If you are one of those who are really annoyed by this new category of people urging for feminism and feel like banging their heads against the wall because you have had ‘too much’, I suggest you save yourself some energy right here and press close because I might be one of the many rightful flag bearers of that category (sassy much?)
Let’s begin, shall we?
Feminism = Equal rights for women
Such a simple equation could not pierce through this gentleman’s head who happened to be seated next to me at a rooftop bar/restaurant. While I was devouring all the veg platters made possible by the human race, Mr Penis Possessor had had some very expensive whiskey and spoke like a Jell-o while he meant ‘oh hello’.
We had made eye contact a few times because God bless anyone near that breath. More like one-sided eye rolls, but you get the gist. As the music grew louder, everyone present got louder and the tradition of getting shitfaced on weekends hugged its ardent followers tighter and tighter. “Great hairstyle!”, suddenly thundered Lord Intoxicated. I nodded with a little smile and went back to saving my cheese from drunk teenagers who had lost sight of tables, chairs, wallets and the planet.
But, he wasn’t’ finished and continued, “I like how you’re fully clothed, I mean look at these slu—“…”Woah, stop!”, I snapped and raised my hand in the air like a traffic cop as if my mouth hadn’t mouthed ‘stop’ clearly enough. Before I go any further, I must tell you that I HATE words like s**t and refrain from using them irrespective of intention, tone or context. I think there are way too many connotations attached to the word and I have never been able to bring myself to the ‘oh come girl, it’s just a joke’ limbo. And no, not okay to be used for a man either.
His eyes narrowed and the Snape-like smile on his face turned into a Ron Weasley one as he looked carefully at me and – not kidding – said, ” Don’t tell me you are a Feminist?”. I burst out laughing while saving my last broccoli piece from falling down and into someone’s drink which didn’t look like alcohol anymore. He looked as concerned as the Doc I had shamelessly asked if his biggest competitors were apples. Too bad he was a psychiatrist and now I have a couple of meds to unpack.
“Shouldn’t everyone be?”, I asked trying to recover. Well, it was his turn to laugh and that made the fact that this conversation was going nowhere crystal clear to me. I talked to him for fifteen minutes before realizing his response to pretty much everything was ‘pfft’. Since, I am intimidated by ‘great debaters’, I stammered in anger and hammered with my high heels before paying an amount I had very quickly converted to rupees and dying a little.
As I walked back home that night, in a strange city that had been home for merely a couple of weeks, I wondered if Feminism has become a taboo, a disease or a laughing stock. What struck me even more was the fact that I was in Melbourne, a city touted to be one of the world’s finest and yet, I had come across a Man who couldn’t believe the girl who sat next to him would take offence to something that must be taken offence to.
No, women empowerment is not restricted to the New Delhis or the Lahores of the world. It stretches to the Melbournes of it as well. One of the biggest myths that only third world countries are victims to gender bias was thankfully broken. I think I have enough fantasies to live off of. Yes, women down there get the worse deal where even roaming out at night can be nightmare BUT just because women get to do that in other cities, does that mean equality – specially when they are still being judged for what they ‘wear’?
I remember the anger that had engulfed India when the Government refused to make Sanitary Napkins/ Tampons tax free. Guess what? It’s the same in Australia. It took me a while to register it and I sometimes, I still can’t believe it.
Isn’t it pukish to digest that women might be the ‘second-class’ citizens everywhere and this world that we take pride in, and claim is getting better day by day, doesn’t ever get good enough for us? Maybe cutting Sarees into shorts is not protest enough. And to everyone out there, specially women, who are starting to get a little ashamed of the word Feminism, mincing no words, I am a little ashamed of you. Take pride in who you are and maintain distance from anyone trying to maintain a difference between Feminism and Feminazi (can’t even…). There is nothing brutal in fighting for your rights and these people could benefit from some basic history lessons.
The question is, do better economies make better nations for women? If you think Saudi Arabia is the only exception, think harder. Until then, I am going to keep looking for differences. Maybe make some too.
(Rant 01 is here in case you were wondering if I am bad at Math. I am, though.)