Open Page

Feminist or not a feminist

Portrait of a an Indian woman wearing traditional dress reading a book and wearing glasses.

Portrait of a an Indian woman wearing traditional dress reading a book and wearing glasses.  

Of being a proud woman, keeping the head high

I took a cab recently and was surprised to see a lady sitting on the driver’s seat. It is not a sight that you come across very frequently in Delhi NCR. In fact, it was the first time it happened with me.

Being a curious girl, I started talking to her, asking about her routine. She told me she leaves home at 6 in the morning and reaches back around 8 at night. Amazed, I asked who takes care of cooking and cleaning for her, and was surprised again to know that she wakes up at 4 in the morning, cooks, cleans, and then leaves for work. A feeling of sympathy suddenly dawned upon me, that because there would be no one to lend a hand, this poor lady has to work, take care of her household, all on her own.

I guess she noticed me drowning in my thoughts, so she explained that she did all this because she liked doing it. Nothing could make a mother happier than cooking for her kids, a wife happier than when she takes care of her home. She loved driving, and now she has enough time and courage to live her passion.

I looked at her, a lady in her 40s, confident and independent. Is she a feminist? I don’t know if it is okay to call her one, because nowadays the definition of feminism has changed a lot. It has been moulded and modified according to the convenience of the person using the word for their own benefit.

Feminism, the term, was derived because there was a need to make people realise that those female foetuses had the right to live, that those little girls had the right of education, from whom these gifts were snatched away. Feminism meant being proud of being a female, and doing everything keeping your head high, no matter if you were a homemaker, or an actress, or a teacher.

Now, people crib about the fact that they have to bear the burden of wearing a bra, that they have to shave their legs, that they are shamed for wearing short dresses. These all are issues, I agree, but they don’t qualify to be feminist in nature. A girl who wears a saree or suit is also a feminist because she fights for the rights of women who are victims of domestic violence. A lady who fights for gay rights might be a feminist too. A man who strongly believes that all girls should be allowed to go to school is also a feminist.

But, but, that lady, who is a Homemaker, who takes care of her kids and husband, and family, is also a feminist, does not matter if she does not shout or post on the media or fights with her husband for not letting her work, because maybe she did not want to, she is doing her part, teaching her kids, giving them good moral values, but most important of all, she is doing what she loves to do.

I don’t know if I would love to be called a feminist, or I would call myself a feminist, because I have no problem with my periods, or with my bra, or with my body hair, I do what I want to do with them.

This is the way I am made, we all are.

I will call myself a feminist, because I love what I do, I respect my decisions and opinions, and because I will stand by them. I believe that’s something we all need to do, feminist or not a feminist.

harsha.mishra1@gmail.com

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 4:06:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/feminist-or-not-a-feminist/article19897550.ece

Next Story