#Personal Stories

Privileged Women Say We Don’t Need Feminism. But Is it Really So?

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I am fortunate enough to have grown up in a family that does not discriminate between me and the men out in the world. At least not much. Under rare circumstances have I been told to refrain from taking a step given my womanhood. My parents have always been supportive. They have taught me to have an opinion and to be independent and opinionated. Yes, I am a privileged woman but I would never say that we don’t need feminism. I know the world doesn’t revolve around me and that there are innumerable women who have to fight for their basic rights.

But there are plenty of young privileged women who believe we don’t need feminism anymore because according to them, equality has already been achieved.

What privileged women say

Many privileged women are of the opinion that they don’t need feminism as they have never been oppressed as women. In schools, colleges, markets, workplaces, travels – they have enjoyed independence and safety as much as any man. So where is the rift in equality? What they fail to see perhaps is that this is a simple playing out of privileges.

Further, they believe men and women have both anatomical as well as social differences which cannot be overlooked. No one ever denied that physical differences between men and women are unchangeable. But adhering to the social differences only results in women submitting themselves to the patriarchy.

Many of them falsely believe feminists to be misandrists who aim at portraying men as devils. No, feminists don’t hate men. Anyone who does cannot be termed a feminist. We know there are men who have made our lives difficult but at the same time, we have men taking a stand for us time and again. The very idea of feminism is to bring about parity and not women dominating over others.

In 2018, India was at the 108th position in terms of the gender wage gap index. In 2020, it has slipped to the 112th position. Our country ranks 149th in case of economic participation and opportunity and 117th when talking about wage equality for similar work. Still, some women think that the issue of pay gap is a myth. They tend to forget that they are at a far better position than many other women who are struggling to get paid equal to the men they work with.

Not everyone is privileged

Women coming from privileged and educated families often fail to look beyond themselves. They never face any opposition from their families but don’t take into account what others are going through. Women from the rural areas and conservative families lack basic education and employment opportunities. Crimes against women keep making headlines every other day. During the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown in India, there was an alarming rise in the cases of domestic violence.

Instances of dowry deaths and forced marriages are still on the rise. Students are made to sacrifice their studies and become homemakers. They are even forced to embrace motherhood at a young age, when they are neither physically nor mentally ready to take the responsibility.

Coming from progressive backgrounds, we might not be able to relate our lives to these harsh realities but such incidents do take place and they don’t seem to be coming to an end any time soon.

Use your privilege for the benefit of others

If you come from a progressive and privileged family, discounting a conversation on feminism by saying we don’t need it is short-sighted. Perhaps, you are unaware of the brutalities and animosities women in our country and all around the world are facing. But with the right resources and attention, it isn’t hard to ignore for the facts are lying out in the open for all to see.

Why don’t you rather use your privilege to help those who don’t have it?

Mustn’t we educate others as to why we need to bring down patriarchy and uplift women? As privileged people, isn’t it our responsibility to help women come at an equal footing with men? Let us unite to make this world a better and a safer place for all genders by spreading awareness among them all and not concentrating just on ourselves.