We are still a country confused about feminism. The word ‘feminism’ has attracted a lot of undeserved hatred lately and there are many reasons to it – lack of information, because men think feminism undermines them, and also because long ago, media used to propagandize that feminists hate men. And celebrities like Katrina Kaif, Parineeti Chopra, Meryl Streep, Demi Moore proclaiming they are ‘not feminist and would rather be a humanist’, isn’t helping the image of feminists. Even till date, many people do not have the exact idea of what ‘feminism’ actually means. And worse, people who do not understand its true meaning are devaluing the ideology and defaming people who advocate feminism. Instead of challenging this problem and generating awareness, the main stream media is perpetuating the same.
It is high time we understand what feminism is and try to understand the ideology behind it. Feminists aren’t power lust, bra-burning women with a dose of disgust towards men. Feminism doesn’t ask you to snatch away men’s rights or embrace celibacy. And on a similar note, the term “feminazi” is inappropriate. There are a lot of atrocities the Nazis did that feminists do not. Feminism stands for gender equality, in political, social, economic forms.
The ideology has come a long way since its initiation. Activists and thinkers have linked the idea back to ancient Greece, but the first wave of feminism started in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century along with urban industrialism and liberal, socialist politics. The first wave started with a motive to generate equal opportunities, contract and property rights. About 300 men and women protested on roads for equal rights of women, marking the beginning of the first wave of feminism. This political agenda expanded to the norm that women can contribute as much as men, if not more. The second wave of feminism marked right after World War II between 1960’s to 1980’s; fighting for reproductive, sexual, workplace and economic equalities. Now, unlike the former two revolutionary waves; the third wave that started in 1990’s has started fighting against the “micro-politics” of gender equality. Celebrities like Beyoncé, Emma Watson declared they are feminists. Companies and industries have recognized gender employment gap and have taken action. Advertisements are taking actions to curb gender discrimination. Many NGOs, media platforms have successfully run campaigns to challenge educational crisis, women oppression and many more.
And the fight is still going on. We are still giving speeches on equal rights to women. We still are fighting for the victims of domestic violence. Trafficking of women still continues, and our politicians are still making comments that ‘rape is a woman’s fault’. We need feminism in India to fix the poor gender ratio, to empower women workers, to increase female literacy rate, and solve problems like dowry and oppression. When both men and women are safe, healthy and happy; the country prospers. And if feminism can help you achieve it, why fight it?
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