So does feminism only cater to women? NO! It does increasingly focus on women, because they have to fight ten times harder to undo the patriarchal disadvantage they have. But feminism also supports Trans-genders wholeheartedly, and men who are afflicted by the negative effects of gender roles and forced to bow before toxic masculinity. The notions that men have to be a certain way and act all tough and control everything including women, is a major concern of feminism. Patriarchy dehumanizes the victim and also forces all men to be a part of the oppressing section by playing defined roles. Male rapes, paternity rights, are all part of the feminist fight.
Now if feminism is such a woke thing, why is it so hated? Well for starters, misinterpretations always lead to false beliefs and propaganda. Feminism is a political theory and a movement; therefore it has various academic and other interpretations. Feminism has splinters like radical, moderate, liberal and so on. They adopt different paths but have one goal: equality. Also there is one terribly misleading problem we face called pseudo-feminism. Pseudo-feminist means people who claim to uphold feminism yet disregard the central point of feminism, which is equality. They deviate from the true tenets of the theory and concoct a manipulated version to suit their beliefs. Pseudo-feminist notions include women domination and hurting men is strength; hypocritical beliefs like men should not cry and clothing affects rape; discriminatory beliefs like trans women are not “real” women; notions that women are above men and other such things. Hence, its pseudo-feminism that provokes negativity.
Many people ask that if feminism espouses equality, then why does it demand special treatment for women? Equality does not mean sameness. Feminism does not demand “special treatment”; it calls for affirmative action to heal the damage done by patriarchy. If inequality exists, it’s a given that extra efforts will have to be made to lift the oppressed section. This is not giving women an advantage; this is helping them achieve the status they deserve. It does not involve pulling men down, it seeks to uplift women to the same level. If one section of the society has to struggle for even their basic rights like dignity and safety, it is our duty to buck up.
Whenever we fight against oppression, we disturb the oppressor. Equality will not come without loss of privilege, because this privilege comes at the cost of someone’s rights. Therefore the one who stands to lose this privilege will certainly object to the movement. And feminism is not just about great intellectual debates or urban women fighting for equal pay. It covers every aspect of our society. The mother in a far off village fighting for her daughter’s education is a feminist despite having no knowledge of the word. The people critiquing misogynistic art are feminists no matter how much commercial success such works get. Feminism is not an intellectual, elitist or western thing; it is the realization that there should be equality. So all those who say let certain things be, it’s just a joke, it’s just a movie: no it is not, it is about inequality and stereotypes. It is about how we internalize prejudices; that sexist jokes and ads are ok. They are not because they affect everything we fight for. These small things condition us to believe and justify patriarchal structures. Inequality in any aspect, disrespect in even the most trivial form, is a part of the problem. Fight it and do not be afraid to call yourself a feminist, because equality is not a choice, it is a right.