By Shubhangi Sood
Edited by Nandini Bhatia, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
Feminism (n): the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
If you pick up a dictionary, that’s the definition you’ll find for the word ‘feminism’. In simple terms, there shouldn’t be any injustice met out to either sex. They should be treated equally. But, off late, a new type of feminism is developing which is rightly called as pseudo feminism. Pseudo feminists hold a strong resolve to correct all the injustices done to women, mostly by lashing out at men and demeaning them. What they forget is the basic essence of feminism movement: equality. Another form of pseudo feminism, according to me, is the feminism of convenience. The biggest example being: men paying for dates. If we’re as equal as women proclaim to be, why can’t a restaurant bill be split between the two? The reason is simple-men are too egoistic to let a woman pay, and for a few women it miraculously becomes a man’s job to pay for the date. Where, I ask these feminists, does the feminism vanish then?
We often don’t realize it, but pseudo feminism is all around us, hiding behind feminism in clandestine. We’re the women shouting for equal rights everywhere, but don’t waste a single minute asking a guy sitting on a Ladies Reserved seat to vacate it. Why do we need reservations in general coaches? Since we’re able bodied, strong, grown-up women of strength, can’t we stand in a general coach? Men doing 9-5 jobs, burning their hours toiling hard to earn, are as tired as we are. It is just a very preposterous notion. Like it’s correctly said, two wrongs don’t make a right.
Another stark example of pseudo feminism is the income tax slab being higher for women than it is for men. A woman earning till 3,00,000-3,50,000 is exempted from paying tax is what has been proposed by the Narendra Modi government. If both men and women are earning the same account, then why should only the men pay tax on it? This leaves me in a big dilemma. In India, men are mostly the prime income earners. If they pay a tax on a nominal salary, they are left with very little to sustain their families with. Exceptions to the situation exist but I strongly believe if the true value of feminism is to be followed, then equality has to be taken into account. If a man is paying tax for the same salary a woman is also earning, so should a women.
Although they are in the minority, it’s a crystal clear truth there are men who too are subjected to sexual crimes. The numbers of cases reported to the police are on the lower side, because most of the men don’t report such crime for the fear of being ridiculed at, not being believed and instead facing the charges themselves. Men are mostly kidnapped and abducted for illegal sexual intercourse, forced marriages, prostitution, etc. The number of such victims is really low but it’s a fact we cannot ignore. When we are talking of rising violence against women, we shouldn’t neglect the fact that somewhere out there are men also being subjected to same brutalities. According to NCRB 2012 data, 175 men have been kidnapped and abducted for the purpose of illicit intercourse since 2009. The cases have been registered under Sec.363 to 369, 371 to 373 of Indian Penal Code (IPC). Even under the law, these cases are not treated at par with violence inflicted on women. There hasn’t been any conclusive study conducted yet on the topic.
If true feminism was followed, then we would treat all the victims equally. Victims would cease to be women or men, but just victims of abuse. But sadly, that is not the case. Pseudo feminism shouts out loudly that men can’t be raped, men can’t be tormented, and men claiming to have been put under such atrocities are lying cheats. It’s most likely that I would be branded ‘anti-feminist’ by pseudo feminists all around, but I don’t mind. I don’t mind because I know how to stand up for my fellow sisters when they actually need it.
When a woman is put on fire, when she is raped, is brutalized, is stripped naked on the streets, forced to quit her studies to marry a man three times her senior in age, when she is blamed if she is raped, or teased, when a woman is beaten repeatedly for refusing to pressurize her parents into paying dowry, when she is considered inferior to her male counterparts, that is when I need to give voice to my anger and lash out at the people responsible for it. If I am a true feminist, I will do the same if it were a man being stoned on the streets, being raped, being accused of a fake rape, being doubted over just because he is a man. As Gloria Steinem rightly said, a feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.
Shubhangi is currently pursuing Economics for undergraduation from Shri Ram College of Commerce. She has an insatiable desire for reading novels of all the genres world has to offer. Writing since she was a 12-year old, her ambition of life is to get published and share the stories that her mind can’t stop weaving. Primarily, her interest lies in foreign policies, culture, meeting new people from different cultures, and music