Feminism
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This article has been written by Nehal Misra, from Nirma University, Ahmedabad. In this article, she discusses the insights related to the concepts of feminism and pseudo feminism.

Introduction

“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”

― Brigham Young

‘Feminism,’ in simple terms, means that no sex should be treated with any injustice. They should receive equal treatment. But, off late, there is developing a new type of feminism that is rightly called pseudo-feminism. Pseudo-feminists have a deep desire to remedy all the injustices inflicted on women, often by lashing out and demeaning at men. What they forget is the fundamental essence of the movement towards feminism: equality. Another form of pseudo-feminism is comfort feminism. We often don’t realize it, but pseudo-feminism is all around us, clandestinely hiding behind feminism. The women are crying everywhere for fair rights, but don’t waste a minute telling a guy sitting on a Ladies Reserved seat to vacate it.

Another strong example of pseudo-feminism is that women’s income tax slab is higher than men’s. A woman who earns till 3,00,000-3,50,000 is exempt from tax payment. If both men and women earn the same account, why should it only be the men who pay tax? It leaves a considerable dilemma. Men in India are mostly the earners of prime income. If they pay a nominal wage tax they are left with very little to support their families. However, there are exceptions to the situation, if the true value of feminism is to be complied with, then equality must be taken into account. If a man pays tax for the same wage a woman also earns, then a woman should. Although they are in the minority, some men are also subjected to sexual crimes that are crystal-clear truth. The statistics of cases reported to the police are on the lower side as most people do not report such a crime for fear of being mocked, not believed, and facing the charges themselves instead. Men are often abducted for illicit sexual activity, forced marriages, prostitution, and so on. The number of such victims is really low but we can not ignore that fact. When we speak about rising violence against women, we shouldn’t ignore the fact that men are still subject to the same brutalities somewhere out there. As of 2009, 175 men had been kidnapped and abducted for the purpose of illicit intercourse, according to the 2012 NCRB data. The cases were registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sec 363 to 369, 371 to 373. Such cases are not dealt with in the same way as the abuse committed on women, even under regulation. No conclusive study has been conducted on the topic yet.

If true feminism were followed, then all of the victims should be treated equally. Victims would cease to be male or female but only victims of abuse. But this is sadly not the case. Pseudo-feminism shouts that men can not be raped, that men can not be tormented, and that men who claim to have been placed under such atrocities lie in cheats. When a woman is set on fire, when she is raped, brutalized, stripped naked on the streets, forced to leave her studies to marry a man three times her age, when she is accused of being raped or teased when a woman is repeatedly beaten for refusing to pressurize her parents to pay a dowry when she is deemed to be inferior to her male counterparts, there is a need to speak out if it was a man who was stoned on the streets, raped, accused of a fake rape, doubted just because he was a man, a true feminist will do the same. As Gloria Steinem rightly said, a feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.

Feminism

Feminism is a series of social movements, political movements, and philosophies aimed at identifying, developing, and achieving gender, political, cultural, personal, and social equality. Feminism reflects the idea that societies favour the male point of view, and that women in such societies are treated unfairly. Efforts to change that include combating gender stereotypes and seeking to establish equal educational and professional opportunities for women to men. Feminist movements have advocated and continue to advocate for the rights of women, including the right to vote, hold public office, work, earn fair wages, equal pay and reduce the gender pay gap, own land, obtain employment, enter into contracts, have equal rights within marriage and have maternity leave. Feminists also work to ensure access to legal abortions and social inclusion and to protect women and girls from rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence. 

Some scholars see feminist campaigns as a major force behind major historical societal changes in women’s rights, especially in the West, where they are credited almost universally with achieving women’s suffrage, gender-neutral language, women’s reproductive rights (including access to contraceptives and abortion), and the right to contract and own property. Although feminist advocacy is, and has been, focused primarily on women’s rights, some feminists, including Bell Hooks, argue in favour of including men’s liberation within their goals, because they believe that men are also harmed by traditional gender roles. Feminist theory, which emerged from feminist movements, aims at understanding the nature of gender inequality by examining the social roles and experiences of women; it has developed theories in a variety of disciplines to respond to gender issues.

