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Friday, April 20, 2007

My Take on being a Feminist

Apu started the tag and here it is.

I have never really fathomed why this big deal about feminism and being a feminist.
I do not think we need a separate movement or a war or a symbol or an act like burning a piece of clothing to depict feminism.
To me, feminism is a woman being herself. A woman taking pride in the fact that she is a woman who has been created because God could not be present everywhere.
And as the joke goes- God made man and he was pleased. He then stood back and said, I can do better. And then he made woman.

All of us will have incidents of feminist glory to our name. And in the face of the heavily protest led feminist movement, we do not even realize that we are all feminists in our own way.

Foremost, it is important to be comfortable with oneself- a woman is a feminist when she says that she is happy that she is born as a woman, and she accepts herself, warts, facial hair, labour pains and all.

A girl who insists that she will be the bats(wo)man in the boys team because she is bored of standing in the corner and fielding, is a feminist. The act of defying the norm is not feminism but doing it because she wants to do it despite the norms, is feminism.

A girl who can walk across a group of boys without checking 100 times whether her strap is showing or wondering whether her skirt is too short, or the blouse too transparent, is a feminist not because she is being shameless but because she is comfortable with her body. I have seen girls who refused to drink water in school if there were boys gathered at the water taps. And I have seen girls who say, Come off it, have it? flaunt it!

When a woman’s self confidence is very high she never gets affected with what others are saying or whether some men are sharing jokes at her expense. After all, don’t we as woman take digs at men and bitch about them among ourselves? Then why are we so conscious if men are doing it?

Theoretically, a man can never be sure whether the child is his, but a woman is 100% sure that the child is hers. That, to me, is the ultimate power of being a woman.

A feminist is not ashamed that she loves the stereotypical girlie things like shopping, shoes, clothes, jewelry, gossiping, cosmetics, mahila mandli etc. Albeit she loves being labeled as the typical woman. I would not like to be called a typical man; you know what that would make me.

Being a feminist is realizing that being a woman gave me the power of choice in situations mundane to critical –
choose what to wear from various shades of colours and various types of outfit, unparalleled by the stereotypical palette which a man can choose from
choose how to run my household
choose whether I want to have a career or stay at home
choose partly how I want my child to come to this world and who can witness it (it is largely decided by the baby)
choose how my child will be brought up
well, the list has just begun…

It is a feminist who can choose to put double digit weight in 9 months, carry it all along, get marred by stretch marks on her otherwise flawless skin and turn the washboard stomach to a sagging belly and love doing all of it.

It is feminist to revel in the glory of being the only one who can nurture- she is the one who experiences the joys of being a mother, she is the one who can feed her child and bond in those exclusive moments and she is the one who after all this can wake up and say, yes I want to do it again.

Feminism is to be bold and bashfully add splashes of colour to the dull blues and grays in corporate world.

The attitude of a feminist towards a particular chore is different. When she does a chore, it is because she knows she is good rather better at it not because she is supposed to do it. And when she does not have the ability to do something, she doesn’t mind it being delegated without getting her ego hurt.

Being a feminist is not turning a hair when the husband brings in unannounced guests for dinner. Rather, confidently assuring that the job will be done. It is not un-feminist to be responsible for the kitchen. Rather I find the attitude of being perfect and confident extremely feminist. Well someone has to do the cooking, and since I can do a better job, why not me?

As far as I am concerned, if my car needs to be serviced, my hubby will get it done for me not because I am uncomfortable going to the workshop and not because I find it unladylike but because I know my hubby will do a better job.

A feminist knows that she is not the weaker sex but the better half.

It is not about- “Woman without her man is incomplete” but, “Woman! Without her, man is incomplete. ”


Jyoti said...

the strength of ur feminity is reflected indeed! great article!!

Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Great ! Am adding this. Love the confidence that you mentioned - it would be so great if all women were brought up to feel this.

I respectfully disagree with some of your points though - what men and women are good at, I believe reflects conditioning and social approval as much as innate strengths.

Itchingtowrite said...

jyoti- welcome & thanks
apu- thanks for linking it.. and i
do tend to agree with you on the social conditioning as being one of the factors of the mental make up.. as a girl I was expected to learn to cook though not necessarily cook for the family but equally my brother used to make tea and do minor cooking for himself. And many men also do a lot of cooking when they live as bachelors- my father an example right in front of me. My mom never made us cook for the family becoz (a) we are busy studying and we need to focus on that (b) she is quicker & more expert so she preferred to do it herself.
In my colony every woman claims that she does the dusting etc, but in my family, i have seen my Dad take charge of the major dusting and also K does a monthly cleaning himself in our house and I am the odd-job-boy there as i am really bad at cleaning up...
and we all know how art is the one who takes charge of all the work in her house where "sir" is the one who is on demand - becoz she is a better manager as far as such jobs are concerned
ultimately a family divides the chore as per convenience and depending on who is good at it and off course how we are conditioned in our mindset...

Usha said...

Interesting read. Basically you are saying that every woman who lives her life according to her rules is a feminist.And feminism is also about not being ashamed or afraid to be "feminine".

But the big deal about feminism and feminist movement is that it is because of their activism that yu and me can be passive feminists and do the kind of things that were not possible just some years ago.

Hip Grandma said...

'A feminist knows that she is not the weaker sex but the better half.'
These words say it all.Nice post

'Well someone has to do the cooking, and since I can do a better job, why not me?'

i don't completely agree.If a work is done over and over again it can be improved upon.Men shud be allowed to keep the house and cook more for their own sake.Your generation may be okay.But I have friends whose husbands can't make the bed let alone cook.I always argue that it is not their fault but the fault of he female members of the house who make them dependant.

Alan said...

Good post. I did the feminist response on Art's blog, so will skip it in this comment.

My wife and I have both lived on our own and so are equally adept at handling any of the household chores. If something needs to be done, one of us simply does it (no asking or telling the other). However, I let her do most all the cooking as she is way better at it and enjoys it more. I'm much happier just being the clean-up crew.

No problem with women taking digs at men, as we probably provide a lot of fodder. Seen plenty of female comedians do their "make fun of guys schtick". Often pretty funny stuff and I'm never shocked and appalled or offended.

People that are confident and can take care of themselves usually take a joke well without flying off the handle. Often in a conversation with friends, if an opportunity arises, I'll set myself up for a punch line just for the sake of humor.

My wife has been known to tell a blonde joke now and then. (She's not a brunette or a redhead.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some vehicle maintenance to do.

Amandeep Singh said...

Frankly speakin..i may regret saying this..But Blive me this made me feel - I would love to be a female like that!

Beautiful..and vry impactful...Try reading this to a crownd of men and I bet thats what they ll say..

Loved it!

By Deepa and Supriya said...

Good read and i agree with usha....we can all relax because somebody coined this word and others took it seriously!

Artnavy said...

very well put- daily instances of us loving being a woman

maybe femina ads can take some cues from here

and BTW thanks for the mention in the comments:-)

It also comes from my being a conrol freak!! working on that one....

rebel said...

Well written.. I totally agree that feminism is being comfortable with yourself rather than the whol bra-burning thingy!

Why would you want to show your strength by probably smoking a cigerette and wearing slacks, when in reality you love pink!

How do we know said...

I'm loving it!

Smi said...

//A girl who can walk across a group of boys without checking 100 times whether her strap is showing or wondering whether her skirt is too short, or the blouse too transparent, is a feminist

Well said! Feminism starts with being comfortable with oneself about being a woman.