Why Feminism Matters- Dealing with a patriarchal society, male chauvinism and objectification of women

Okay. I understand that people have different opinions on feminism. Some might just equate it to women’s suffrage while others might consider it to be about equal rights. But if you ask me, my reply would be simple- feminism cannot be defined, it can only be described. I know. It’s quite foolish of me to want to live in a world where my gender does not define my career options, where my success isn’t thought to be attained by making “compromises”, where I’m not expected to sacrifice my career the moment I have a child, where my right to choose isn’t a distant dream. Or, is it?

Surprise, surprise! We live in a patriarchal society. The world we live in is dictated and ruled by men. Is it fair? I’ll let you decide. In an utopian world, we’ll have equal pay but now, somehow my intelligence and ability will be “lesser” than that of a man. In many countries, women are punished and shamed for being raped. Why you ask? Surely, they must have provoked their rapist for “Boys will be boys”. We have a wonderful solution for sexual harassment- “adjust”.  If you are lucky enough you will inherit a culture where women are thought to be a “burden”, and chances are a girl’s birth will be celebrated like a funeral or perhaps they won’t even give her the chance to have one. This is the bitter truth. You can’t ignore it.

Recently, I saw a post by a page on a very popular social network site where they had called out a Tamil film actress for having short legs but described those legs of hers as “very nice”. Keep in mind, this page was meant to bring together the young people of a metropolitan city in India. I found this post objectionable simply because most of their followers are at an impressionable age and the page should be more sensitive and responsible. One particular comment upset me the most because it basically said that girls who wear short clothes should expect and accept such comments and I being the “judgmental and dumb feminist keyboard warrior” that I am had objected to their post and subsequent comments with the hope of getting something that I shouldn’t have ever dreamed of- basic respect and dignity for women. My comments were reported and removed. Bravo! I’m glad to know that you’d rather entertain such views than my “disgusting” comments. I will never interfere with what a person does in his/her personal time, but acknowledge that you have a responsibility- to stand up for what is right irrespective of your gender. Why should the length of my skirt define my morality? Why should I be told to dress so as to not attract any attention? Why should women in general be viewed as vulnerable and lustful?

Often times when I ask for equality, I’m labelled a “feminazi”. Let me get something clear, I don’t hate men. I don’t want them to be submissive to women. I don’t want to ignore and suppress them. But all I ask for is a chance. A chance to be independent. A chance to be free. A chance to choose. A chance to decide. A chance to think. A chance to simply breathe. And I promise you, I’ll change the world- either mine, yours or literally the entire world.