What does being a feminist mean in the 21st century? From its origins in the Suffragette movement, and the bra burning, contraception demanding bolshie women of the 60’s, to women fighting against genital mutilation or right to equal pay in the workplace, feminism has evolved and branched out in several directions.
Yet, feminists are viewed with a tinge of suspicion and a truck load of venom by several quarters, including women themselves.How, or why, did feminism become a bad word?
Feminism is not divorced from femininity. Expecting to be treated at par with one’s male counterparts does not mean turning into their clones. Retaining the joy and pleasure of being a woman, of dressing well, putting on makeup, wearing a nice pair of heels, in no way ambiguates the substance of the cause.
Equally, thrusting yourself into the spotlight by shedding clothes or inhibitions, in the name of feminism, does little to promote it.
I see myself as a feminist. Not a truncheon carrying one, but as one who expects equal treatment and fair play in her work and home environment. I’m hoping this is the upbringing I am giving to my daughters as well. For them to neither expect nor demand, just receive with equanimity all that is their due. Is this an Utopian ideal? Possibly. As Utopian as expecting racism, fundamentalism and war mongering to disappear off the horizon.Yet, if we don’t strive for those ideals, will we ever achieve them?