Over the years numerous feminist movements and ideologies have evolved and represented different point of views and goals. Some forms of feminism have been criticized for only taking white, middle-class, and college-educated perspectives into account. This critique led to the development of ethnically specific or multicultural feminism forms, including black feminism and intersectional feminism. Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into fields of theory or philosophy. It includes research in a variety of fields including anthropology, sociology, economics, women’s studies, literary criticism, art history, psychoanalysis, and philosophy. Feminist philosophy attempts to explain the disparity between men and women and focuses on gender roles, power dynamics, and sexuality. Although opposing these social and political ties, much of the feminist philosophy is often based on supporting the rights and interests of women. Themes discussed in feminist theory include sexism, stereotyping, objectification, inequality, and patriarchy. Elaine Showalter describes the evolution of feminist theory as having three phases in the field of literary critique. The first she calls “feminist criticism,” in which the feminist reader examines literary phenomena the ideologies. The second Showalter calls “gynocriticism” where “the woman is the creator of textual significance.” The last phase she calls “gender theory,” in which she explores the “ideological inscription and the literary effects of the sex/gender system”

French feminists, who developed the concept of feminine writing (which translates as ‘female or feminine writing’), paralleled this in the 1970s. Helene Cixous claims that writing and theory are phallocentric and underlines “writing from the vagina” as a provocative practice together with other French feminists like Luce Irigaray. Julia Kristeva, a feminist psychoanalyst and philosopher, and artist and psychoanalyst Bracha Ettinger have influenced feminist theory in general and feminist literary analysis in particular. But as scholar Elizabeth Wright points out, “None of these French feminists are associated with the feminist movement as it emerged in the English-speaking world.” More recent feminist philosophy has centred on characterizing feminism as a common emancipatory movement, such as that of Lisa Lucile Owens.

Pseudo feminism

There are feminists and then pseudo-feminists come along. Pseudo-feminism suggests that women deserve more respect, or people of other sexes do not deserve respect. Living in a culture where women face many challenges every day is the worst thing is that some people hurt the term feminism. On social media, hardly anyone knows about feminism and they end up being pseudo-feminist. Do pseudo-feminists really want equal treatment? No, they want to create a world governed only by women. Will a woman be getting away with any wrongdoing? Women on social media who identify themselves as feminists want equality and recognition for women they think to deserve it. They’re going to bash a woman if he’s their lesser wife or sister like a politician but they’re going to support a woman bashing that same political leader. Hypocrisy and pseudo-feminism get a melting pot here. 

Feminism is simply about freedom and is not about judgment. People who recognize feminism don’t wear the feminist badge. These are the people who want a good education for their daughter, support their companion if she wants to be working in the field. Some women want to give their husbands food; some women want to take more care of their house and children than work. That is not making them slaves; it is up to them to decide what to do. 

The world is making significant progress in the 21st century. Human beings are putting invention, technology, and science at their place. Humanity’s very definition is undergoing a huge change and this time it’s about equality, gender rights and justice for everyone. The age-old debate between the sexes is still going on and we are still fighting over superiority between men and women and some events and incidents have recently vitiated the atmosphere. I am intrigued by the recent debate and the theme of feminism. Every civil man knows the concept of feminism by all accounts, and he values it wholeheartedly and supports it. This generation is aware of all the issues and is quite adamant about the fact that women are as good if not better than men and we are seeing the change happening right before us. Women were presidents, prime ministers, chief executives all over the world and the glass ceiling was shattered and destroyed.

