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Can Men Be Feminists? Yes Please.

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According to the internet and common definition Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women. And today, you might find many people (especially girls and women) around you wearing “This is what a feminist looks like” t-shirts.

But the question is that how many of you actually BELIEVE in feminism. Do people just talk about it or discuss it just for the sake of fitting in this age of growing feminism or do they put their thoughts and said opinions into practice? But I guess this question is yet to be answered.

Not only other people, we girls are often faced with numerous questions daily that make us question and doubt our interest and opinions about feminism. Pause for a minute and honestly think if you are faced with the following questions in your life:

  • Ever felt ashamed or scared to cry in front of your friends or other people because of the fear of being tagged as oversensitive or too sentimental?
  • Have you ever felt too conscious about your weight or physique because you feared what others would think or say about you? Or have you ever felt insecure because your body isn’t strong enough, slim enough or “good enough”?
  • Hesitated to let out your emotions or open up to people because it’s just too “gay” or “girly” to do that?
  • Forced or suppressed to “act” gently just because you are a girl or a woman and you are expected to do so by the society?
  • Hesitated to talk about issues related to women and feminism because you’re a tomboy and hence, feminism is ‘not your thing’?

If you’ve ever been faced with any one or more of the above questions then yes, you need to rethink about your inclination towards feminism.

Since most of us are faced with these issues, we all need feminism; this world needs a hell lot of feminism. And yes, MEN ALSO DO NEED FEMINISM.

Why is a girl always expected to behave in a certain way or why does this belief of the man being the soul bread winner of the family still exist in some parts of the world? Who made these rules and why?

A man shouldn’t need to favour feminism because he thinks its his ‘moral’ duty towards women to do so or because he needs to save women; rather he should do it because he wants to and because he strongly believes in sharing his responsibilities towards his family or society with other women. The positive part is that now many people, including men are opening up about their views on equal rights for women and are supporting the female population but on the other hand its sad to see that a major fraction of our society is still dominated by the orthodox view about restraining women to certain ideals and rules of the society.

One of the recent topics of controversy was the documentary film ‘India’s Daughter’ written and directed by Leslee Udwin based on the December 16, 2012 Delhi gangrape in which one of the convicted rapists Mukesh Singh who is currently under life imprisonment was interviewed. According to him (and I’m sure other utterly senseless and heartless rapists) if the victim would have not fought back and allowed the rape then they would have probably just left her after ‘doing her’ and instead they would have hit her male companion. This line makes me shudder with disgust and compells me to doubt if our society will ever move forward with time and give women the importance and rights they deserve. But then, this is not the only type of men left in this world. It gives immense relief to even hear about men who actually do give their female counterparts the desired importance, be it in marriage or their working environment or in general.

Certain cases of men working from home and helping their wives with the daily chores as well as in taking care of their children proves that men are broadening their horizon gradually, but its just a slow process and will take time to develop.

One live example that I have personally seen of a male feminist is my own dad who never stopped my mother from pursuing her desire to work after marriage and neither did he ever show any hesitation when she was required to leave the city for various workshops. Similarly, I as girl was never forced to choose any course for my higher studies. At an age where other parents strongly opposed the idea of sending their daughters away from home to study in a college, mine didn’t question my decisions regarding moving to a metro city for four years. It’s a matter of honour and pride to be brought up in a household where both the man and the wife are the bread winners of the family and believe in equally dividing their share of work.

I personally think that its better to have a man show feminism in his behavior than talk and write about it on the internet because everyday a million issues are discussed and debated on but very few are actually looked through and taken actions on.

Be a man not by dominating or dictating women or overpowering them with your physical strength but be one by treating them as your equal, because men will be free only when women are. And ‘Feminist’ is not just a tag, it’s a belief, a way of life. A man CAN be a feminist, if he wants to.

 

sampada rawat

Undergrad student of Fashion Technology at NIFT, Mumbai. Still trying to figure out life in a world of fashion. I write to reach out to the world and communicate what i can. You may follow me on Facebook and Google+

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