I am an Incorrigible Feminist. When will you become one?


Why I am an Incorrigible Feminist

I have always been someone who did her own thing. And I never cared for what is supposed to be done. That’s pretty much the point of feminism – women should be able to lead their lives the way they want to and not be judged for it.

So if I lead a life that’s already fine, why do I advocate Feminism?

Because what I see and hear and read, makes me cringe. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am sensitive. My sensitivity makes me want to right every wrong that happens to me and around the world. It makes me want fairness everywhere and all the time. I support LGBTQ rights. I don’t believe in the caste system. I don’t judge a person for their beliefs and customs until they try and push it down other people’s throats.

Since I am a Feminist, my world will only make sense when everyone in it is a Feminist. Because that's when we will treat everyone as equal.

If you think that I am wearing rose-tinted glasses…you are either a Tired Feminist or a Sexist. I truly believe that people either believe in equality or they don't. Those who do and have given up because they don't see things changing are the one's I call Tired Feminists. As an Incorrigible Feminist, I hope to motivate the Tired Feminist. But pushing my beliefs on a Sexist is against my belief. It's only when we have more conversations will things change for the better.

Here is an example of me raising my voice and how it resulted into an important conversation:

I recently viewed a video online on the Film Companion YouTube Channel where Anupama Chopra interviewed newbies Ishaan Khattar and Malavika Mohanan as a part of their promotions for the Majid Majidi movie – Beyond the clouds.

Now I felt that there was gender inequality at play when I viewed the video. So what did I do? I wrote a comment making a suggestion for a small step towards Gender Equality. You can view the video and read the comment here. I have also attached a screenshot of the comments I received. I was very polite. But I received comment after comment as to how impractical my request was. Then a male feminist (Nilanjan Dey) entered the conversation and wrote a rather large comment agreeing with me. Suddenly the tone of the conversation changed. As I write this, people are still replying to my comment.


I have learnt 2 important things from this experience of mine:

1) We need to have more of these conversations on public platforms.

2) Sexist men will prefer to have the feminism conversation with a male feminist

It is important to understand a sexist's journey

As a Feminist, I take a stand against what I see as injustice. Just as I have had my own journey that has led me to here, a sexist has his/ her own journey. (Yes, women can also be sexists.) Have you ever said ‘Be a man!’ or ‘Career girls don’t make good wives?’ Then you are a sexist. Read here to know some more sexist things we say all the time.

But maybe you are a sexist because you don’t know any better. You may have been brought up to behave a certain way and to believe certain things. Maybe you are so comfortable with gender norms that you have lost your ability to empathize with women's issues. Maybe you just don’t know how it feels to be in a woman’s shoes. 

When you watch this documentary by Quint- 'Rape is Consensual: Inside Haryana's Rape Culture', you realize the extent of sexism prevalent in Haryana. I don't know what it would take, I must confess, to change the minds of such a large section of people. But I hope and pray people come together and really try to make a positive change in this direction.

The importance of reaching the middle ground before the final goal

The path to gender equality is a long one and we have to reach the goal together. Women can't reach the destination by themselves. In a world where men and women have to live together, the only way out is through compassion and conversation. 

To all those who have been told that 'There is a reason why things are the way they are and don't question it', I have a request. I came across a short web-series of 4 episodes of around 15 minutes each – ‘Man’s world’ that could change your mind. Here is the link to the first episode. It would be great if you invested around one hour to view the videos. If you still think like the protagonist ‘Pavan’ in the beginning of Episode 1 (i.e. that women are privileged, they crib too much and that marital rape is ok) let’s discuss. In case you agree with what ‘Kiran’ says at the end of the 4th Episode, then you are a #FeministHero and I definitely want to interact with you.

I agree with Kiran. I believe that it isn’t a Man Vs. Women War. It isn’t about rules. It’s about ‘Give Respect and Get Respect’. It is about ‘Live and Let live’. I believe that things will only improve when men and women talk more and understand each other’s perspectives. Hopefully we see each other’s point of view and take a step closer to gender equality.

My husband supports me in every decision I take. Because he likes seeing me happy. And I am happy when I talk about my idealistic philosophies. So…he listens to me when I speak to him about Feminism. But there is a rule… only 1 conversation per day on Feminism. He says it becomes too “heavy” beyond that. I abide by that rule. Because it’s important that we talk. He also calls my bluff when I ask him to do something that I very well can do for myself. And points out when my ranting requires some toning down. 

I am an Incorrigible Feminist. I will speak my mind. But I will also listen to you. I will do my bit to make a small change in the world. Will you?




