When I ask myself whether I am a feminist, I have to struggle to find a blunt answer. Feminism is nothing but an activism for women’s rights on the basis of equality. If we go by these words, I am a feminist, but in practice, perhaps, I wonder I am not. Feminism is rather a misconceived concept today and it is more than equal rights for women.
When she asks for equal treatment in society on par with men she is not only asking for equal wages and equal opportunities but also equal respect. We are slowly stepping into the days where women are treated equally and however perception of that equality is not going down well with few traditionalists.
If the first two waves of modern feminism in the 20th century focused on suffrage, wages and opportunities it was largely confined to western societies, but today’s feminism started spreading all over the world and unfortunately is heading in the wrong direction.
It was very happy to see PV Sindhu winning silver medal for India when other male athletes failed miserably. Stories of this kind are an immense source of inspiration. Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher terrified their political opponents and stood as great leaders breaking the stereotypes.
I saw three movies few months ago, one, Suffragette an English historical drama of the women’s struggle for suffrage in the UK in 1900s, two, Pink, a recently released Hindi courtroom drama of three independent women and the consequences of their independent life, and Iraivi, a Tamil flick which emotionally drove the point of women to be strong and independent by saying ‘Manidhi veliye vaa…’ These three movies beautifully focused on feminism in three categories. Equal rights, respect-independent life and injustice-strength of women.
The intriguing story of Yashodhara, Sidhartha’s wife, is a classic example of sacrifice and injustice for women. While her husband was seen as a God by thousands in her kingdom, she never thought of injustice committed by her husband when he left her alone along with their son in search of enlightment. But instead she stood strong and became a disciple of her husband later. He was treated as God for his spiritual power but no one mentioned that he left his wife and child whom he loved the most earlier. But, Yashodhara never felt it as injustice and respected her husband and his decision. Even though she was a queen, she lived independently. That was an admirable character of Yashodhara, wife of Gautham Buddha. Independent women are always admirable. We should not pity them, we should admire them.
The freedom to have a choice is a boon only to few women. The choices before them and the decisions they take have to be evaluated carefully and they should be brave enough to face the consequences. Indian patriarchal families have to come out and should analyse the significance of independence and equality.
However, being independent is different from ‘I do what I like to do’. The psychology of ‘I will do whatever I want to do’ is not feminism. It doesn’t help in empowering women.
And yesterday, I watched a song from Befikre where Vani Kapoor dances on the table in a library hall stripping off her skimpy clothes. Oh!! God!! Aditya Chopra made a film like Dilwale Dulhaniya Lejayange in which Shahrukh Khan teases Kajol in a hotel room and finally consoles that nothing wrong happened and he values the significance of respect and honour of Indian women. Two decades later, Aditya Chopra is going to gift the audience a lavishly made dare to see along with your family movie called Befikre where Vani Kapoor and Ranveer Singh make out on a broad daylight in a roofless car on the streets of Paris. This is where the whole thing is heading in the wrong direction in the context of I do what I like to do.
Dear women, we respect you, we consider you and we admire you.