Shruti Bhadra: Why I’m not a feminist

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When a close friend lost her virginity to her long time boyfriend, I felt she lost her mental peace along with it. It became intolerable. She became incredibly insecure about their relationship, was worried about being abandoned and would constantly ask, ‘Who would marry me?’. I’ve seen many women asking that question, every time they faced a dilemma, of whether to continue in a relationship or not. I remember living with another girl, who cried for a straight week after her break up. One day for her boyfriend and the next six days over her ruined marital prospects...

I realised then, that rules of the society, despite being quite advanced in many areas, are still different for men and women, in certain cases. I also noticed something more eerie – the only people who worried over, or even were concerned about, the ‘rules’, were women themselves. They concluded that they were victims of the circumstance, based on some skewed up probabilistic logic. I remember my school days, where some girls would complain about boys, simply for looking at them. Apparently they felt ‘uncomfortable’.

The guys never did anything. They didn’t even stare, but the girls felt uncomfortable because they did. It was always a mess.

 Well why talk about the others or the past; Even I, feel uncomfortable in today’s modern era, when I am the only lady in my workplace, and need to work in a situation where only men are surrounding me. Frankly, I don’t want to. I have been told that a man would not feel uncomfortable with only women around him. I want to feel empowered as he does. I don’t want to be a victim of my thoughts. Caution is needed, but without a crippling fear factor surrounding it. I don’t want to be scared and I don’t want any one else to be scared. Caution coupled with bravery, is what I seek for everyone woman, myself included.

I’m a vocal critic of feminism, not because I’m sexist or think women should be at the feet of men, but because I want to do away with that victim mentality and culture, that is propagated in today’s world, in the name of feminism. We teach young girls about sexism and blame our personal failures on it. We teach our girls, that the world is full of people, who don’t want women to be wherever she wishes to be. I know there are sexist people out there, but that’s not everyone and everything is sexist. So, I strongly feel that the most horrible thing we can do is to teach a girl that she will be kicked and thrown off her road to success, no matter how hard she tries.

I remember coming across a quote that said,  ‘A  crowd of women surrounding a lone man cannot make him uncomfortable but vice versa will definitely make a woman uncomfortable – that is why we need feminism and that is why men need to change’. That’s a lame argument. My discomfort has nothing to do with them. Those men surrounding me are not rapists. They are just humans like me, struggling to make ends meet and working hard for the same.

The change we need to bring about, hence, is to begin within ourselves. We first must learn to sit with confidence and not wonder if the man standing next to us would assault us. The secret is to stay immune to presumptions and not to fear something that doesn’t exist. That doesn’t mean we should throw all caution to winds, become gullible damsels in distress, waiting for a prince to come and rescue us. We should stay strong, self reliant, cautious and yet brave enough to stop blaming men for our fears.

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