Who Is A Feminist?

I came across a question on Quora about Feminism. The question, to be specific, was “What are the flaws in Indian Feminists?”. I could not stop myself from answering and thought of sharing it here as well. Here it goes:

I am a feminist so I think I can answer this question with reasonable accuracy.

The first thing we need to understand here is that people group any and every woman who claims to be independent and can mouth a few words like “women equality”, “sexism”, “misogyny” etc. I would like to pop the bubble. No, not every woman who claims to be one is NOT a feminist.

People take the meaning of feminism completely out of context to suit their own discourse.

Feminism simply means advocacy of women’s right on the ground that everyone is equal irrespective of gender. Over the years, Feminism has expanded it’s reach from just women to advocacy of equality for all sexes be it transgenders, women or men. Feminism also advocates equal rights for people irrespective of their sexual orientation that is we consider heterosexuals, homosexuals, transgenders, bisexuals, gender-neutral people etc. all as equals.

Now coming to the question here, I face this question often. This question is thrown at me about women who abuse the power they have been given by the laws in our country which are clearly biased toward women. I must make it clear anyone, man or woman, who believes that they should be given some privilege or should be favored over others is not a feminist.

A feminist would never ask for favors or privilege as a result of her being a woman. When You ask what are the flaws in Indian Feminists, I would say that one of the flaws is that we are still struggling to make people understand what feminism is really about. Our flaw is that we have still not been able to stop some sections of women from abusing the power given to them to make their life easy as a woman.

A true feminist will fight equally fiercely for equal rights for men as she would for women. A true feminist would not be ashamed to accept her mistake and rectify it. True feminists are all those women who refuse to take any bullshit lying down. They are around you, struggling to be acknowledged for the hard work they do when a male colleague gets the recognition after doing half the amount of work she does. They are still struggling to get paid equal amount for equal amount of work as a male colleague. They are still struggling against families which want them to get married as soon as possible because the society thinks an unmarried daughter is a burden.

Please do not undermine our every day struggle by equating us with people who abuse their privileges.

Here’s the link for my original answer at Quora.


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