Feminism: A Vague Idea or a Lucid Belief?
Faizan Ahmad Shah*
Feminism is a term that simply suggests giving women equal rights as that of men. It has been a common perception or a known fact that men have dominated the major portion of the history and had an upper hand in almost all known fields. Women were always considered unequal and subdued and were subjected to cruel behavior at the hands of men. Women were never considered a better half but a worse half thus were considered a means of satiating sexual urge, besides they were never given any opportunity to prove themselves. They were subjugated, tortured and made to do things that men considered lowly. Men considered women lowly not only physically, emotionally, but mentally as well. They never had any opportunity to take any decision but decisions were forced upon them. But those were times of ignorance, a darker phase of history, as is commonly perceived. Times are changing and changing fast. European society, particularly from the 18th century, started realizing that if they have to move ahead and imperialize the whole world, then half of their population need not be subjugated, then started the so-called famous movement of Feminism.
Women started coming out of their closet and began to work shoulder to shoulder with men in every field, in every sphere of life. With the increase in workforce, their economies started getting bigger and better. Women were now considered an indigenous part of men. Their presence in every field increased to such an extent that in many fields they became decision makers or more clearly decision takers. Women were now considered an equal part of men, according to some even superior. But the abrupt freedom that women got or the abrupt rush of feminist thought resulted in degradation of society both culturally and morally. With the increase in their thought process, wearing short clothes turned mandatory to look more progressive. Infidelity, licentiousness, fornication, promiscuity became the order of the day. The downside of feminism was objectification and glorification of women. While objectifying women as means of gratification of one’s sexual urge, glorifying them by making them wear clothes that hardly cover their private parts.
Why did it actually started? The answer is that, with the advent of industrial revolution in west, men felt the need to employ more labor force, but where would that labor force come from? Women, came the immediate thought. Taking them away from household chores and making them do the hard labor was the answer. But why would women forgo their household work, which was considered relatively easy and do a more excruciating physical task? What enticed them to do this rigorous work?. Well, the answer is a bit complex but in my opinion, it must have been the promise of equal treatment, equal rights and the respect which the women folk always craved. Were these promises met? The answer is also complex. The positive impact was that women now were able to move out of their homes and participate in the labor force and contribute to the development of their country’s economies. But it also meant that women now had to be not only homemaker but also work under men in factories or in their offices. They would now not only work with men all day long but would be entrusted with the activities that were generally considered low-key and feminine like cleaning of homes, preparation of food, rearing of children and other similar tasks.
Women who run their houses on a tight budget, ensure that everyone is fed, everyone is happy, yet don’t identify themselves with any taglines of feminism. Should these women be considered less of feminists, probably not! Or maybe we need to change the definition of feminism?
Before the advent of industrialisation, there was a clear distinction between work and other activities between the two sexes. Males used to be the earning members of the family and females used to do the job that required mainly to be inside the house, although this is not true for all the communities. There are many events that history throws up where women played a decisive role to change the course of the history itself. But the overall picture is a little gloomy.Where lies the problem then? Mostly, women have been exploited by men in the guise of feminism to push their own agendas and they have easily succumbed to that. And there are instances where women are considered feminists only if they are rebels, smoke cigarettes mingle with or compete with men in doing activities which are not only bad but harmful just for the petty reason of being considered feminists. Wearing short clothes is a matter of choice, showing off their body parts is a matter of choice. But it in no way should be made a benchmark. There are enough examples of women who never resorted to these things but did a great service to the whole community of women.. And there are women who run the house, take care of their children, their parents, their husbands, take decisions which although might not be of great importance but do hold an important value in their families. Women who run their houses on a tight budget, ensure that everyone is fed, everyone is happy, yet don’t identify themselves with any taglines of feminism. Should these women be considered less of feminists, probably not! Or maybe we need to change the definition of feminism?
*The author is pursuing Masters in Economics at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position of Oracle Opinions.