Archive for August, 2013

Coffee_Day_Square_2Today was what I would call a very productive day. I didn’t exactly achieve or create anything substantial. It was a discussion I had today which proved to be an eye opener. I got to meet a few interesting people. Today was a meetup of Nirmukta‘s Bangalore chapter. The topic of discussion was the I need feminism campaign. Feminism is a topic I never really understood. I was asked right at the start if I saw myself as a feminist. I did not, because I never truly understood it. Even now I’m not much of an expert. It was however reassuring to know that feminists do not hate men. I already knew that, but that is a common misconception. I had read somewhere men cannot be feminists. Apparently men who support feminism can be called Pro-feminists and not feminists. That was at the back of my head as well. There was something which made me think again even before today. Last week I came across a quote mentioning that feminists were the only ones fighting for boys and men who get raped. Surely  men could do more than being just pro-feminists.

When my turn came to speak, I admitted how society was unfair to women in a lot of ways. Even though I could never understand what a woman goes through in her everyday life, I am at least aware of some of the challenges. I have always been a supporter of equality. It is one of my core beliefs and I just don’t know how anyone could be against it. I was told that my thoughts were that of a feminist and I could call myself one. After reading a bit more about feminism (Wikipedia) now i realize it is indeed about equality and oblivious to me I have been a feminist in my thought for quite a while now. What followed was a discussion of a variety of issues affecting women, men and transgenders.

At least half of the things discussed were already known to me. The way it was put forward made me think. You become numb to repeated news about rapes being reported all over the country. You tend to become apathetic, or show a little or mild irritation to these reports. One fact shared today disturbed me more than anything. Every woman we know has been molested or abused either physically or verbally. It is not very hard to believe, but is a very sad fact. Boys are not spared as well, but those occurrences are relatively rare.

Specific topics discussed were Patriarchy, Privilege, Sexism in popular culture, Need and effectiveness of education, Feminism in Indian context, The role played by women who conform to the patriarchy. A variety of other issues were also touched upon which I hope could be discussed in detail in other session the notable ones being the obsession with fairness, self esteem in kids, issues faced by the transgender community,  Religion in life rituals etc.

We finally wound up with the decision to be part of the I need feminism campaign.

I would like to end the article with a sincere thanks to the three ladies who organized this and everyone who attended and shared their experiences and thoughts. It not only made me think, it had a profound impact on me and has encouraged me to delve deeper into the concepts of feminism and the real world challenges that keep women from living their lives on level terms.