Why Feminism is Such a Misunderstood Concept

People I know are of the opinion that I go overboard with my views on feminism. Women today are privy to all the fundamental rights and can also engage in fields that were previously male-dominated. If this is a practiced scenario around the globe for a good number of countries, then what are women fighting for? Is it a means to seek attention? Or is it just the “inherent flair” for the dramatics that women hold? These are some of the counter-arguments posed by society about the inequality between the sexes. The irony here is apparent, yet goes unnoticed, or rather, ignored deliberately.

Notions of Feminism 

The talk of the town is that women have always been respected. Women are birth-givers, they grow life in them and feed the children with love and spirit to guide them into strong, independent individuals. Society considers this a mighty task. In lieu of a passionate bread-winning job, women can take up raising children and managing households, because that is a game women play better than men. Women thrive in domestic labor. This is the way of nature. Disrespecting the law of nature means displeasing or demeaning the power and beauty of nature, which makes women lose their beauty and purpose.

Is this what feminism is about? Just about respecting women? The problem here is choice (or the lack thereof) in the speech above. The defense of the speech above lets the world know about the purpose of women as supposedly dictated by nature at the beginning of time. This notion is essentially a leash used to deprive women of free will and control introduced many centuries ago, yet practiced today under the illusion of it being the law of nature.

The above statement is the reason I am asked to take my argument down a few notches, in the interest of respecting adults. However, what people fail to see is that the notch scale has been broken for a good long time now. The way men and women are shown this world is tangentially different, and men often fail to see the world through a woman’s eye. Women, too, believe that the above statement stays true because that’s the way of nature. Moreover, it is what has been taught and practiced in our society. 

A brief history of feminism and the role of women in society might help prove that gender inequality is man-made and not a law of nature.

History of Feminism in the East 

women's rights in the east

Feminism, as defined, is a social, economic and political equality of the sexes. The core element remains equality and the opportunity of choice for women. That is, the ability to make decisions with free will and virtue regardless of their race, religion, gender identification, sexual preference, or any other personal identity.

Feminism is not, as a large part of society believes it to be, the supremacy of women over men. Women around the world believe and have become a part of this movement to rise among the ranks by merit. And yet, as independent entities, feminists are branded controversial today. For centuries, women have been confined to the four domestic walls. However, in the early days of the world, ‘the law of nature’ remained relatively unbiased. Societies were balanced and believed in egalitarianism. 

Equality in the Early Vedic Period of India 

Women in the Early Vedic Period (circa 1500-800 BCE, current day Indian Subcontinent) shared the same social status as men. They had access to a standard education and were privy to social and religious traditions. Women of the warrior clan were taught martial arts and could defend the territory during times of war. They were considered free-willed, independent thinkers rather than beings created for a man’s purpose. Polyandry was prevalent and so was the right for a widow to remarry. Women could choose their husbands through the process of swayamvara or could participate in a consensual physical relationship called Gandarava vivaha. 

Women who enjoyed both their autonomy and their role as wives were considered to be ardhangini (better half) and sahadharmini (equal partner). They could inherit property under their own name rather than the husband’s name. Women essentially had the same rights as men across all domains – social, domestic and political. Ancient scriptures talk about equality and feminine power, yet the eras succeeding the Vedic period regressed further over the centuries. 

diversity of women in india

Equality in ancient Egypt 

Feminism as a cultural movement that is widespread today, is said to have its roots planted in Egypt. Ancient Egyptian women sat on the same influential seat as a man, but this was constricted by social status. Upper class privileged women could own property, marry and separate freely, establish a work life and even become a Pharaoh. 

A representation of a female pharaoh. Bronze skinned, heavy headgear and adorned with makeup
Although the infamous glass ceiling ensured that the vast majority of Egypt’s Pharaohs were men, there are several exceptions in Egyptian history. Credits: stepfeed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women were esteemed and credited for their contributions to shaping human civilization. This is true, especially in the oriental countries and Eastern Europe. During that age, the East was far more progressive and ahead of its time compared to the western civilizations, by almost a millennium. Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra are examples of powerful rulers of the time.

