You cannot be a feminist if you cheer on war
The first casualty of jingoism and war hysteria witnessed in India and Pakistan in the past couple of days is our collective sanity. In India, the few voices advocating peace and an end to the madness were overshadowed by the endless warmongering and calls for a nuclear war. The glorification of war was disappointing to say the least. It is important to note that government officials as well as politicians in Pakistan talked about peace and de-escalation, but the same sentiment has unfortunately not been reciprocated from the other side. It was heartening to see Pakistanis calling on the authorities to treat the captured Indian pilot with dignity.
However, this entire episode ended up revealing the true colours of some known individuals in both India and Pakistan. The jingoism seemed to have gotten the best of some sane voices as well. Most of those who took this 180 degree turn from their previous stances are Indians. These include journalist Barkha Dutt and actor Priyanka Chopra. What came as a surprise to me is that some women who identify as feminists were among those wanting aggression and muscle-flexing. If as a feminist you don’t see the several commonalities between war and toxic masculinity, you need to review your morals.
War and patriarchy are inter-linked. War leads to deaths and destruction, and women have to bear the brunt of it all in the end. Since wars are designed and fought mostly be men, women and the issues they face are never taken into consideration. Moreover, the toxic masculinity that is responsible for almost all forms of violence against women is also linked to war. Reading jokes on social media from both Indians and Pakistanis about raping each other’s women after the war made me sick to the stomach. If your feminism supports this kind of trash-talk, you’re not actually a feminist.
Women activists in Pakistan have been posting pictures and videos of themselves on social media using the hashtag #NoToWar, demanding an end to the warmongering.They maintained that war hurts women disproportionately. There have been demonstrations in Pakistan against the war hysteria and for peace. Let’s hope feminists on the Indian side also stand up against violence and aggression. War is patriarchal and no woman should support or celebrate it.