Thursday, March 5, 2009

La Femme



I was thinking the other day if I’m a feminist only to realize that like most ideologies, feminism too has different brands to it.
I went to a girls’ school and I don’t remember one instance when we discussed feminism- be it among friends or with teachers. I guess all my school taught me was I had the right to enjoy what I liked and to do what I enjoyed doing.
Now that I’m in a college which is believed to be a breeding ground for feminists, I have come to be aware of the various perspectives one attaches to the ideology. People have different views- some say it’s about being treated equally with men, while some claim to be even better. There are some who believe men to be the bane of a woman’s existence while some think it’s about not wearing a bra.
The past few days in my college have been a tumultuous experience. We did things that no one thought could happen in L.S.R...girls sloganeering, carrying banners and sitting down-refusing to budge. There seemed to be a certain spell that held them all, that made them get over their own problems and made them shout out in unison. It wasn’t about the “geek”, the “intellectual types” or the “babe” anymore…it became a ground where a few hundred girls found out what’s common between each one of them, something that couldn’t be given a name. I realized that there’s a certain power Estrogen has that allows one to defy. It has this innate way of letting us know that no matter who we are, we don’t need to take shit, and we don’t need to silently listen… and it’s okay to shout. Coming together sometimes helps you conserve the voice that you would’ve lost had you shouted alone.
Ofcourse we need to shout. All of us- Men, Women, Children. Everyone needs to shout when people decide to go deaf on them. Feminism for me lies in that decision I make to shout, irrespective of who else is shouting or who else has shouted before me, and it lies in the widening of the space that allows me to shout. It is important for voices to be heard- be that of men or women. There has to be neutral ears that do not engender the voices they listen to;there has to be a complete absence of biases.
That is my brand of feminism.

20 comments:

Neel said...

Well put. Infact very well put. It's time some more people start thinking like this. Hats off as usual.

sujaan said...

great read as always..."There has to be neutral ears that do not engender the voices they listen to" - smart line!

Casuarina said...

Well put. Like religion, I believe feminism also has the insidious ability to fanaticise. Consciously exercising our roles in either category would surely create a more prudent, tolerant world...

Btw, you write well. You might perhaps write more often.

Phoenix said...

you know i so agree when you said convent upbring affected the way you viewd things.. i had the problem.. i still do.. because i think a particular way.. but the fact that we can ask, seek and question may be a small part of the feminist rights.. i think the convent education did us some good... :)

now i have digressed and i cant make any sense of what i wrote :)

little boxes said...

@N,S: thank you so much
@C:thanks you,i am trying to get back to regular blogging :)
@P:i didnt go to a convent...but yeah,it taught me to be what i am :)

Magically Bored said...

Very well written post. I like the way you think of feminism- very clear-cut and sensible. Feminism needn't necessarily always be about bra-burning, right?
:)

Rahul Saha said...

Whatever you do don't turn in to one of those ant-pornography radical feminists. I'll have to stop visiting this blog then.

Pongy Papaya said...

very well put twinnie!:-)

little boxes said...

@rahul:no no i'm not one...

Astraeus said...

La femme fatale'

School has a muzzling atmosphere (or maybe i am just being biast towards my school)

But reading ur experience and search for ur bran of feminism which defies a label sounded very nice to me and mde me quite happy.

For someone who goes above the socio-labels creating and discovering one ourselves is more enthralling.

:)

inihos said...

I have classmates who hold that our college has turned them into feminists

reema said...

i'd agree with sohini.. my college Sophia's.. is brand feminism.
i dont like to call myself one. and i largely agree with what u hav written.
some ppl think its about wearing a bra!!.. loved dat line.
hehe.

Ashi said...

I dont know how well it is about being treated equal to men because then the set standard are men. I dont quite agree with your post except for being heard, but then again I also feel feminism is overrated.

As for feminism as an ideology I fear ideologies cant be taught you imbibe one when you relate to it. If it was a capsule I'd really like to take a Republican Pill someday.

little boxes said...

Thanks for that interesting comment.Ofcourse there can never be a capsule and that's why one needs have his/her own interpretation/brand.also,i think my post shows that i'm more of a humanist and a feminist.i maybe wrong,but i like to believe that on a plane of equality,it doesnt matter which side of the 'equal to' sign you fall to.

Ashi said...

Humanist would be lovely. Except after Sartre I dont see them anymore. It is way too uncomplicated for one's taste

Oshtorombha said...

The word 'humanist' has different connotations. The humanist ideal is the ideal of the individual, which is in conflict with the ideal of feminism.

As for feminism, I think that most of you here are confusing it with democratic equality. Feminism is required in order to defy a socio cultural construct known as patriarchy.

I would appreciate it if we stopped loosely commenting about feminism without having adequate knowledge about it. The phrase 'bra burning feminism' is often used in a derogatory manner, making some feminists appear mad and frenzied. The point is, you need to understand history. Every movement is specific to the demands of the situation. When women did not have the right to vote, the suffragettes had to chain themselves to the walls of the Parliament in order to get their rights. Just like the conditions leading to Second Wave Feminism demanded bra burning.

I find this trend in ourselves quite disconcerting. Somehow, without knowing enough about an ideology, we tend to make comments about it. That is indeed disheartening.

Nice blog, though.

brainwrenched said...

being feminist defeats the very idea of feminism itself. the moment one sees the need to be a feminist that is.

little boxes said...

@a:Ya...i read Sartre too.guess you are right :)
@o:As i said,each ideology means different things to different people.I do have feminism as a part of my course but i'd rather interprete it my way than adhere to the rigidity of its history.likewise,in the case of Ren Humanism,some took it as a platform to raise their voice and some it took it to be a threat to religion.all ideologies are like...

little boxes said...

Contd...
that.but each to his own,i guess :) and thanks for dropping by.
@b:i think it depends on what you take to be the pointers of being 'femininity'...people have different ideas of the female.some think she rocks the cradle and some think she rules the world.

Ibanov, Sir Rekaf said...

In other words, you are all for equality. Which is one of the LSR feminism types. Which makes me fear you. Yes, LSR girls are awe-inducing.