People like Harvey Weinstein and US President Donald John Trump, who by being in power have behaved like bullies and are responsible for murdering a woman’s soul even when she’s alive, haven’t helped the mighty men’s cause. But there are millions of men around the globe who are respected, looked up to, and believe in justice and equality for every Weinstein and Trump. Just because men don’t scream and shout about the #MeToo campaign from the rooftop doesn’t mean they’re perverted or evil people. Humanity is still alive and many humble men will die protecting a woman’s honour and will always stand up for genuine causes and suffrage for women. We live in times when male-bashing has become a norm, and we are generalizing every man as some kind of animal that pounces and destroys the dignity of the woman. We all know our culture isn’t perfect and equal, and it’s always been skewed in favour of the other sex, so it’s time to dig in and make the required improvements.

Difference between feminism and pseudo feminism

A feminist might be a man, woman, or anyone who believes sex should not be a factor in deciding what women’s rights are. It is a concept that strives for gender equality; it seeks to make it so that women are given the same education, the same platform, and the same opportunities that a man has in his life. Also, it aims at eliminating the stereotyping of women who have been prevalent for ages. Women should not be forced to leave school early and marry, or do housework, or fit in more traditional roles. I think a lot of us are feminists without even realizing that. Pseudo-feminism is a term sometimes assigned to a branch of feminism with which some don’t agree. Very frequently, the definition of feminism is incorrect and cruel. As they claim, a few bad eggs ruin the pot, and people will sometimes use pseudo-feminist reasons to point out non-existent inconsistencies in the very idea of feminism. Supporting an idea and propagating it is one thing but spreading hatred and discord meaninglessly in its name would only destroy all the good that was done before in the name of that idea.

Pseudo-feminists are also labelled on the Internet as “feminazis” by keyboard warriors, they are individuals who do not completely grasp the definition of feminism and who try to find signs of injustice and violence even though there is none. Pseudo-feminists have managed to mutilate the definition of feminism from what it is to a brand of man-hate, seeking any opportunity to seek vengeance rather than equality. While they are biased in promoting their own cause, community, or sex, feminists seek equality rather than superiority. While spotting a pseudo-feminist or someone who doesn’t fully understand the concept of feminism isn’t extremely rare, it’s not common. All in all, we need to mature to the concept of gender equality and give women the opportunities they deserve, but what we don’t need is people spreading hate and unrest in the name of feminism. Therefore, we can say that Incomplete interpretation of a concept is a risky thing and in many ways, we have seen this, not just feminism. Half-knowledge is more dangerous than the very ignorance. Not every man out there is a rapist, stalking or staring at a woman out there. Feminism is a form of equal treatment; pseudo-feminism is a form of chauvinism. There is no benchmarking and no contest.

Conclusion

Feminism is a philosophy embraced by all logical and educated people around the world, but it is not a fair playing field when women in the garb of feminism target men and engage in the assassination of character. Throughout Indian culture many goddesses and in times of trouble we pray and look up to them. The ones who spread pseudo-feminism do more harm than good. Some people are always going to rise and stand up to champion women’s rights and women have to accept that to change society. Second, they have to understand that men are not bad and that the world has a small number of good people as well.

Feminism is a birthright and no one can take women away. A pseudofeminist desire is to create a world regime by only women who want to be treated equally as a feminist and want respect like any other human being. Many of the pseudo-feminists say men can’t be feminist but you know who is a feminist, a man, or a woman or a trans who believes in women’s equality. A Feminist is a father who treats his daughter and son fairly. A feminist is a husband who respects his wife to make her choices without imposing his choices/opinions on her. A transgendered woman who like any other human being wants equal treatment and respect is a feminist in a way.

Pseudo Feminism relates to women’s supremacy and men’s hatred. It’s not about equality, but revenge for the atrocities and the predominance and abuse that women face at the hands of society. But the most troubling fact is about how these pseudofeminists scout defects in all men do, finding ways to make them look bad, depicting them as suspects if nothing works for them or according to their choices, then playing the victim card and the outcome of this, is the same as that of Rahul’s suicide. Moreover, half-baked knowledge is worse than ignorance, so it is best to explain all the evidence before marking people with terms like a pervert so that all the hard work that has been done for decades to empower women so equality will not be destroyed.

References

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