“What men do, we also do the same, it does not matter whether the act is to be followed or a wrong to be stopped in general”.
FEMINISM- A word that had to be hidden under a veil to a word that resounds through the nation. A phenomenon that is referred to as the “need of the hour” for a country to develop and make its mark in the modern world.
Bell Hooks in her “Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center “ defined feminism as a movement to end sexism , sexist exploitation and oppression .”
It is believed that the challenge that feminism strives to encounter stems out of social evils like sexism, oppression etc. and these are to be addressed at its roots.
The feminist movement ,decades ago took an initiative to address the problems women were facing in a world that hesitated to greet them with open arms. Girl children were not as welcomed as the other gender was. Social evils such as female foeticide and infanticide made the intention known loud and clear. They were seen as a burden, a liability that a family had to live with. This was due to the practice of Dowry. Their lives were considered meaningless after their husband’s death which resulted in the practice of Sati where they were being forced into their “better half’s” funeral pyre. They weren’t entitled a share of their parent’s property when their brothers rightfully did, were taught how to manage households when their brothers were educated. Violence took place in a place they considered home by people who were considered family.
The situation has drastically changed from what it was. The Indian society has undergone a radical change.But even after all this , there is a different set of problems that have arisen out of the consequences of adapting to a very competitive and modern world. The struggle is not only for women but men and the newly recognised gender too.
The movement is very much needed considering the present scenario that the world as a whole is facing. The developments that have happened over the past decades in favour of uplifting women and the efforts taken to transcend the gender roles and stereotypes cannot be denied but there still remains a whole new dimension to the issue at hand that is left unaddressed. These give way to misconceptions about the feminist movement being a movement with a very narrow vision and that it is anti-male.
The need for this movement is to convey the feminist ideals in its true spirit to people , irrespective of their gender as feminism is for everyone. It is important to understand that women empowerment is not only limited to defending self from sexual harassment or other sexual offences . One can be truly empowered only when they are self aware of their strengths and weaknesses and accept themselves for who they are. Empowerment starts from self. Therefore, to achieve women empowerment it is important to accept the inherent differences that humans are created with and accept only those privileges that they truly deserve and not those that are provided just because they are born women.
It is high time that the society comes to terms with the fact that the idea behind feminism is not to overpower men but to rise to the highest level possible in each one’s own capacity.
The three tiers of the Government has for time and again been taking efforts to do away with the discrimination against sex in all walks of life for the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the land has guaranteed rights to all citizens irrespective of their differences. Various landmark judgments such as Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan, Triple Talaq and legislations such as Equal Remuneration Act, 1976, The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, have been declared and introduced to ensure that the Constitutional principles are being upheld.
Judicial activism has helped in the empowerment of women but it also has to consider the moral and religious sentiments of the public as a whole while taking its decisions. It has the responsibility towards the citizens to protect their opinions and principles. Therefore, feminism strives to achieve its place in the world without negatively affecting other people as each and every person has their own rights and it is their duty to exercise their rights without infringing that of others. Feminism should be taken in its true sense to ensure justice rather than to gain popularity among the citizens.
Feminism is majorly misunderstood . The opening statement in itself is an example of how misconceived the term is. The majoritarian view on feminism is that it is anti- male. It has become a tag that everyone flaunts, that everyone has to have an opinion on. A topic on which being neutral or having no opinion is frowned upon. The objective of the feminist movement is not to consider male and female alike but it is to bring about a vision of mutuality among the entire population. Therefore, it is not women- centric no anti-male rather it is for everybody.
The spirit of the movement is to achieve equity and not equality .i.e. to accept the differences ( it is diversity that makes creation beautiful and the creator unique) and learn to coexist in an environment with mutual respect free of prejudices and stereotypes that have been forcefully fed to us by the society that believes that patriarchy is the norm.
In India , the movement is indeed promoting women empowerment. The changes brought in have resulted in a paradigm shift in the way people view women and their achievements. It has resulted in people being able to accommodate women in fields that no one imagined for them to make huge contributions in. But these successes have been overshadowed by a few political decisions and views by a few powerful and influential people that the genuine efforts taken by people behind the curtains go unnoticed . This is one of the reasons for the movement to be portrayed in a bad light. For the movement to truly succeed , the minds of the public consisting of laymen should broaden ,free of bias (often a result of blind trust in influential people and hero worship) and prejudices. The basics to understand the spirit and objective of the whole feminist movement is to embrace the fact that FEMINISM IS FOR EVERYBODY.