Okay, again the same clichéd topic of women empowerment, their rights, advocacy of feminism and all the same repeated stuff. Was that your immediate thought after reading the title? If yes, then congrats! You’ve been effectively brainwashed about Feminism pretty thoroughly. So what is feminism all about? And why is there so much hype
over it? First, let me get it clear that it has nothing to do with ‘female’ or feminine aspect of women or the advocacy of women over men. Feminism at its core is equality between both the sexes i.e. women are equal to men and men too are just as equal to women. Feminism does not advocate the superiority of women over men. But what we see today isn’t feminism in its true colour.
So let’s begin with a Quick History
Initially, the movement started out as a response to the denial of political rights to the women in the early days of political transition from monarchial forms to democracy. The movement started out in the form of women’s suffrage movement (the right of women to vote) and later on expanded to women challenging the patriarchal society and the oppressive societal norms, practices and stereotypes that prevailed against women
in those times. By today, the movement has come a long way with women sharing the workplace with men as well as breaking the traditional societal norms which dictated how women ought to be. Okay, enough women talk. The main concern of this article is to highlight the hidden and less known side of feminism:
Men’s liberation and empowerment.
If feminism means that women are equal to men and thus, have full right to participate in activities which were earlier restricted only to men like sports or politics, then it also means that men equally have the right to participate in activities which were considered feminine or ‘women-only’ like looking after the children and taking charge of household affairs. Furthermore, the movement does not end here. The societal norms established for men are also not absolute like the pressure to be more masculine, less emotional and dominating. If women have the right to be more strong and dominating then men too have the right to be more submissive, and to express their feelings more openly etc.
To help you wrap your head around what feminism really means, just consider the following ideas:-
. If women have the right to wear shirts and pants, then men too have the right to wear skirts or dresses.
. If women have the right to wear their hair short, then men too have the right to wear their hair long.
. If women have the right to prioritize career over family, then men equally have the right to prefer family overwork.
. If it is acceptable for women to be more dominating and androgynous then it is equally acceptable for men to be
submissive and more feminine in their personality.
. And if women are subjected to domestic violence and sexual harassment then men too experience violence and
abuse just as women do and they too require protection similar to what women receive.
Here, I am only emphasizing the fact that feminism is about equality between the genders and not the dominance of one over the other. The terms feminine and masculine are not necessarily the characteristic feature belonging exclusively to females and males respectively. There is nothing so-called as ‘woman-like’ or ‘man-like’. Clothes or hairstyles do not make one a man or a woman. No toy is primarily a girl toy or a boy toy. Pink is not a girly color and blue, not a boyish one. All these are our own self-constructed gender roles and expectations. It’s only an inadequate attempt to classify the sexes in accordance with their expected appearance or interests merely in order for others to label them in certain ways.
What truly makes a man a man is perhaps the XY chromosome and a woman the XX chromosome. Gender roles and norms are socially and culturally constructed and thus are ever-changing.
So, ladies if you truly advocate equality, then stop expecting men to always be a gentleman and make yourself more of a gentlelady. Also, please forget the idea of “ladies first”. And dear men, feel free to put on makeup and raise your voice against sexual harassment and domestic violence among the male community. Let’s not fight for women empowerment but for the liberation and equality between both the sexes.