Feminism – The Brand, The Benchmark or a Woman’s Prerogative

We are women, hence the strength to go on….

Way back in 1949, Simone de Beauvoir wrote, “I hesitated a long time before writing a book on woman,” De Beauvoir begins. “The subject is irritating, especially for women; and it is not new. Enough ink has flowed over the quarrel about feminism; it is now almost over: let’s not talk about it anymore.”

Six decades or so later, acts of feminism still make the news.  Women continue  to fight to prove their individuality. Discrimination, stereotyping, objectification (especially sexual objectification), oppression and patriarchy still prevail.  Granted, countless paths of equality have been traversed and thousands of rights have been attained, yet this ‘ism’ hasn’t crossed the finish line victoriously.

How does the dictionary defines Feminism?

Feminism is  the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities or feminism is organized activity in support of women’s rights and interest.  

As the Jennifer Lawrences and malala yousafzais  of the world continue to speak up  about gender pay inequality and women’s rights  respectively, we as women need to learn from these highly accomplished women that feminism is about leading  by examples and not by mere talk.  For women’s sake, I want all women who are entering the feminist space or are considering  taking up arms against men in the name of feminism, to realize a few things.

Men are not benchmarks for women –  Yes, women should speak up when it comes to equal opportunities as a human being and equal pay for equal work  but  women don’t need to  aspire to be like men in all respects. Men and women will have different likes and  dislikes, different coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and different reactions at jubilant times. There will always be natural  differences between the two sexes and those differences are to be celebrated.Feminist women don’t need to bare their chests like men or wear feminism like a brand. The only competition each woman or rather each human being should have is with herself or himself.

Revel in your own strength as women.

Feminism is not a brand –  As I go through the countless feminist paraphernalia sites, and read about the many events where  mobs of females say or do everything that falls under the category of mob mentality, I wonder how we can brand something that stemmed from thousands of years of  being treated as inferior to men? The collective pain of countless women can’t be poured into the molds to make mugs, or stamped onto T-shirts, or blasted through  microphones in rallies.

Feminism needs action.

Be a woman in essenceWomen who are feminist are sensitive towards other women.  They empathize with the ones who are unable to make good choices either due to lack of awareness or due to circumstances.  So work on bringing out  the ‘true woman’ in you. Try doing the hard task of not frowning  upon the choices other women make. Instead, in your lifetime, help out at least one woman to boost her morale, lift her up, and encourage her to pass on the baton. Lead by example  against injustice and gender divide and  DON’T EVER practice it.

 Do what real feminist women do – GIVE!

Feminism is not a ritual that every modern woman should followThe want of feminism is to find  what you want to do in life.The key phrase  here is whatever you want to do and not what you are made to do. It is not a ritual that every woman has to follow, it is a mindset, an understanding that every woman and every man should have. It could very well  mean sitting at home and cooking for your family.  Trust me, if you as a woman loves doing so, then you are a feminist at heart. That doesn’t mean you won’t have or express countless opinions on the world political scenario, the economy or how your son or daughter should be raised.  

It is important for every woman to know what she wants in life.

Women need women – Through the last decade or so,  I have been relearning the meaning of feminism. From the dictionary meaning to the screaming “I am a feminist” t-shirt to the meaning taught by Sheryl Sandberg in her book  Lean In –  each one has shaped and reshaped my opinion of gender equality and feminism.  Recently I concluded  that my 86 year old grandma is truly a feminist. She never worked outside of her home, did not get the equal opportunities as her male siblings did, was taught to follow through her father’s and husband’s decisions made for her, but she always pushed her daughters to pursue higher education and never thrust her decisions on them.

Be a mentor to someone.

Men and women as allies –  Historically, women have been subjugated, looked down upon, and expected to remain mute on all financial decisions. Basically women have been on the back bench for centuries. But that doesn’t mean, feminist women have to have their horns out when it comes to men. One can’t expect to get a friendly handshake while one is looking away. Men and women can and should work together.

 Feminist Women do not mind an equal compromise – just don’t ask her to take a step back because she is a woman.  

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