DEFINITION OF FEMINISM

Feminism. A word whose meaning has evolved a fair deal in recent years. From standing for women to oppressing men, it has been manipulated again and again to suit the requirements of every individual. The true essence and beauty of feminism often gets lost amongst these perceived meanings. What really is feminism? A question which is slowly gaining popularity with every passing day. Is it something that can be used to excuse a woman’s behaviour and tell a man she is worth more than him? Or is it simply something that can be used to prove equality? I prefer to believe it is the latter. For me, feminism is something which unites the women of the world to stand against prejudice. It is a concept which supports women without disrespecting any other gender. For me, feminism is a journey leading to justice. It is also a destination where women don’t have to evaluate all their decisions on the basis of their gender. It is flexible in that sense. But at its core, it is fixed. Determinant. At its core it stands for one thing. A society with no injustice.

 

Some of you at this point may question: doesn’t feminism stand for femininity, for women? Where does the notion of justice for all come in, then? Isn’t that a different concept altogether?

My reply to that will be yes, it does stand for women. But how can you demand justice for yourself by causing injustice to others? How can you engrave the concept of a woman being equal to a man in the society, a majority of which is dominated by men, by oppressing another gender? How can you stay true to a belief by doing the exact opposite of what it stands for to somebody else? A woman is equal to a man. But that’s the key word most people overlook. Equal. Not more, not less, just equal.

When I say I am a feminist I am not questioning a man’s relevance, I am merely putting forward a belief which makes me equally relevant. I am not defining the qualities of all women and putting a specific gender on a pedestal. I am merely asking you to let a girl have her own individuality, her own qualities apart from her femininity. A woman may be emotional, but her capability to make decisions shouldn’t be questioned because of that. Similarly, a man may be more calculating, but his emotional depth should not be overlooked because of that. 

 

My plea as a feminist is to stop the atrocities being committed against women on a daily basis and treat them as beings equally worthy of respect as men. It is to create a space where a girl can stand with her chin up and shine her light as an individual without having to worry about the demands of the society. I want a woman to be able to walk the streets in the clothes of her choice and not feel judged. I want her to be able to feel comfortable and confident in her own skin.

 

The beauty of feminism lies in the unity of all women, and I yearn for every woman to have a firm belief and stand strong so no one can break our feminine strength. That, according to me, is true feminism. 

-Ishita Tandon