However, the world was not completely impartial in those days either. A man always did have more sentient privileges than a woman, and although a woman did have her freedom, they were restricted to social customs and limitations to the extent to which she could re-imagine her life. There were social norms that are considered sexist and patriarchal in today’s day and age. However, considering women were matriarchs in a man’s world. The law of nature, as it is supposed, was balanced 

The status of women around the world, which was placed and thought of highly, came to a standstill as cultures grew and developed immensely. Women who were once regarded as divine, were now mere objects of labor and sex. Every civilization has examples of free-thinking women who have changed the face of civilization, only resulting in their oppression and social imprisonment. The social construct of gender bias or gender roles took predominance and women were pushed to the bottom barrel of the social hierarchy. 

Feminism today 

the colourful array of women across the world
International Womens Day. Vector seamless pattern with with women different nationalities and cultures. Struggle for freedom, independence, equality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feminism is often construed by some as a movement created to place women above all on a social scale, to make women more superior than everything else that walks on this planet. To some others, feminism equals respect, a non-abusive environment and yet, having some societal and familial constrictions on women. In other words, “not allowing women to get out of hand, as they have the potential to disrupt society”. Despite the numerous clarifications made about the term ‘ feminism’, people choose to ignore the meaning and call it a means to seek attention, subscribe to sexist jokes and blame women for having a dead sense of humor.

feminsm is for everyone irrespective of any social identity

Another common phrase that is used carelessly is “showing women their place in the world”. Despite living in the 2020’s, it is still used as a threat and objectification. The phrase is used as an excuse to rape, to dishonor and humiliate them. This is an explicit way to undermine their right to freedom on this planet and their right to live and experience life. Simply, by exerting a certain pseudo-authoritarian power over another person, it kills the purpose of being a human for both individuals.  

The people who tell me my thoughts about feminism are extreme, also ignore and deny the need for feminism today. “In this century, where women have risen to power on their own virtue, they no longer need to fight for their place in the world.” This is a very casual dialogue between most of the GenX and the preceding generations. 

The need for feminism today leans towards obscure inequalities. A large majority of the population either denies the need for feminism as men and women have equal rights or simply dismiss the need by assuming or establishing that women do not work as hard as men. Or that men and women are biologically different and cannot be compared. These premises that demean and negate the privilege a woman is entitled to, are countered by the feminist movement.  

Inequalities in the workplace 

One of the biggest and highly controversial aspects women are still fighting for is inequalities in the workplace. Wage gap, maternity leaves, representations and credits; and legal rights. The biggest, apart from the afore mentioned subjects, is harassment in the workplace. Women in the US make 85% of what their male colleagues make, according to The World Economic Forum. And women in India earn about 19% less than men. It’s an even grimmer picture on average. Women worldwide make 77 percent of the amount paid to men, according to a report from the United Nation’s International Labor Organization. In other words, women have to work more or less an extra 40 days to narrow the wage gap. 

Everyday (causal) sexism 

Sexism means perceiving and judging people only on the basis of their belonging to a particular sex or gender. Discrimination falls under the same category as well. Although sexism is inclusive of both men and women, the likeliness of women being affected is significantly higher. Incidents such as objectifying women and their bodies, questioning a woman’s interest in (considered) traditional male activities (example, sports) and assigning women easier tasks fall under the heading of causal sexism. Commenting on the clothing choices of a woman, cracking silly jokes and most importantly, recognizing the identity of a woman by a related male are no different. 

Domestic violence

Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic that affects one in every three women across their lifetime. An estimated 736 million women become victims of intimate partner violence, or non-partner sexual violence, or both, at least once in their life.

Domestic violence or intimate partner violence, is a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions. Also, threats of actions that influence another person to bend to the abuser’s will. It is considered abuse within a range of relationships, including couples who are married, living together or dating. Domestic violence affects women of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. 

