By Ananya Majumdar (L&T MHPS)
After my friend shared a post on feminism with me, I was reading further on the subject when I chanced upon a video on YouTube, where Emma Watson spoke on being a feminist. The way she explained things, I was inspired. The video was about the UN initiative, #HeforShe.
First thing she explained is, how people have a misconception about feminism. People usually consider feminists as man-haters. In fact, it is anything but that!
Feminism is (as per Wikipedia) “to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women “.
This got me thinking about my life and people around me.
Basically, the way my parents raised me, I never felt I was less than the opposite sex. I studied in a girl’s school. Therefore, I competed only with other girls. We faced boys in Inter school events. We excelled, nonetheless. It never ever seemed to me there was something that I couldn’t do. I always felt that the power to excel in any field depends on the knowledge and determination to surge ahead. If we are falling behind, it’s not because of gender, but, because of our shortfalls in other areas. I scored just few marks less than the boy who stood first in boards. So, can I be called any less than him? No way!
Let me share some instances which have made me question whether men and women were really equal. In college, it was the first time I felt the drawback in being a girl. During our survey camps, my opinions and ideas didn’t count to the others boys. Why? My guess is because I am a girl. They were uncomfortable in taking instructions from me, although when it came to calculations, back calculations and making a perfect report, they always counted on me. Talk about irony!
Then came the time of campus placements. A renowned construction company didn’t hire female candidates as the job profile was not suitable. People rationalised and told that site life is tough, labourers are rude, etc. And we girls, had to remain content with it.
An important part of a girl’s life is the (in)famous “wedding discussion” where your parents and relatives think it is time for you to settle down. Similar was the case with a close friend whose parents insisted that she was at “that age” which is considered suitable for marriage. It is, in my personal opinion, one of the stupidest reasons to enter this social institution. I couldn’t believe her words. She too was raised without any gender biases. However, suddenly her parents felt the urgency in getting her married seemed preposterous! All they would say is, it is their wish and she should listen, for all that they have done for her. , If she were a boy, perhaps she would not be forced to marry before 30, in the Indian scenario. Why this difference then?
I have always aimed at equal treatment for women and men. Bottom line, I realized that I am a feminist. And why should I not be?
Coming back to what Emma said is that, only woman speaking on gender equality will not be enough. Men have to come together and do the same. Men have to support women and vice versa. Only then we can achieve this equality.
My mind again wandered and I thought it depends on if we want it at all. Some want equality for their daughters while others don’t want a daughter at all. And this is not only in India. Why so, is still a wonder for me!!