In an era dominated by conversation and activism centred around gender equality, can any of us afford to be a passive feminist? We are all expected to raise our voices, take to the streets to be a part of this revolution and be active and persistent contributors towards feminism. But there are many who go around their lives quietly, believing in the idea of equality, but not taking to social media or streets to raise their voices. Is it okay when people don’t wear feminism on their sleeves? Must those who actively strive for equality feel let down by those who do believe in the concept, but do not contribute towards it?
- Feminists today are all expected to take to the streets and be an active part of the movement.
- Not everyone who believes in gender equality may want to partake in active feminism.
- We shouldn’t see those who practice passive feminism as a deterrent of the movement.
- A voice doesn’t always have to be loud to be effective, it can be quite and still turn the tide.
Feminism in recent times is increasingly associated with activism.
Feminism in recent times is increasingly associated with activism and bold, loud and clear endorsement of equality. Time and again a tussle erupts among feminists on social media and those on the streets. Active feminism is fabulous, and it does provoke people to notice and talk about gender issues. It ushers in changes and takes a vocal stand against problems like harassment and sexism, which have long been brushed under the carpet. However, not everyone can take to streets or voice their beliefs openly and that is okay.
Feminism equals to gender equality, it is that simple. But there are complex and varying ways you can apply this equation in your life. Take women living in conservative setups, for example, who have grown up and continue to live in an environment which forces them into silence or doesn’t allow them to speak up. Or feminist men who have been conditioned to believe in male superiority since childhood, and are always surrounded by toxic peers. A lot of men and women from such setups gradually develop a feminist stance, but are still hesitant to voice it. The repercussions for them could be so violent or shameful, we can’t even imagine from the comfort of our modern lifestyle.
Feminism equals to gender equality, it is that simple. But there are complex and varying ways you can apply this equation in your life.
But I have seen these people quietly usher in changes in gendered practices, without raising voices or taking to streets. Men who refuse to marry off their daughters at a young age and help them to become educated and independent. Women who politely take a stand against harassment of a female family member at the hands of males one. Those who reprimand their sons for misbehaving with girls. In-laws who back their daughter in law, as she steps out to work, and doesn’t have to worry about who’ll take care of the kids or manage the house.
These subtle feminist stands often escape our notice because they happen quietly. Resisting regressive practices or standing behind the women in your life may not be flamboyant acts. But it is the little things like these which form the building blocks and support system around active feminism. Let me make it clear that, passive feminism is very different from selective feminism, where people only believe and endorse equality in areas which suit them. Passive feminists believe in gender equality in all walks of life. It is just that due to their own reasons they don’t voice their opinion actively, just implement it in their own lives.
These subtle feminist stands often escape our notice because they happen quietly.
Is there any harm in doing so? Should we all just give up activism and restrict practising feminism in our homes? Well, to each his or her own. Both active and passive feminisms are the need of the hour. Judging by the size of the battlefield laid in front of us, there is a place to accommodate both. Which is why no one should feel guilty of practising passive feminism. A voice doesn’t have to always be loud to be effective, it can be quite and still turn the tide.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.