A boy once told me, I used to be innocent but now I have become a ‘feminist’. This offended me. According to him, feminists aren’t innocent people. Someone who asks for equality is not innocent? I wondered, why?

In many parts of our society, the word feminism is considered derogatory. The perception of a majority of the people regarding the term feminism is totally opposite of its actual connotations. Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the genders. It is the movement which fights to liberate the marginalised.

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The perception of patriarchal society about who is an innocent woman is also skewed. The meaning of the word innocence is ‘not being guilty of a crime’. Whereas according to our Indian society innocent women are those who don’t wear short dresses, don’t hang out with boys, don’t drink alcohol, don’t go for a night out, talk in a low pitch doesn’t speak her mind in front of the male members of the family, they should not be aggressive and immodest and so on.

So, then are women who are not following these rules committing a crime? Sometimes, I feel is being a girl a crime? These myths how women should conduct themselves cause a lot of trauma to women every day as they have to suppress their desires in myriad ways.

Our society assumes that women are innocent only when are submissive and when it comes to men they must be arrogant and tough. And if a woman starts taking a stand for empowerment, women safety and any other issues related to the women, the hypocritical society judges them. Bring her down from the pedestal of being innocent. Have we ever thought that who has given this right the patriarchal society to judge people on the basis of their gender?

Our society which is largely patriarchal is living under the delusion that feminists want superiority over men. And it is very important to dispel this illusion. All feminists do not believe in misandry. Feminist believe in equality and acknowledge that men are victims of patriarchy too.

Also Read: How Carceral Feminism Is Far From Bringing Justice In Cases Of Sexual Violence

Our society has so many misconceptions about feminism. Some people believe feminist are against wearing a bra or feminist suggests women wear short dresses. Feminist don’t believe in dress code. They believe that women should have the choice to wear whatever they want to, it totally depends on an individual whether they like to wear a bra or not. And the way a woman dresses has nothing to do with her innocence.

Every day we women struggle against oppression. In many families, women either play a secondary role or are subjugated in decision making. The existence of pervasive misogyny is undeniable. Many women face sexual harassment and assault almost on a daily basis. And if they raise their voice against this practice then the society calls them brutal.

Feminism is a positive ideology and a social movement in a society which considers women as inferiors. If someone is taking a stand that benefits the society then people should come forward and lend a helping hand instead of pulling them down.

I guess it’s a high time that society corrects their parameters to judge a feminist.

As a woman, I am the change I desire.

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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