Most people I know are aware that I am a feminist. I have encountered questions from many of my friends, particularly girls as to why I am a feminist. This article will hopefully answer your question. Before I start, let me clarify a few things. Feminism does not equate with hating men or trying to oppress them. In fact, it does the opposite by breaking stereotypes that affect men as well. For instance, a feminist will be against the notion that men should not be sensitive or like pink. If a feminist tells you to hate men, then he or she is not one. Secondly, men can be feminists too. Yes, men like Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau, etc have called themselves feminists. Anybody who believes that men and women are equal is a feminist. It is as simple as that.
I am a feminist because I do not think it is fair for people to make sexist jokes about women and ask me to ‘learn to take a joke’ when I retort. I am a feminist because when I try to defend myself against sexism I am asked to ‘shut up’ and ‘behave like a girl’. I am a feminist because I am judged for not conforming to unfair and unrealistic beauty standards. I am a feminist because when my friend spends money on make-up and clothes, I do not want her to be called ‘dumb and shallow’. I am a feminist because I believe that men who are sensitive or afraid of bugs or call themselves feminists do not deserve to be treated any less of a man. I am a feminist because I do not want my fellow sisters to be victims of name calling if they choose to drink or smoke or party at night.
I am a feminist because I do not want my ability to cook, clean or raise children to matter more than my college degree or how much I earn. I am a feminist because I do not want people to assume things about me just because I am a woman. I am a feminist because I do not want to hear phrases like ‘you run like a girl’ or ‘you are a girl because you are afraid to fight’, etc. I am a feminist because most people do not consider domestic violence, dowry, gender discrimination, etc as a crime. I am a feminist because I do not want my fellow women to be paid less than their male counterparts for the same job despite having similar qualifications. I am a feminist because I do not want to be asked what I was wearing when I complain about being catcalled on the roads. I am a feminist because I do not want women to be forced into bearing children and giving up careers for their family’s sake.
I am a feminist because I do not want little girls to hear that ‘good women’ endure suffering and do not walk out of unhappy marriages. I am a feminist because I believe that Bharathiyar was right when he told that virginity is a common virtue for both men and women. I am a feminist because if I get married, I do not want to be ‘passed on’ from my father to my husband like a piece of land or cattle. I am a feminist because if I get married, I want my husband and his family to respect my ideas and beliefs and treat me like a person. I am a feminist because I do not want to see any more people worrying about not having a male heir. I am a feminist because I do not want my female friends to be afraid of walking alone in the night. And I am a feminist because I do not want our daughters and grand daughters to fight for the same things that we fought for.
These are just a few reasons why I am a feminist. Trust me this is just the tip of the ice-berg! I guess I have answered your question. If you agree with my reasons then congratulations, you are a feminist too. Do not be afraid to embrace something that got you the right to vote, the right to study, the right to equal property and what not. There were times where I did not want to call myself a feminist too because of what some people (who I held in high esteem) told about feminism and feminists but I realised that they were wrong. Whatever misconceptions people have about feminism needs to change and we are in need of more people who can do that. So next time if someone asks whether you are a feminist say a big yes and give them some of your own reasons.