In India, we are raised in a gender-stereotyped environment, where we have seen mother’s (even the working ones), managing the home, whereas the father has the leeway to come home and relax due to a hectic day at work. Girls have innumerable restrictions, whereas boys have them easy. If you are a girl and show some chutzpah, you are termed as “bad”. The feminist movement has gained momentum since the turn of the century, but nowadays it is a term that is often abhorred, by both men and women. Though we loosely fling the words feminism and sexism, most of us really don’t know the real meaning.
Sexism is gender stereotyping- where preconceived prejudices are imposed on girls, especially. The oppression of women stems from a patriarchal mindset, where women are relegated to perform domestic duties and are exploited economically and socially. Sexist people treat women as the weaker sex and men as the dominant. This regressive mindset leads to heinous crimes like rape, marital rape, and domestic violence. These ideas are deep-rooted and try to shackle and smother the true talent of women. An extreme form of sexism results in misogyny.
For the unaware feminism means, man-hating single women, who burn their bras and raise their slogans, but it is a very wrong misconception. Feminism means seeking equal rights for both men and women. It is the equality for all sexes in politics, social and economic spheres. It is a global revolution towards empowerment.
Feminism isn’t about trying to make one gender superior to others. It is to give an opportunity to the deserving irrespective of their biological makeup. It isn’t a competition to prove who is better than the other but to provide dignity to all. Feminism doesn’t ask a man to “man up” nor does it advocate a woman to “behave like a lady”.
Sexism has grappled the society and this bias is prevalent in each of us, consciously or unconsciously. The archaic laws need to be changed, where women can raise their voices without being ostracized. A glaring example of this unjust attitude is the lack of legal protection for marital rape victims. The law doesn’t recognize a woman’s sexual consent in a marriage, making her a vassal to her husband.
The government is now striving to eradicate illiteracy and promote education among girls. Many social organizations are working at the grass-root level to empower women and counselling them to raise their voices against the injustice that is meted out to them at every step.
A 2018 survey, has shown that globally there is a decline in sexism and a rise in feminism. The MeToo movement is the beacon of this change. Things are changing in our own backyard too, with women making a foray into mainstream politics, and having high profile careers. Though there is still a huge gap between men and women in leadership roles but the gap is slowly declining. Let’s make the world a better place for our children. In the end, it’s all about humanity.
Also read: The Reality Of Marital Rape