WHY I AM A FEMINIST
I had heard that Taslima Nasreen was a feminist. I read 'Lajja'. I was unmoved and became apprehensive. Was I not a feminist not to feel for the women in this politically flavoured book? Soon I was proved wrong - by myself of course, when I descried that I was not among those who preferred to join the bandwagon of feminism just for the tag.
Feminism for me had deeper implications.
I did not feel bothered if a wife was called 'a man's better half' and not vice versa. Nor did I knit my brow when a beautiful lady was called 'femme fatale'. But when ANDREW MARVEL profusely exclaimed to his beloved-
'An'hundred years should go to praise/Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze,/Two hundred to adore each breast /But thirty thouthand to the rest.' - I was greatly amused. Later yet I was very disappointed to read the Bard make Hamlet sigh for his mother and generelisze a folly made by a single woman, in a remiss statement, 'Frailty, thy name is woman'.
Since generations women have been physically and mentally battered by their counterparts.They have been labelled as the 'elusive gender' or paired opposite to wine as a source of succor for men. Most professions involving women tend to explore their outward beauty. Most again, are meant for the pleasures of men. Be she a masseur, a cabaret dancer, a prostitute, a model , a photographer's muse , a painter's theme or an advertiser's catch. I often wonder is feminism all about possessing and exposing a naughty fissure of the bust, or does shaving off all those extra hair from the body assert feminism? Why more than rewarding them for their fecundity in various fields of profession, are they paid for how they 'carry themselves', I ponder.
I despise rallies where women, with placards in hands demand equal rights and status, declaring they are not any more the weaker sex (the fairer sex,yes), nor are they chickens to be taken for a ride. All these appear so perfunctory; at the end of the day, a few 'liberated women' take to walk the ramp, in whatever robes their designers choose them to wear. Or not to wear, providing pleasure of the umpteen degree to fetists and voyeurists.This I refuse to accept as feminism, for the simple reason that none of the displayed dresses are wearable in streets, workplace, or even in a social gathering, by middle class women.
I had once helped a school launch a special package of interest for the girls.This brainchild of mine was supposed to explore the girl's flair for expressive writing besides voicing their grievances and displeasure on any matter that caused them physical or mental discomfiture at school.They did not write their names but keeping the word limit as hundred, had to write and put the paper into a box called, 'Its my voice'. Every weekend ,the best confidential letter was picked up for a student- teacher discussion and attempts were made to alleviate problems. Thus the troublemaker either surfaced to say 'sorry' in solitude to the victim or regretted his mischief. The girls became vivacious writers. I admit that shortly we had to open a separate box for the male complainants too! But this was not a buttery smooth journey for me. In the uphill task, I had myself as much pulled down as less pushed ahead. Yet I left no stone unturned to see that the girls were heard.
Feminism is not about kissing the blarney stone with flaring speeches on women's rights. We can seek them within the parameters of our homes. Nor do we need to kowtow before our men .What is required is a little diplomacy. Having performed my uxorial duties , I am now a successful mother. I have learnt that husbands and their mothers are strangely and secretly alike. They always refuse whatever proposals their wives and daughters-in-law make. So whenever I have to plan or make my ideas implemented I propose the opposite,which I know will be vehemently declined. Then as if hesitatingly, I give in to their alternative ideas - which were forever lurking in my mind ! They feel satisfied and happy that they made me eat humble pie. God bless them! What they will never know is I had not actually thrown in the towel, but out-Heroded Herod.
Of course I am cautious to implement this gameplan once in a while, for,it is risky to take the bull by the horns more than often !