We are in the 21st century, and it is 2020. It is definitely not the best year for most of us because of the ongoing pandemic and the economic slump that it brings along. A few days back, I was watching That 70s Show, and in one episode, feminism is treated as a phobia, and feminists are treated as hippies. That’s when it strikes me that our generation is still more or less the same. The show aired over 20 years ago, yet we are still on the same road.
Managed to shatter the Glass Ceiling?
I remember fighting with my parents even to wear shorts at home. Every little freedom and liberty that I have today has come at the cost of fighting and several debates. I have fought so much. When I was a teen, I had envisioned that when I grow up, my generation will be different, it will be the one to break all stereotypes. Our generation was supposed to shatter the glass ceiling. Hope was my drug. It was not until high school that I realized; the core mentality of the majority of people of all generations are still the same.
When I first joined Instagram, I sought validation. I just felt confident posting pictures that were ‘too revealing’ according to the people around me. Nobody said anything to my face, but I felt alienated. My friends stopped hanging out with me. Everyone I knew started slut-shaming. I was disrespected and objectified by my friends. I wasn’t a feminist back then.
At 16, I had no clear idea about feminism was. I couldn’t defend myself. Being aware of the fact that it was wrong of people to slut-shame or call out someone because of the choice of their clothing, but I was too shy to stand up for what I felt.
Have we already failed as a generation?
The only thought encircling my mind is, have we as a generation failed already? We talk about women empowerment, girls supporting girls, fighting against sexism, but where do we implement it in our daily lives?
Letting out rage on social media and giving in to the bandwagon is menial. The question is, are we creating a space around us that allows the people in our lives to feel safe enough to be themselves.
It can range from the clothes one wears to their sexuality. If not now, then when? I am so thankful to be privileged enough to study about political theories and feminism.
I do not feel feminism is a political theory that we choose to stick to, but rather a savior of humanity.
We are humans, and we all need each other to coexist. The coexistence will be in peace and harmony only if all genders respect each other, not because they belong to a specific gender but only because all humans deserve a certain degree of respect. The idea of earning respect still stands, but as humans, we all are entitled to some fundamental rights and respect.
We were supposed to have flying cars by now. It despises me that we are still stuck at the base of gender equality. The two major enemies we are fighting against are patriarchy and misogyny. For generations, these evils have stuck with us like bees to nectar. It frustrates me to see that every time a woman spills something wrong, every human being starts bashing feminism. There are several stereotypes attached to feminism, the most popular one is
feminism considers women superior to men.
View of philosophers
These ideas of women being submissive and not considered a human date back to our favorite philosophers. Let us briefly take an insight of women by our philosophers.
Aristotle excluded women, slaves, and, defeated population when he defined the criteria to hold citizenship. He believed equals i.e., men who are literate, possess some property, and participate in politics. There wasn’t even a bleak chance of women being considered an equal, which is similar to the ideals of our society today that we keep trying to break.
Manu: this name has been mentioned a lot in Hindu mythology. In early texts, it refers to an archetypal man or the first man. He authored the Hindu scripture Manusmriti, which claims to direct how to become a perfect woman. It explicitly states that women and Dalits do not deserve rights. Manusmriti is single-handedly responsible for the derogatory position of women in the post-Vedic period in the Hindu community. Rousseau states that women are an object and their role of existence is to please a man.
One of the most inspiring counters to patriarchy and marriage has been put forward by Plato.
He talked about the early days of society where marriage had not yet existed. A man and woman of equal intellect came together to mate, and then the offspring was taken care of by the state. The woman’s belongings and acquisitions went to her children, but no was present to inherit a man’s assets. This is where marriage came into place, such that a man has someone to pass on his inheritance to, along with this emerged the idea that men would marry “more appealing” women. This idea has contributed to deviating a woman to care more about her appearance than her soul purpose in life.
Interpretation of Plato’s Notion of Marriage
Looking deep into Plato’s writing reflects that he meant to convey that marriage is a trap made to trick women into it. Our society’s idea of women still revolves around two major roles i.e., marriage and raising children. The obsession with such stereotyped gender roles takes a new high every time a woman is expected to sit back to take care of her family against her will, at the cost of her career. Capitalism has contributed more to it by making women dummies and reaching their innermost insecurities, playing with it to bring in millions.
Sexism around the world
To top it up with icing, our society questions the need for feminism today! Let us take a look at some sexist practices around the world that aren’t criminalized even today when there’s no need for feminism.
Marital rape is not a crime in India.
Yes! You are doomed if your spouse rapes you in India. The only way out is a divorce, which also comes with a lot of stigmas. Decriminalization of domestic violence in Russia. Reports by the World Economic Forum states that one woman dies every 40 minutes as a result of domestic abuse in Russia. We do not have equality of gender anywhere near us.
All of us need to take immediate steps in order to move towards equality:
- The first one is to educate every individual, irrespective of gender. Education shouldn’t be limited to institutions, but the knowledge that every child learns to pay respect to the basic rights of every human is essential.
- All of us must learn to throw off our privilege when assessing something as vast as feminism and equality. The social position that one person belongs to might witness equality but it does not entitle that person to declare that our society is equal. One cannot choose to ignore all sections of society to suit themselves.
- Patriarchy gives way to toxic masculinity and hinders the growth of both men and women.
We are all co-dependent humans, and we must work in harmony without dominating each other. I will end this piece by saying that let us all join hands together and empower each other. Growth of one will eventually result in the growth of us all.