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Feminism: An Unapologetic Tale

One of the many exhausting things that feminists deal with on a regular basis is explaining the definition of the movement. It is constantly hit with a prejudiced projection of the masses and interpreted as womxn calling for a certain level of superiority. Not only does this fail to acknowledge the systems that are unsafe and inequitable for womxn but also places an additional burden on them to justify their collective yet personal traumatic experiences. In reality, what womxn want is the bare minimum catering towards an equitable distribution of opportunities, safety, agency of choice, control, wealth, and freedom, and to not be denied of any of this based solely on their gender.

We have been taught from an early age that there are necessary limits that need to be imposed on us with no sense of rational conclusion or analysis. It is simply done and carried forward generation after generation. These feelings are internalized by us as we sometimes struggle to acknowledge that we deserve basic human rights and don’t need to act out a certain way to receive that. The constant defining of the boundaries and limitations of norms like motherhood or womanhood are predefined by cis-het males who do not have the slightest idea about the kind of experiences that come from it or what it really means. Yet, there is always a sense of supremacy given to their opinions. Whether it is distorting science to draw theories to justify a woman’s supposed weakness or constantly propagating laws on our bodies, we have little to no say in the kind of lives we wish to lead for ourselves even though we intuitively know what works best for us. Moreover, when we set out to reach out for the “unthinkable,” it is ostracized and not given the same share as compared to the men in the same sphere.

When we choose to become a part of this movement, we acknowledge and realize that the oppression and burdens imposed on us are totally uncalled for. We deserve the same rights and there’s rationality and meaning in what we want. If weightage in this debate is being given to superiority of thought, then we need to understand that ours was never heard, to begin with. A traditional debate takes two stakeholders into account. But in this realm, if only one gets to participate, how exactly is it fair? Is it fair for one team to propagate norms when our team was not allowed to participate in the first place? We without the slightest of doubt deserve to have a voice, not bear the act of cowardice and internalize it as personal failures.

Our movement is essential to remind ourselves that we deserve to take up space and demand equal representation with safety in professional and personal spaces without being made to feel like we are ‘too much’. However, one thing that most people turn a blind eye to is the idea that feminism incorporates the experiences of men too. It gives men the space to acknowledge and identify their oppression that comes from patriarchy. Feminism is not against men but patriarchal systems that give us oppressive pre-requisites as we step into this world to follow that which we did not sign up for. It aims to question and reform the systems which are broken and continue to break people. That is why the movement envelops multiple narratives ranging from men’s mental health, woman’s sexuality, reproductive health, the intersectionality of the movement, subjective definition of womanhood that includes all gender non-binary individuals and cannot be narrowed down to one level of understanding. It is also the reason why it is chaotic at times and makes finding a middle ground next to impossible. Not to mention, the importance of privilege within feminism which makes some actively violate spaces of even more vulnerable individuals. Every woman is not on a level playing field and this is due to added layers of race, class, caste, religion, and so on.

So, while these issues are widely comprehensive, a feminist’s take on this is; Feminism is for everyone, whether it is white womxn, BIPOC womxn, or individuals who are not confined to the gender binary. Anyone and everyone who feels vulnerable or not backed by state structures deserve their space without anyone making them question that or violating that. They too, in return give that same space to other members of the movement while constantly learning and unlearning what we have been subconsciously carrying out. There is no feminism without advocating for the most vulnerable, an inclusive foundation, subjective metrics of defining womanhood, and room to hone one’s individuality.

Priyasha Mohanty

Delhi South '21

Figuring it out as I go!
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