writer. She’s been writing on Instagram for 2 years (@wingedwords02) and her work has also been published in 4 anthologies. She is currently working on a poetry manuscript and also writes for a mental health awareness organisation. Kamakshi is the content editor for her school magazine and social media associate at I Kid You Not
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