Monday, March 3, 2014

What is a feminist really?

A Facebook acquaintance posted this highly offensive advertisement on his wall today and called on his male comrades to respond on its brilliance. I saw it. Got quickly offended and immediately protested to the woman in the advertisement being turned into a commodity for a man's pleasure. Of course that meant that the man and all his friends ganged up on me for my perceived lack of humour. One of them called out of the society's ever increasingly intolerance for all things politically incorrect and how it is killing the world. And of course my favourite insult of them all - you are such a feminist.

That had me thinking. What is feminist? Feminist as a being has been long defined differently for decades now. The feminist is a thing that burns its bras...attends rallies. Screams when a man cups her publicly. Goes to the police and starts demanding equal rights, equal pay and does not shave its legs or arms. The hairy feminist is also a party pooper ready to literally poop on everyone's fun by offended about everything. The feminist is also a negative and angry being. So this young chap when he described me as a feminist, it wasn't a positive pat on the back but rather a derogatory kick in the face. Why can't you be chill woman and let the men have some fun?, he seemed to ask.

To be honest, I do not know what a feminist is. I don't know if I am one. I like things that are pretty and shiny. I like pink and purple and yellow. I am a regular at the parlour and I have never burnt a bra in my entire life (I like them and I support their existence wholeheartedly :P ). I am independent. I work. I earn. I pay for the things I like myself. I am not afraid of doing lunches or movies by myself. But I also am sensitive and vulnerable and not at all like the hardened female feminist figures that have been portrayed by the media over the years.

But I don't think this is an issue about being a feminist. I think it is a matter of being a woman at all. It is a tricky tricky thing to be. You like sports and video games, you get branded one of the boys. If you wear your hair short and walk around in jeans and t-shirts, you become a tom-boy. If you are conscious about what you eat, you become a stick in the mud. If you wear makeup, then you become barbie doll. When do you get to be yourself? 

I am at loss for words. But for now I have "unfriended" this person from my life. I don't want such men polluting my life. I don't want this person to tell me that the "only offensive thing about this advertisement is that Aston Martin is far superior to a hundred women" (I hope his mother or his wife never reads this comment  because man is this an insult to them!).

For my part, I want to figure out for myself what being a feminist means to me. I get angry when a woman is compared to a car, a perfume, a she is something that is for sale. I don't like it when someone tells me to "be a man." They should try being a woman for few minutes to know what it takes to be us. But for the most part I just want to hug all the women in my life. Every day we show up to take on life, we are already ahead of the race. Happy women's day.


  1. I don't know what a 'Feminist' is or what it is like to be one either...but you've got me thinking too. Good post!

  2. Brilliant post Aish... You got me thinking aswell ..