"Faltu Feminism" the phrase has gained a lot of popularity since it was used by the Bollywood actor Neena Gupta in one of her recent interviews. She said that feminism is useless, that women and men are not equal, and that women necessarily need men. Her interview has sparked a huge conversation on the internet as people are both supporting and refuting her statement. The words "Faltu Feminism" have been in the buzz ever since it was used by actor Neena Gupta in one of her recent interviews. While her statement delves deeper into the systemic conditioning that goes decades back, I hold a different stance - here's why.
Addressing actor Gupta, a user on X (formerly Twitter) wrote, "Ma'am, your right to give birth to a child without a father, raise her, to earn for yourself. Your daughter's right to divorce. You stand on the groundwork of thousands of feminists over centuries. Wanting or not wanting a man is a choice professed by feminism. Sit down, please."
Needed A Man Or Not Is A Choice
The tweet does remind us about how Gupta has defied gender norms, even though she doesn't believe in feminism. It was Neena Gupta who gave birth and nurtured Masaba Gupta on her own, making her into an independent and successful woman. It was Gupta who talked about sex and the importance of sex education onscreen. It was her when she chose bold statements through her roles and clothes defying many norms about ageism and patriarchy
But the question here is, why is the discussion around feminism boiling down to whether a woman needs a man or not? When feminism is addressing millions of issues including the struggles of LGBTQIA+, why are we stuck at whether a woman is complete without a man or not?
Needing a man or not is a choice. If a woman says that she feels incomplete without her partner, she is just expressing her choice and not a rule. If a woman says she can manage without a man in life, she is as much relevant as other women in society. The point is that every woman should be independent before feeling the need for a man. She should be educated and empowered enough to live on her own before involving a man in her life. This is exactly what we teach men too. Men in our society are expected to become independent and successful so that they can take care of their families. Then why can't women, too, receive the same lesson?
As far as Neena Gupta's statement about feminism is concerned, I believe it is just another example of how feminism is misunderstood. Of course, men and women are not equal, we're way behind in giving equality to women, aren't we? But physically, socially and economically, men and women should be considered equal. And it is just not possible to survive in a relationship that is not based on this concept of equality. If someone is surviving, they are labouring.
So, before we tackle whether a woman needs a man or not, let's understand that a woman needs herself first. She needs to understand her rights, freedom and power. Only then will she be able to look through her life clearly and know what she wants.
Views expressed are the author's own.