An Open Letter To Divyangna Trivedi Whose Feminism Bashing Is Entirely Unfounded
A recent video by a young girl questioning feminism is a great example of how misunderstood the notion of feminism is in our society and amongst young girls and women. The creator of the video, Divyangna Trivedi (a legal author as per LinkedIn) says she ‘is against feminism’ because she feels it is focussed on male-bashing and is anti-men. She accuses feminism of creating ‘gender division’, suggests women shouldn’t let their vests be visible, that we are failing at ‘teaching women to respect men.’
This widely shared video harms all-feminist philosophy because it is rooted in a misguided and self proclaimed definition of feminism. It shuns efforts put together by its advocates to normalise the notion that feminism stands for equality of all genders.
We have enough recent incidents that power an ecosystem of those who want to question feminism. Be it the highly-explosive boys’ locker room or the misogyny of creator videos on TikTok and youtube.
Feminism to me is what made lives of girls and women better in many ways than before. Personally, feminism is what made it possible for my sister to pursue her higher studies and get a job outside Assam, which my mother, married off at 21, was deprived of because the society expected her to solely devote herself to being a wife and a mother within the four walls of our home.
Feminism is what made my parents celebrate the birth of two daughters in the family while other people shrugged with disappointment.
Moreover, feminists are not afraid of calling out other women when they are wrong. What do you think made the feminists call the Snapchat girl out when the proof of her behaviour was out in public, while also addressing the need to keep all the cases separate and not lose the outrage over any?
I think people making videos about feminism should not confuse it with pseudo-feminism and misandry. We should not fail to recognise existing and deep rooted gendered norms that cause oppression, marginalisation and subordination in our society. Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of equality of all genders.
I decided to engage with her and tried understanding her viewpoint, but all I could get was a naive, obstinate and unworldly response, not ready to engage with the wider picture. She appealed for ‘humanism’ and showed her disapproval of the term having ‘fem’ in it, advocating for the upliftment of the needy irrespective of gender. I tried reasoning with her by stating that humanism is an existing philosophical term related to the preference of rational thinking and experience over religious beliefs, not equality. Even if we only consider her appeal for gender equality, then she becomes a feminist by default. The ‘fem’ doesn’t signify indifference towards men, but the social construct of femininity which is at a disadvantage in patriarchy. For instance, jingoism is the negative and radicalised form of patriotism, but does that mean that we are going to aver patriotism as prickly? No, we definitely won’t. So, why is feminism seen as problematic then?
Feminism is now redundant and the much-needed upliftment has already taken place, she asks as Divyangna gave the analogy of the reservation system that puts the OC at a disadvantage. There’s no doubt in the fact that the reservation system is in dire need of reforms, but the main emphasis of this system is not only the upliftment of the marginalised sections of the society. It also aims t prevent discrimination of people, which unfortunately exists when seen on a macro level. Similarly, feminism is still a much-needed movement, especially in India, to prevent misogyny in a system where all the spheres are cemented by patriarchy. Furthermore, the upliftment is mostly true for the progressively ‘privileged’ groups, which are statistically small in our country. Sad to say, but women are oppressed even now in too many of the milieus. One can easily Google and find out a huge number of statistics and evidence supporting the aforesaid statement. Or explore this website for more.
Feminism reaffirms that both men and women are unique in their own ways, but this uniqueness shouldn’t give rise to systemic and structured inequalities in the society.
I can’t stress enough on the need of intersectionality, which is a product of the third and fourth waves of feminism, in the present scenario that is slowly eroding the patriarchal culture of entitlement, andro-centric conditioning and relative privilege bestowed upon men. Third and fourth waves of feminism are today’s feminism, not misandry and pseudo-feminism.
I agree that some may use feminism to unreasonably champion the supremacy of women in the whole nine yards, leading to an unfortunate social disequilibrium among the two ‘widely recognized’ genders. That counts as pseudo-feminism. Pseudo-feminism does end up creating a situation of disparity in the gender-binary system emerges, albeit it has always been there; the only difference right now is the oppressor and the oppressed being the other way round, and that too only for the relatively progressive masses.
Feminism stands for all genders that are most often excluded by society at large. It is important for some to broaden their horizons and not limit themselves to their neoteric vicinity when talking about such pertinent issues. Nobody wants another Chetan Bhagat mansplaining feminism in their book in the name of egalitarianism.
Views are author’s own. SheThePeople invites its readers to share their views as part of this section.
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