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Authentic Feminism: He for She, She for He

Authentic Feminism: He for She, She for He

Riddhi Bhattacharya

An article where we discuss feminism at the right of its core, ponder on how both men and women should be feminists and how both genders would benefit from a world of equality between the two sexes. 

Feminism in 21st Century 

feminism

Just a couple of years ago, as the world was eagerly following the 2016 US presidential election, feminists had reason to cheer. After decades of organizing online and off, with feminist blogs growing in popularity and giving way to a new generation of feminist writers and commentators, feminism, it seemed, was simultaneously ubiquitous and cool. Feminist writers graduated from bloggers to paid professionals with some of their names dotting the pages of legacy publications. This culture was supposed to dovetail with the political one, delivering the world, for the first time in more than 200 years, a female president of the United States of America. 

We all know how that turned out. A lot has changed in the world since then. We seem to be more divided, and perhaps more steadfast in our own views and biases, than ever before. Our discourse is meaner and uglier and for feminists, especially we, the younger ones who have watched a movement in the perpetual upswing, the last couple of years were truly catastrophic. Yet, we still manage to be content about the fact that feminism has had much success and recognition in recent years. 

Feminism and the Stigma 

More and more people were beginning to try and accept feminism and openly identifying with it, yet there had always been a negative stigma attached to it. Part of this problem is the way our media sensationalizes things, trying to pass the most radical and extreme versions as the standard which, in this case, depicts a feminist as a man-hater who hates lipstick, crinkles her nose at stay-at-home norms, and unapologetically supports abortions on demand. 

The more I hear about feminism, the more I realise that it has now become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop. For the record, feminism is about the equality of both the male and female gender. 

An interesting fact, however, is that fewer than 2 in 5 women in the world describe themselves as feminists, even though 85 per cent of them believe in equality between the sexes. The meaning of feminism is so overshadowed and clouded by the philosophy of ‘man-hate’ that we women have built a huge barrier against what could have been our gateway to equality. Feminism is not an ideology to establish that both the genders are equal before the court of law, rather it is to ensure that they are equal before one and all and not just in the court of law. 

“Empowering” Women 

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I hear a lot of people speaking about girls’ and women’s empowerment – a lot of people saying they are helping women find their voices. I fundamentally disagree with that because women don’t need to find their voices, they need to be empowered to use it and people need to be urged to listen. 

Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength. It’s about empowering women to foster their strength and demand their rights. It’s about ensuring that they get what they truly and rightfully deserve. 

Gender Stereotyping 

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By using words such as “manly” and “girly” we inadvertently build and buy into gender stereotyping. We play with toys designed for a gender. We participate in sports in which participation is expected from a particular gender. 

Some even go to schools for only a single gender and yet, when questioned and talked about, we fail to even acknowledge that we inculcate gender biases in our day-to-day life. We must stop pressuring each other to fit into prescribed stereotypes which change us from who we are to whom people or the society want us to be. 

Gender equality isn’t only a woman’s battle to fight- it’s a battle that a man needs to fight as well. To be true and honest, we have all seen situations, where a father’s role is valued less than that of a mother, despite the child, needs the father’s presence as much the mothers. 

We have all heard of situations where young men don’t seek out emotional and mental help because it would make them appear less of a man. All of this because of familiar stereotypes – the active boy, aggressive and assertive; the passive girl, docile and submissive – which has now perhaps changed a bit, albeit slowly, courtesy the feminist movement. 

We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but there is a lot to prove that they actually are. It is when those men become really & truly free, that things would change for women for the better, as a consequence. 

If men don’t have to be aggressive to be accepted, women won’t be compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong. Both men and women should feel free to be who they are. It is time that we all see gender on a spectrum instead of two opposing ideas. 

A lot of parents try to inculcate a philosophy in their sons that advocates it is more (gentle)’manly’ not to raise their hand on a lady – because she is a woman. My perspective on this is that this has nothing to do with being a man or woman. When we fight for equality, let’s fight it from all the angles, unbiased of whether it favours us or not. A woman is strong enough to fight a man back, so there lies nothing manly about not hitting women, rather it is more respectful to not raise a hand on a woman, and the same applies for a woman as a token of mutual respect. 

“Our” Battle 

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I personally want all the men to take up this mantle, so their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from such prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too — reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned due to social stereotyping. 

You don’t always have to shout to be heard. You can pass your messages in low tones with an attribute of emotion, intellect and desire. We could and should teach our sons & daughters to be strong and to say “no” when it is important. We can advocate equality & empowerment in our own circle of influence. We can sign petitions to bring down the gender wage gap or enforce tougher rape charges. 

We can do all these things because we are strong and we won’t give up but we cannot do this without the support of each and every one of you – man or woman! We need women to stand up for themselves and their fellow friends and men to stand up for the right to act the way they want to and not because it’s “manly”. We need you to raise your voice for one and all, for equality and for freedom. 

My parents don’t love me less because I am a daughter. My school does not limit me because I am a girl. My friends don’t assume that I wouldn’t respond because I am a woman. The belief in feminism has made many women, including me, stronger. It has given me the strength to stand up and be vocal about change in an unfair system, and fight to have opportunities equal to men everywhere – be it at home, school or workplace. 

The triumph of evil is when men and women decide to do nothing. We must do something, no matter how small it is – we must do it because little drops of water make the mighty ocean. If not us, who would bring upon the change? If not now, when will it be the right time to usher in the change? 

