CREATIVE NON-FICTION : My journey as a Feminist by Akanksha Singh
In a nuclear family of five members, we are three siblings - two sisters and one younger brother. Though my parents left no stone unturned to make us sisters understand that they love us all equally, every time that I had to give up a thing for my brother with the reasoning that he is younger, I was concerned.
Concerned for both of us not being treated equally.
Concerned if being younger was not the only commendation he had.
Concerned that my parents were gender biased.
My journey as a feminist started in childhood and till the time I joined college, I fought vehemently for my rights whenever the situation came up- I took offence at gender-biased jokes, put my opinions out even to strangers sensing slightest of the discrimination, raised my voice at male friends for making fun of random
girls and therefore I proudly tagged myself as FEMINIST.
Here I would like to explain what I understood feminism as. To me, feminism is about demanding equal rights and opportunities for women in everything, having a say in all matters and having the right to put their opinion out on everything. I being the outspoken advocate for equality was aware of every tiny debate going on about feminism at my time. I heard every feminist on the block and all those debates led me to the notion of the female species being superior to male species which the present me does not believe in anymore.
By the way, I also do not believe in debates anymore. As someone wise once said, “In my opinion debates are a literate medium of wasting time. At the end of any debate nothing changes, the participating parties just depart with the same opinion they started with. One just argues to defend one self’s beliefs”.
Coming back to the quest to my stand on gender equality, at some point I was very sure that a woman is no less than a man and that she never needs a man ever for anything. And behold I strictly lived by the code, every little detail mattered. As a matter of fact the decisions made by other females bothered me if they did not match my standards of feminism.
For example - if a woman decided to quit her job to be with her husband or if a woman decided to change her surname after marriage or if a woman asked her male friend to drop her to home in the late hours, I got offended. Basically I was offended at the silliest of things which were not even my business.
Luckily then I started with my job and moved places, met numerous people - male and female, read wonderful books and articles and eventually realized that my ‘so righteous’, ‘so aggressive’ emotion of feminism was instilled by some polished and well-articulated speeches of celebrities and were based on unreal situations.
The real world needs more work and less talk. The real situation is when a girl has been pressurized to leave the love of her life and marry the one chosen by the family because her father is a heart patient.
When she is forced to marry someone she doesn’t like because she is 29 and getting old.
When she is forced to stay in an abusive marriage while she doesn’t want to.
When she does have an opinion but if she will puts it forward she will be accused of breaking the house by her in-laws.
I can continue listing numerous more.
All these are very real incidents that happened to my dear friends and the cherry on top was that all these ladies were professionally educated and working in top MNC’s.
All of them were aware about their rights as an individual but couldn’t do a thing
about it. Certain situations can’t be dealt with by just knowing about your rights. The ideal way to practice feminism is to act in real situations and no other human can do it better than a woman herself.
Feminism for a woman is about having a choice and the right to make a choice for her. Have the courage to stand for yourself and start doing what you believe in.
To claim equal gender rights one need not degrade the other gender.
About the Writer:
Akanksha Singh is a software engineer turned blogger. After spending seven years in IT industry across India and U.K, she is currently a stay at home mother to her one year old son. She also authors a blog htttps://mominprocess.co.in where she writes about her views and opinions about social issues, books, learnings etc