Comments

  1. Anonymous12:10 am

    I am an incorrigible feminist too. And a proud one at that, wear it as a badge of honour. It's bizzare that I was watching haryana video few minutes ago.( I guess the one mentioned in ur post). Priya from priyreflects

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  2. I really liked your comment on Film Companion's channel. I am a feminist too, and I agree with all the points that you have mentioned. Even I wonder when people will understand the importance of equality. I wonder why so many women around me are not feminists.

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  3. Great post Ashwini. Glad you held your ground after people trolled you.I wonder if Film companion responded. Good to know an incorrigible feminist. And will definitely watch the websites. Looks intriguing.

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  4. I am a feminist and as I say an unapologetic one- feminism is a misconstrued term. I dont think talking about it in each and every platform like the interview part you did is going to make a big difference. Again my opinion here and there is no right or wrong. rather to bring about a change in the mindset of people- get more women on board by trying to change their mindset and thats when we use feminism as an enabler not make it sound like a sore thumb- and promote inclusivity. Thats key and thats when we falter.
    Here is my post on AtoZ , a fictional tale of a girl growing up in urban India https://akswrites.com/2018/04/10/i-am-a-big-girl-out-in-the-big-bad-world-atozchallenge-blogchattera2z/

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  5. Feminism should not remain just a fashionable thing. Advantaged women need to come out of their cocoons and do something to empower the less fortunate. By the way, men too can be feminists.

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  6. Fabulous post! I am and support all feminists, incorrigible or otherwise. There are many quiet feminists out there too.

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  7. A hard hitting post. I am a quiet feminist. Unless provoked I don't believe in speaking to sexist people. Such a waste of time. Better to work on next gen to make them better individuals.

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  8. Hi Priya. Good to know that our ideologies match. Thanks for your regular support.

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  9. Hi Purba. I think a lot of people feel comfortable saying they are in favour of gender equality. Somewhere I feel Feminism has got a bad name. I have written about that topic extensively in this post that has been featured on popular Women's Forum - Women's Web: http://www.womensweb.in/2018/04/feminist-heroes-open-letter-inviting-men-join-feminist-movement-apr18wk2/

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  10. Hi Meha. Thanks for your comment. I am also hoping FC takes some sort of step as a consequence of the conversation.

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  11. Hi Akshata. Respect your opinions. I don't know whether my approach is right or wrong but I believe in it. Being the way I am I can't stop myself from speaking up. What's important is that you and I both walk on our paths to feminism. :)

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  12. Hi Durga Prasad Dash. Thank you for visiting my blog and your comments. I truly wish to know more about the male perspective on Feminism.

    I actually agree with everything you said. Feminism is a serious movement and not a trend. Privileges must be used to empower the less privileged. I definitely think that there are feminist men. I have mentioned this is many posts. I wish they are more vocal in their support like Mr Nilanjan Dey I referred to in my post.

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  13. Thanks Kalpana for your comment and support.

    Incorrigible means to not change your behaviour. So whatever your means - written word or videos, whatever your attitude- quiet or vocal, whatever your approach - angry or funny, we must all pursue relentlessly the ultimate goal of equality of rights irrespective of gender.

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  14. Hello Meena. I understand where you are coming from. I absolutely agree that we must ensure that the coming generation is progressive. But my sense is that just as a feminist of today's generation will pass on feminist values to their kids, today's sexists will pass on their rigid thoughts to theirs. Won't we be back to square one?

    I said in the post that if you are not an incorrigible feminist, either you are a sexist or a tired feminist. I sense that you are usually quiet, because you tried and failed to make a sexist see a point of view. That's why it is a waste of your time.

    But they exist. And as long as they exist in important positions, we will never truly achieve Feminism.

    And I dropped a comment to Anupama Chopra because having heard her views in previous interviews, I thought I was reaching out to another Feminist. I honestly didn't expect to have a conversation with other people (naive of me I know). Definitely didn't think that it would go the way it did. It could have gone terribly wrong. But will I still stick my neck out the next time I come across something so blatantly unequal? Yes. That's why I am an Incorrigible Feminist. I may have thought up the term a week back. But I've always been this way. :)

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  15. Yes, I'll definitely do my part. I'll consider myself blessed if I can contribute to make an impact, a change, however small it may be. I really appreciate the way you are fighting for the cause. I'm there with you in this journey.

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  16. Rashmi you just made my day! Big big hug for your lovely thoughts. Anything is possible when we work together.

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  17. Great going Ashwini ... admire you for speaking up.

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  18. Thanks Seema for the read and the support. :)

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