This is what a Feminist looks like

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi once said, “No two leaves are alike, and yet there is no antagonism between them or between the branches on which they grow.” yet Article 19 remains an important page in our Constitution far from being practiced in free India.

Why do we need feminism? Because one in four women are subject to domestic abuse. Why do we need feminism? Because there is a stubborn pay gap of 23%. Why do we need feminism? Because when people get married it is assumed the woman will take the man’s last name. Why do we need feminism? We still need feminism because we teach women how to prevent rape, instead of teaching people to not view women as objects. Today’s feminist movement is more diverse than ever before. Feminism has become more attentive to the wider range of experiences of those oppressed by gender norms and stereotypes, including men, non-binary and trans people.

There’s also greater awareness of the way that racism, anti-religious hatred, or homophobia work alongside sexism, creating complex forms of prejudice and oppression. It’s not so much that feminism has moved “beyond” sexism. Rather, a wider range of voices is now being counted as feminist.

What is FEMINISM? According to urban dictionary, the belief that women should be allowed (seriously?) the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state

Or more bluntly put according to me, the radical notion that women are PEOPLE.  Feminism has often become synonymous to man-hating but it all it actually is about is an equal status of men and women.

I AM A FEMINIST! I believe men, women, transgenders, and everybody else of the WHOLE spectrum are equal. I was born a feminist. We move forward when we realise how resilient the women around us are. My mother, the biggest feminist I know, is my inspiration. Her organisation, DURGA,  works towards women’s safety and rights and I interned there this summer. I have a younger sister and we’ve always been told that we can follow our passion and that there are no constraints for us. I can do all that my male cousins do. At home, there are no fixed gender roles. “Share the load” is the slogan at home. Women are not going to be equal outside the home until men are equal in it.

My upbringing has been one of a Feminist when I think now. My mum has told me that she has grown up hearing poetry and writings of her mum around how the Shakti alone completes The Shiva – The Ardanarishwar! You speak to my granddad and he will say he is the ‘Homemaker’ supporting all the 4 women in his life do all the things we want to! So, how can I be any different?!

I was lucky enough to have interned with a boy my age. A patriarchal society affects both men and women. Gender equality is not a woman’s issue, it is a human’s issue, it affects us all. During the course of my internship, we conducted several workshops for children on gender equality. We tried to break gender stigmas in their head. The internship gave me a lot of exposure and experience. Just because I’m a feminist I don’t have to do anything radical, I don’t have to shave the hair on my head or grow my body hair or not wear sanitary pads or a  bra. Instead, I do simple things like engaging myself in conversations that impact me immensely with family, friends and acquaintances, spread awareness among my peers and hopefully a wider group. I stand up for what I believe in and raise my voice. I strongly believe that a woman is no less than a man.

In the near future, I hope to advocate for women’s and LGBTQ+ rights. I’m sure that it’ll be hard and tedious. But like Maya Angelou said, ” You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats. So you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

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