I wrote a couple of posts in the last few weeks on the feminism wave in India. More specifically, I linked to a Buzzfeed article which showed pictures of people who held placards which began with the words: ‘India needs feminism because…’
I was critical of the whole exercise, and also some of the responses that came in. Understandably, my views drew some ire.
Today I ran into a post on Tumblr called ‘Women Against Feminism‘. If you’ve not seen it, please do. Whether you agree with it or not, at least you know there is a counterpoint to modern-day feminism that many people believe in. Sometimes it’s necessary to know that an opposing point of view exists. And that we have options other than ‘feminist’ and ‘misogynist’.
And how does the feminism movement respond to this?
By using one of two common responses:
- You’re a misogynist (or chauvinist – take your pick).
- You don’t understand feminism. (This is particularly common. I’ve only recently begun expressing my views on the matter and I’ve already been told that I don’t understand feminism more often than I could count.)
Here is a post on The Daily Beast that takes this stance. ‘You don’t hate feminism,’ it says, ‘you just don’t understand it.’ In other words, you are a feminist, you just don’t know it yet.
One of the comments had this to say:
This is exactly how every imam and priest describes members of other religions to their flock. If someone rejects the Bible or Quran it’s because they don’t “understand” it. If someone has a critique of its principles they need to “read up” on the subject more and gain more knowledge before they judge People subscribed to ideologies all play this game. It sets up a situation where the only people who can have legitimate criticisms are people who subscribe to that particular ideology, and of course these people necessarily won’t be critical of an ideology’s principles to begin with. Voila! You’ve just created the perfect bubble for yourself.
Has this ‘bubble’ not arrived already in India? Isn’t there a silent minority of people – some of them women – who reject the ideas of modern feminism but are afraid to voice their concerns in the fear of being shouted down and being told that they’re ignorant?
One sentence we hear a lot in debates on feminism is that it is all about equality. Indeed, it should be. It’s what the dictionary requires it to be. But is it that in reality?
From the same person who commented above:
The “feminism just means equality” line is particularly grating…patriarchy, rape culture, male entitlement, heteronormativity, intersectionality, body positivity, toxic masculinity; if you go into a space of feminist discussion these are the things that at this moment are most likely to be talked about, not “equality” in the sense most understand it.
Here are some more examples of inequality in our social and legal systems caused by modern feminism.
1. Women are given full custody of kids in cases of separation. Even in cases where the woman is the breadwinner and the father is a stay-at-home dad, custody is given to women. In most cases it’s the father who pays child support. The Fathers’ Right Movement has been trying to get these laws rewritten, and has been getting stiff resistance from feminists.
2. ‘Equal pay for equal work’ is a feminist mantra. And yet in Grand Slam Tennis tournaments, women get paid the same amount of prize money as men for putting in 60% of the work. (Women’s matches are best-of-three events, whereas men play best-of-fives.) Women’s games bring in far less revenues too. The tickets for the women’s final is priced almost 2.5 times lower than the men’s final. So in effect, men are doing 2.5 times the work in terms of revenue, playing 40% longer games on average, and are getting paid the same amount. Is that equality?
Here is an article that presents the ‘argument’ for equal pay. Be sure to read the comments.
3. In our own country, gender-neutral rape laws have been opposed by feminists. According to a women’s rights activist:
I oppose the proposal to make rape laws gender neutral. There is physicality in the definition of rape, there is use of power and the victim has a stigma attached to her. If made gender-neutral, rape laws will not have the deterrence value and it will make it more complicated for judges in court
4. Further in India, the law heavily leans toward women, giving them reservations, social welfare and a whole lot of sops. If feminism were truly about equality, it would first train their gaze at these legal inequalities. On the contrary, most women’s rights movements aim to increase the level of subsidies and special treatment, and therefore increase the level of inequality.
On the other hand, do we have any examples of feminism working for equality of the sexes? Have we seen any feminist take a stand on men’s issues? No, and no.
So given all this, is it really our fault that if we’re perhaps a little skeptical of the feminist movement’s claims to equality?
What are your views on the matter? Do you believe modern-day feminism truly stands for equality?
Image Courtesy: Women Against Feminism