Despite living well into the 21st century, abuse as a statistic keeps fluctuating, rather than ceasing to exist. Over 2,300 domestic violence complaints were filed with the National Commission for Women in India between January and May in 2021. Which happens to be the highest since the year 2000. The worst part is that over 70% of women in the major states are believed to have not complained to the right authority, or even any authority

Harassment 

In another survey, 9 in 10 women reported being subjects of harassment. Harassment in the form of cat calling or whistling, deliberately rubbing against a woman, groping women on public transport, sending and taking unsolicited photos, and much more. In fact, this is a survey you can conduct yourself by asking women around you. 

Conclusion 

Whether embracing a domestic household, or a workspace, women are bound by obligations to everybody but themselves. It could be reducing to a job where a woman could be overqualified, or be susceptible to abuse and marital rape. In any case, there is the exploitation of women happening around the world, across all spheres. 

Is the notion of feminism difficult to swallow for the ones living on this planet? The world is threatened by the concept of equal rights for all humans, irrespective of any personal identity. Choice is a concept humans seem to have trouble digesting. Every choice a woman makes for her wellbeing is criticized and even taken up to the authorities for a screening.  

The problem lies in the roots. Upbringing children who feel entitled to everything on the planet is the issue. Not teaching children boundaries, respect, and humane behavior is the problem. The appalling lack of sex education and life skills is the problem. The lack of awareness and deliberate ignorance is the ultimate problem. 

On the bright side, more people every day are gaining awareness and are working toward social causes. Although as we go one step forward and two steps back at the same time, we’re inching forward with every fight, every ‘no’ and every pushback. The world truly becomes a better place as everyone begins to stand up for who they are. 

3 thoughts on “Why Feminism is Such a Misunderstood Concept

  1. I totally agree with you, The Feminist movement is flawed and women, and its not address the real issues fight for equality is not the fight, the fight is for women to be seen beyond their sexual orientation. After all we are human two. We deserve to exist.

  2. Bardzo dobry pogląd na feminizm, walka kobiet ze zmianą ich postrzegania zawsze będziemy inne niż faceci, wolnym można być zawsze zależy od nas samych

  3. Talet i staden har fler röster än så. 😉

    Ja det stämmer att kvinnor respekteras för sina kvinnliga egenskaper, men biologins premisser kan inte helt bortses ifrån. Det är ingen illusion att endast kvinnor har förmågan att föda barn oavsett vad regeringen säger. Kvinnans biologi är anpassad och optimerad för exakt detta ändamål och det har ofrånkomligen satt sina spår i hennes kropp och sinne.

    Argumentet är förstås inte att kvinnans plats är mellan hemmets fyra väggar, med en stekpanna i den ena handen, en golvmopp i den andra och foten fastkedjad vid spisen.

    Jag tror det sakliga argumentet snarare är något i stil med att om man generaliserar kön utifrån en normalfördelningskurva, så är det precentuellt sett färre kvinnor som befinner sig inom den yttre avvikelsen, det vill säga individer som passar att prestera inom yrkeskategorier med extrema påfrestningar, som exempelvis polis och brandman bara för att ta något exempel.

    Nuförtiden talas det mycket om damfotboll och dess framgång, men damsport har blivit en arena för politisk aktivism och media säger inte ens damfotboll längre. Poängen är inte att damfotboll skulle vara dåligt eller tråkigt, men prestationsmässigt sägs ett damlandslag matcha ett pojklag i femton eller sextonårsåldern, minns inte vilket, baserat på faktiska resultat i matcher som har spelats.

    Det verkliga problemet är att man på ett eller annat sätt sänker kraven för kvinnor och kvoterar in kvinnor inom olika yrken för att skapa “jämställdhet” och det får direkt negativa konsekvenser för säkerheten i samhället. Det skapar även en oförtjänt misstro mot kvinnors faktiska kompetens.

    Nu finns det såklart undantag som bekräftar regeln och kvinnor som är starkare, smartare eller presterar bättre än många män, men dessa är förhållandevis få i alla fall i meningen att de aldrig utgör någon jämförelsevis numerär jämställdhet och det är en skillnad som inte kan tillskrivas normer.

