Anti-feminists vs. Anti-feminists
Yes, you read it right. No, the word has not been mistakenly spelt twice. Yes, it is Anti-feminists vs. Anti-feminists.
Why, you might ask? Well, to begin I should let you know that I love to talk. And talk I did! Talks with feminists, anti-feminists, misogynists.. just choose your category. Although these words sound really fancy but talking to people made me realize the divergent opinions that exist among people against “feminism”.
Now it would be easier to assume that if one is against “feminism” (double-quotes because I don’t really understand what this term has come to mean lately), these opinions would converge to a point somewhere, right? But I realized it was a little different than I had expected.
Talking to people who are against feminism or are “anti-women” (you get the idea) brought out two different schools of thought: first, who think men are the providers & protectors of women (the idea itself enrages women) and the second, who think that women can very well provide for and protect themselves (maybe with the feeling “we’re done with it, thank you!”)
As I said the first category enrages a lot of people. This category takes the religious scriptures a little too seriously, word-for-word. According to them, women are not capable to fend for themselves (are weak maybe) and hence their job is to stay at home and submit to their master i.e. the husband. Mind you, this isn’t some cooked up stuff from a movie. I’ve actually indulged in discussions where somebody said this to me. (The Bible says so according to him but this is just one example). I’ve even been in discussions where people suggested to me that men are superior to women by some divine intervention (?!)
So, women aren’t allowed to work. Also, they need to be protected. From whom/what I wonder? To be protected against the one protecting her? You know, my eyes must really be getting weaker day-by-day because I fail to see the dangerous creature sitting outside my home from whom I’m supposed to be protected.
The point is that this lot thinks that women are the weaker sex who are incapable of doing things on their own and are terrified little beings who ALWAYS need help of somebody to save them. You want to protect her, great! But why do you forget that you’re the ones harming her in the first place? If you didn’t think the way you did, maybe she won’t really need any protection at all. If you weren’t so sick a control freak that you are, maybe you would see that she is capable of many things.
What to do with such people? Does talking help? Well, if they are the religious fanatic kind I doubt anything will help. But we gotta do what we gotta do, right? I think talking and fighting go hand-in-hand here. Talk. Talk as much as you can. Involve them in discussions. Debate and let them see that a woman is not a trophy. But what if they still don’t listen? Then I’m going to fight. It’s my life after-all and nobody has the right to dictate to me how to live, neither a man nor a God-knows-how-many-years-old text anyway!
Coming to the second school of thought now and this is the interesting one. This group might say that they are against feminism but indirectly they support equality. The interesting thing is, they don’t realize it. In a way they are fed up of the patriarchal structure too because they don’t see it as a primary job of a male to provide for and protect women. It’s fair enough as well. I mean, why should they? In their eyes, women should do it on their own. Men shouldn’t be the “body-guards” of women, accompanying them wherever they go. They don’t see males as the head of the family, the one who has to provide for everyone. Women should equally participate in the process. This is why I say that they indirectly support equality. Saying that they are fed up of the system where men have to be the ‘be all’ indirectly implies that for them it’s high time women started participating.
But the problem here is that they blame women for this situation. It’s as if women asked for the system to be such. It’s as if women wanted to stay at home, do nothing. What’s more is the notion that staying at home is equivalent to relaxing, as if taking care of your home is the simplest job in the world and whoever’s a housewife is having fun at home.
So they want to change the system. They don’t want to be caretakers of women anymore. Here comes the sticking point. On one hand, they don’t want to be the be all and on the other they don’t want women to come up because they think women will favour women and that will lead to subjugation of men. Where does this thought process come from? Isn’t it ironical that what might be the solution to a problem, you think of it as the problem itself? Tell me, how are you going to stop being the providers if you don’t want women to participate?
There is this underlying current that men are and have been in the past subjugated. A person suggested that Mumtaz might have asked for the hands of the labourers who built the Taj Mahal to be chopped off. Since I wasn’t present in that time so I can’t say whether she did or she did not. But isn’t it worth thinking that if Mumtaz really did ask for that to be done, there would have been some record of it? If the fact that hands were chopped off can be recorded then why a request by a female can’t be recorded as well?
So what to do with this group? Well, I would go on doing what I have been doing without a regard for what they say. No matter what, I can be rest assured that they are not going to come in my way because that’s not what they believe in with their “I’m not the provider” thinking. What remains to be seen is how they handle the progress of a woman. Will they say anything if a woman does better than a man? That remains to be studied.
Even though these two groups are anti-feminists, they are quite divergent in what makes them so. My only hope is that they don’t take the form of extremists. Till then, as I said before, it’s good to talk.