Let us join hands together and eradicate all false beliefs of feminism being a mean, vindictive and nasty, man-hating philosophy. Let us join hands together and spread the true message of feminism and the bright prospects that it brings for both genders. Let us join hands together and stand up for each other and make the world a better place for one and all. 

Check out our Feminism interviews with Hanifa Hameed and Hiba Zaidi !

An interesting fact, however, is that fewer than 2 in 5 women in the world describe themselves as feminists, even though 85 per cent of them believe in equality between the sexes. The meaning of feminism is so overshadowed and clouded by the philosophy of ‘man-hate’ that we women have built a huge barrier against what could have been our gateway to equality. Feminism is not an ideology to establish that both the genders are equal before the court of law, rather it is to ensure that they are equal before one and all and not just in the court of law. 

See Also

An interesting fact, however, is that fewer than 2 in 5 women in the world describe themselves as feminists, even though 85 per cent of them believe in equality between the sexes. The meaning of feminism is so overshadowed and clouded by the philosophy of ‘man-hate’ that we women have built a huge barrier against what could have been our gateway to equality. Feminism is not an ideology to establish that both the genders are equal before the court of law, rather it is to ensure that they are equal before one and all and not just in the court of law. 

An interesting fact, however, is that fewer than 2 in 5 women in the world describe themselves as feminists, even though 85 per cent of them believe in equality between the sexes. The meaning of feminism is so overshadowed and clouded by the philosophy of ‘man-hate’ that we women have built a huge barrier against what could have been our gateway to equality. Feminism is not an ideology to establish that both the genders are equal before the court of law, rather it is to ensure that they are equal before one and all and not just in the court of law. 

An interesting fact, however, is that fewer than 2 in 5 women in the world describe themselves as feminists, even though 85 per cent of them believe in equality between the sexes. The meaning of feminism is so overshadowed and clouded by the philosophy of ‘man-hate’ that we women have built a huge barrier against what could have been our gateway to equality. Feminism is not an ideology to establish that both the genders are equal before the court of law, rather it is to ensure that they are equal before one and all and not just in the court of law. 

An interesting fact, however, is that fewer than 2 in 5 women in the world describe themselves as feminists, even though 85 per cent of them believe in equality between the sexes. The meaning of feminism is so overshadowed and clouded by the philosophy of ‘man-hate’ that we women have built a huge barrier against what could have been our gateway to equality. Feminism is not an ideology to establish that both the genders are equal before the court of law, rather it is to ensure that they are equal before one and all and not just in the court of law. 

An interesting fact, however, is that fewer than 2 in 5 women in the world describe themselves as feminists, even though 85 per cent of them believe in equality between the sexes. The meaning of feminism is so overshadowed and clouded by the philosophy of ‘man-hate’ that we women have built a huge barrier against what could have been our gateway to equality. Feminism is not an ideology to establish that both the genders are equal before the court of law, rather it is to ensure that they are equal before one and all and not just in the court of law. 

An interesting fact, however, is that fewer than 2 in 5 women in the world describe themselves as feminists, even though 85 per cent of them believe in equality between the sexes. The meaning of feminism is so overshadowed and clouded by the philosophy of ‘man-hate’ that we women have built a huge barrier against what could have been our gateway to equality. Feminism is not an ideology to establish that both the genders are equal before the court of law, rather it is to ensure that they are equal before one and all and not just in the court of law. 

An interesting fact, however, is that fewer than 2 in 5 women in the world describe themselves as feminists, even though 85 per cent of them believe in equality between the sexes. The meaning of feminism is so overshadowed and clouded by the philosophy of ‘man-hate’ that we women have built a huge barrier against what could have been our gateway to equality. Feminism is not an ideology to establish that both the genders are equal before the court of law, rather it is to ensure that they are equal before one and all and not just in the court of law. 

An interesting fact, however, is that fewer than 2 in 5 women in the world describe themselves as feminists, even though 85 per cent of them believe in equality between the sexes. The meaning of feminism is so overshadowed and clouded by the philosophy of ‘man-hate’ that we women have built a huge barrier against what could have been our gateway to equality. Feminism is not an ideology to establish that both the genders are equal before the court of law, rather it is to ensure that they are equal before one and all and not just in the court of law. 

An interesting fact, however, is that fewer than 2 in 5 women in the world describe themselves as feminists, even though 85 per cent of them believe in equality between the sexes. The meaning of feminism is so overshadowed and clouded by the philosophy of ‘man-hate’ that we women have built a huge barrier against what could have been our gateway to equality. Feminism is not an ideology to establish that both the genders are equal before the court of law, rather it is to ensure that they are equal before one and all and not just in the court of law. 

An interesting fact, however, is that fewer than 2 in 5 women in the world describe themselves as feminists, even though 85 per cent of them believe in equality between the sexes. The meaning of feminism is so overshadowed and clouded by the philosophy of ‘man-hate’ that we women have built a huge barrier against what could have been our gateway to equality. Feminism is not an ideology to establish that both the genders are equal before the court of law, rather it is to ensure that they are equal before one and all and not just in the court of law. 

wAn interesting fact, however, is that fewer than 2 in 5 women in the world describe themselves as feminists, even though 85 per cent of them believe in equality between the sexes. The meaning of feminism is so overshadowed and clouded by the philosophy of ‘man-hate’ that we women have built a huge barrier against what could have been our gateway to equality. Feminism is not an ideology to establish that both the genders are equal before the court of law, rather it is to ensure that they are equal before one and all and not just in the court of law. 

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