    Önkvärda egenskaper varierar förstås och det kan vara komplext där “kvinnliga” egenskaper kan premieras, men förr eller senare blir en brandman tvungen att bära ut en fullvuxen man ur ett brinnande hus och en polis kommer att ställas mot en aggressiv yrkeskriminell.

    Argumentet att kvinnor är respekterade och har samma möjligheter så “vad kämpar då kvinnor för”.

    Formuleringen är felställd. Kvinnor likställs med feminister som om det vore en självklarhet. Trots att kvinnor är ett kön och feminism är en ideologi eller rörelse. Det är inte riktigt samma sak. Det må så vara att rörelsen består av en övervägande majoritet kvinnor och fokuserar uteslutande på kvinnors rättigheter, som en slags fackförening för kvinnor. Men det betyder inte att rörelsen kan eller har ensamrätt på att representera kvinnor. Eller att en övervägande majoritet av kvinnor är feminister, i meningen att kvinnor stödjer ideologin eller rörelsens praktik som en samling zombies bara för att de är kvinnor.

    Det betyder inte rörelsen gagnar kvinnor i en reell mening. Dels på grund av att den baseras på falska förklaringsmodeller. Dels för att den är en del av en bredare identitetspolitisk rörels. Dels på grund av att rörelsen är kollektivistisk. Kvinnor som individer kan fara riktigt illa som en konsekvens av alla dessa tre.

    Att objektifiering av kvinnor är ett stort problem råder inget tvivel, men det överskuggas dessvärre av godtyckligheten i vad detta innebär. Den manliga blicken sägs vara objektifierande, men inte om den sociala eller socioekonomiska statusen är tillräckligt hög. Det är därför kvinnor vallfärdar till bokhyllor och biografer med sina surt förvärvade slatnar för att se den där filmen, du vet vilken.

    Löneskillnader är verligen inte ett bevis för diskriminering och den döda käpphästen har piskats så många gånger att det är tröttsamt att behöva lyssna på. Det är inte så att det finns ett snopptillägg på lönen som noga kontrolleras varje månad i marginalen eller att oförklarade löneskillnader kan likställas med diskriminering med motiveringen att för det känns orättvist. Bättre belägg tack.

    Det råder däremot inte några som helst tvivel om att kvinnor drabbas värst av fysiskt relationsvåld, där förövaren är en man (även om det talas väldigt tyst om samkönade relationer som exempelvis lesbiska relationer där förövaren är en kvinna, det skulle förstöra narrativet) men för protokollet kan noteras att kvinnor i huvudsak använder en annan typ av våld som är icke-fysisk.

    Du kan starta vilka projekt du vill som ämnar att förändra mäns beteenden, men till syvende och sist väljer man själv sin partner och även om det inte alltid är något som kan förutse (många gånger är det väldigt uppenbart för alla utomstående betraktare) så kommer det att bli ditt problem om du väljer fel, utan att du äger skulden till själva slagen.

    Det ligger i varje individs egenintresse att välja en livspartner noggrannt, om man har någon som helst självbevarelsedrift och inte stirrar sig blind på ett vackert leende och en cool tattoo. Det sägs att ingen får skuldbelägga kvinnor på det sättet, men det handlar inte om skuldbeläggning. Det handlar om att förebygga problem, men det är förstås manligt tänkande. Ingen kvinna blir förvånad av att hon blir fet av att äta potatischips varje dag men ser inte slagen komma när hon tänder på kriminella. Det finns tyvärr ett samband med valet som görs.

    Du säger det att män ofta misslyckas med att se världen genom en kvinnas öga och det är säkert sant, men hör och häpna, detsamma gäller kvinnor. Det är det faktumet som gör att feminister tillskriver män normer och privilegier som män generellt sett inte har och det gör att mansbilden är skruvad och skev.

    Bara för att ni får er bild av män bekräfatad av feministmän som vill ligga med er och har det som en strategi (vad har ni för sällskap på barrikaderna på tal om objektifiering) eller män som vill framstå som framgångsrika och PK är inte direkt ett bevis för att teorin stämmer.

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