ON CHAUVANISM, FEMINISM AND SEXISM

I’m taking the time out to do something I have never done before – rant.
I live in India, the world’s largest democracy with the world’s largest constitution. Ideally, equality should be prevalent because our law is supposed to uphold it, but ideals here never transform into reality.
Lately, we’ve been making headlines for all the wrong reasons, and I like so many of the youth am frustrated. So women are raped brutally, killed at times and our laws hardly do anything. Women are abused repeatedly and our laws hardly do anything.
Most of the country is furious of course, but on the other side of the spectrum are a group of anti-feminists who claim that the situation is merely blown out of proportion. They are of the belief that women are manipulative and use feminism as an excuse to emasculate the male population. Their evidence? Most rape cases filed are false allegations. India is safer than most countries.
This infuriates me because it is not entirely true. From what I’ve come to gather, these anti- feminists are from the more privileged and urban areas. Discrimination here hardly exists, prevalent maybe to the extent of gender roles. Women get special treatment they say, after all the front seats of buses are reserved for them. They expect men to work and pay for their wants, they label anyone who contradicts their beliefs as misogynistic or chauvinistic. They are man hating and believe that they are superior to their counterparts.
Anti- feminists, hear me out. We wouldn’t need reservations had we not been groped in public transport so many times. Anything that you can buy for me, I can buy for myself. I don’t want you spending your hard earned money on me. We are not man hating. We know a lot of men support us and our cause for equal treatment, we appreciate it, and we love men just as we love women. So India is not the least safe country for women, others have it worse. Does that mean we turn a blind eye? I believe you are chauvinistic because you are. You post statuses on Facebook bashing women who get a lot of likes on their pictures and then you tag your gang of chauvinistic friends. Haven’t you heard of men getting a lot of likes too? When you call men who take up for women ‘Manginas’, how can I even think that you fight for gender equality? What is the term even mean? Because it implies that a penis is superior to a vagina, and any association with shows lack of strength, cowardliness. How then, do you promote gender equality? You don’t.
But neither are they completely wrong. Yes, it is women who usually suffer the brunt of abuse and discrimination but at least legally they have some sort of protection. They have a chance for justice. The law in this regard is very unfair to men. Indian law does not acknowledge than men can get raped by anyone, be it another man or a woman. Dowry and rape laws do not protect men who are falsely accused. When a woman is raped by a man, every man is accused of being disgusting like the rapist, merely because they share the same gender. The recent vogue empowerment video featuring Deepika Padukone is perfect example of pseudo- feminism. Feminism in no way means that women are superior to men or that they have the right to be infidel and face no consequences. Feminism is merely a matter of being humane, of allotting women the same rights that a man would enjoy.

A man once told me ‘Don’t wear bright lipstick, you’ll get raped.’ As if the intensity of my lip color decides whether or not I should be violated, as if it’s my fault. The same day another guy told me that the lipstick looks great on me, so honestly I don’t think a person’s gender really matters when it comes to their belief on who should be blamed. I vividly remember a girl standing up during psychology class and claiming that women who ‘dressed that way are asking for it.’
Biologically, men and women are created differently but I’ve always believed that we are created equally. We need to stop fighting over should hold the position of superiority and just live as equals. I mean, can you imagine life without the other gender? For one thing, our population needs to be sustained, and even though we have technology that could help carry out that business without the two coming into contact with each other, the truth is at the end of it all – we really do like each other.

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