Misunderstanding Feminism Has a Cost – And Society Pays It
People often succumb to the cult-like tendency to censure people with a deviating set of beliefs about the world. This practice is not new; one can trace its threads back to the earliest era of Homo Sapiens.
Feminism is an ideology that advocates the need for equal rights between men and women. It has survived various forms of backlash over the past few decades – and is still surviving. Is feminism truly obnoxious enough to deserve such savage denunciation? My answer is a blunt and clear ‘No.’
Talking specifically about Pakistan, where illiteracy is all too widespread and the ignorance of supposedly literate people trumps even that; a majority of people love to stay in a haze of oblivion when it comes to rights for marginalized segments of society.
Recently a video went viral in which a Pakistani celebrity was kicking a woman – reasons unknown, and people started echoing the notion that the woman rightly deserves that treatment because “they” want equal rights. This view, needless to say, is faulty and foul on every front.
Feminism is the ideology which furthers the need for equality in every sector, and like any set of ideas, is open to debate. But beating someone should be unacceptable regardless of the context. Blaming feminism for everything adverse happening on this planet without prior knowledge of the ideology shows the mental state of people engaging in such behaviour.
A common social media user in Pakistan continues to get manipulated by erroneous claims pertaining to feminism. Pakistani men are, of course, no less harmed by the patriarchal mindset prevalent in society. Patriarchal society encourages men to conceal their emotions; stay quiet in the face of sexual assaults and jeopardize their mental health in order to satisfy the social expectations.
Furthermore, everyone agrees with the point that some people use ideologies for vested interests, and so is the case with feminism. But it doesn’t make the whole feminist perspective wrong – were that to be the case, then the world must throw democracy away too, etc. In this context, it would be helpful to remind people that feminism doesn’t abhor men, but merely highlights the fact that men are at fault. Many women are also at odds with feminism, and when we delve into the reasons, we might often find that those women are already privileged.
All in all, feminism is the ideology which is vociferously against the exploitation and marginalization of every oppressed class of this world. Be it a religious minority or ethnic one; feminists would be standing behind them in their hour of need.
Pakistan needs feminism to create harmony in the society and it is essential for the prosperity of the country. Awareness regarding rights and a veracious definition of feminism must be incorporated in the curriculum to counter the propaganda against it. In this darkest time, realizing the true significance of feminism is necessary because it has the potential to whittle away the oppression in society. Feminism is the light at the end of the tunnel.
The writer is studying Media and Communication at UMT; and is a national level taekwondo practitioner, debater and an awardee of Mevlana student exchange scholarship