I have always believed that feminism is actually for everybody and as much as some people feel, it is not about hating all men. 2018 has been my year of becoming and it has nurtured ideas around feminism for me. Whether it was cheering for my girl gang or unlearning stigmas, I have felt a lot of joy in idealising with strong narratives and as 2018 ends, I wish to continue deconstructing and reconstructing the foundations of our society.
Here is my resolution check list for 2019.
1. Listen To Learn
There is no singular narrative for a ‘female experience’. 2018 has been monumental in teaching us through #MeToo that every woman has an experience that may or may not be the same. Therefore, it is important to not steal a woman’s thunder when she speaks for herself. This is also true for listening and not dismissing the voices of the marginalised.
Feminist resolution is to recognise our privilege and listen to learn what could be a tiniest fact. If we are aiming for a just and equal ecosystem to raise children, dismantle patriarchy from its roots and preach inclusivity then it is important to listen to learn and not only listen to offend.
2. Acknowledge Intersectionality
While a lot has been said about why intersectionality is important, there is still an assumption or belief revolving around feminism as a ‘woman centric’ movement. Feminism is mounted on the foundation of intersectionality. Therefore, the threads of caste, gender, class, religion, sexual identity, are all a part of the same fabric of feminism.
One cannot coexist without the other because it illustrates the interplay between any kind of discrimination. Thus, as we move into into another new year, lets not understand inequality as a movement for women, but a movement to meet at a crossroad called intersectionality.
3. Read To Sensitise Yourself
Reading is essential to increase one’s awareness. Read the past, read about history, read on sexuality, gender, class, caste, religion to know why we need a movement like this. Reading about experiences that are diverse from our own should another resolution because our understanding of the environment cannot exist in an isolation or a vacuum.
I firmly believe that the scope and relevance of feminism does not end with just responding to a stigma but to strengthen those arguments with valid reasoning. This can be catered by quality reading which broadens our perspective through voices with a range of backgrounds.
4. Self Care is Not Selfish
Often as women, we tend to find ourselves in a moment that tells putting ourselves and our emotions first is selfish and we find ourselves feeling guilty about it. In reality it can be true for everyone, however, often women are made to feel sorry about putting themselves first. 2019 should be an effort at our ends to deal with our mental health in the most healthy way.
Whether it is regarding a toxic relationship, or anxiety, trauma, or grief, we should not be in a hurry to brush it under the carpet because of our conditioning around mental health. Taking each day as it comes to introspect, reflect, ask for help, and to never stop breathing amidst all the emotional and mental pressure is another resolution.
5. Celebrate Your Sexuality
We always eye sexuality as an alien which does not exist but it is time we claim our sexual demands from a consensual relationship unapologetically. Women and their desires are strongly fit into a small box and labelled as ‘shy’ but it is time, we advocate what Vidya Balan said, “Women like it, need it and want it as much as men do”.
It is also essential at the same time to understand consent when we talk about sexuality and diverging from a narrow mind set that starts to label women as either a prude or a slut.
One should also at the same time respect one’s choice of sexual identity and preference. To not shame any individual on the basis of who they choose to make love to as #loveislove, consensual at that.
6. Acceptance of Beauty– As It Is
Our deep and ingrained conditioning also comes from our standard of beauty and ‘body goals’. Lets be kind with how we look, who we are and what our body looks like. Beauty is not defined by color, age, shape or size. But our mind sets run parallel with these standards as much as we try to detour from it.
Lets break these unreasonable and unrealistic ideas of beauty and instead of looking a “certain” way, reinvent our thoughts around it. The struggle to fit in these molds are not just physically exhaustive but they take a toll on our mental and emotional capacity. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to embrace beauty free from the artifice as it is even if it is not fair or lovely.
7. Cherish Female Friendships
Hear me out! I am not propagating the idea of women making the best of friends but all I am saying is that it is high time we rationalise female friendships and not cast women with the tags of ‘bitchy’ and ‘gossip mongers’.
Female friendships with the right kind of circle, is a place of assurance that provides a certain degree of relief. In our collective effort to dismantle patriarchy, it is important that we cherish our #girlgang who keep us grounded, secure and complete our arcs.
Usually our loudest cheerleader, compass, cushion and pillar, in 2019 lets applaud for all the female friendships that have sailed through all the tides of inequality, misogyny, and sexism.
8. Unlearn Constantly
There is no such thing as a ‘perfect feminist’. One has to constantly unlearn to relearn and keep creating a bigger canvas for nuanced perspectives. We may or may not enforce patriarchal or sexist remarks/behavior intentionally but in a day of twenty-four hours, we might have a second of misleading our understanding.
We need to unlearn and recognise our privilege to accommodate people. All of us are born with a certain pedestal that may be higher or lower to another person’s. This pedestal decides a lot of things for us, our quality of education, our workplace, our choices. Thus, being dismissive about our privilege is being ignorant no matter how ‘woke’ one is. Recognising privilege in no way suggests “who is worse off”, but essentially makes us realise we are in this together and makes us more aware about others experiences.
Also read: Dear Men, #MeToo Is Not A War Against You
At the same time, it is of utmost to unlearn gender roles and smash them as and when we meet them. Gender roles are not only restrictive one from finding who they are but they also differentiate which destroys the ethos of the f word- feminism.
Feminist seasons greetings!
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