Posted by Ninad Nagarkar
Things have changed, they say, for women. At the outset, we have changed a lot in our behavior towards women in all these years. However, the equal status of men and women in society is far from achieved. So far, the changes in the position of women in our society are debatable. From a top view, it may seem that the net result of all our efforts and practices have led to the progress of women-class. However, women face many hardships; the problems have transformed a lot in the past decade. The new issues need to be addressed by new arguments, and these new problems need to be considered as the problems of humankind and not only of women.
Gender equality and gender neutrality are the two most worked upon and talked about jargon when it comes to working in advancements towards the development of women. However, in this decade, gender equality has become a tool even to create misogyny in society. People fall into the traps of misrepresentation of gender equality, justify violence, and hit a woman the same as hitting a man.
A very recent example is a scene of the Hindi movie named Kabir Singh (2019), in which the male protagonist slaps his girlfriend. The slap was justified. One of the arguments being that the girl had also slapped him in the movie in some previous scene. However, is a man hitting a woman the same as a woman slapping a man? Leaving apart the difference of physical strength between man and woman, an act of physical violence done by both the sexes has some fundamental differences. The violence committed by women is condemnable, of course, though it is a result of anger, rage, resentment, irritability, or hatred. However, the violence committed by men is the result of similar sentiments like anger, fury, and rage, but one additional element to it is the ingrained patriarchal feeling of man that it is fine to hit a woman.
The structural fabric of violence against women is based on patriarchy and misogyny, which is highly unlike the violence against men. The ancient ailment of misogyny has managed to withstand so long in our society because of its various shields, one of the covers appearing recently in the form of false equivalences and distorted neutralities. The tumor of sexist hatred is deceitful, it comes in all sorts of comfortable perceptions and believable designs, and thus we need a finer scalpel to peel down every bogus layer to disrobe this malicious hypocrisy.
Once I got into an argument with a friend on the difference of physical violence committed by a woman on a man and vice versa. He was quite clearly convinced that physical abuse is wrong in any case. However, he also believed that men were disallowed to retaliate against physical violence. He firmly believed that in attaining equality between both the genders, the society has inclined in favor of women. The inclination towards women is so biased that it has resulted in injustice to men.
A large population of the younger generation and Millennials feel that there is a clear gender equality bias. Women are accorded with more rights and privileges, which is the common notion not only between men but also between some women at large. However, the question should be, why do we want to retaliate? Why are we scorning against women and justifying it to be correct? Social media has brought a lot of awareness and sensitised the youngsters in gender equality, but the same social media circles have altercated the concept of gender equality. We as a society are stressfully emphasising on equating all the injustices and are eager to distribute such mishaps between men and women equally; however, we are not interested in reasonably delivering justice to the women-class.
The social media is flooded with trends of marginally misogynistic content in the name of it being gender-neutral. The long debate of equality between the sexes has taken recourse of setting up false equivalences to mislead a large proportion of people. The argument of equality has stagnated, and all focused on creating a one-to-one balance in duties, responsibilities, and rights.
For instance, male and female standing in the same queues is proclaimed to be gender-neutral, and two separate lines are hazardously against the men, which is a popular argument put forth by social media pundits. However, my take favors having a single queue, but it should be as safe for the women as it is for men to stand in a line. Statistics speak for themselves in India. We are nowhere near to be considered safe for women. India ranks 133 out of 167 in the Global Index of Women Safety. According to Delhi police, in 2019, at least eight women were molested every day, and growing crime rates against women in the last five years were recorded in Mumbai.
Pseudo-feminism, Ultra-feminism, Hyper-feminism, and Fake Feminism
The terms ‘pseudo-feminism’, ‘ultra-feminism’, and other such words have become a new rage among the Millennials. These words are used as rhetoric against feministic ideas and feminists in social media. The use of rhetoric like pseudo-feminist, ultra-feminist, etc. are done like cuss words. Such groups believe that feminists lack empathy for men and spread misandry instead. They proudly deny themselves to be feminists and share strong anti-feminist sentiments. Again, this emotion is the result of a distorted vision of equality. Some forces in social media are trying to set up theories of false equivalences to mislead the Millennials.
I do not know what good is this sort of an approach for the society, but I genuinely believe that every human on this planet is a feminist by birth. I agree that my appeal may seem overly emotional; however, when logic turns astray, sensibilities turn into rage. The movement of feminism needs the logic of rationalists and the sentiment of activists.
Ninad Nagarkar is an academician, lecturer and research scholar in Biochemistry, and pursuing PhD in the same from Nagpur University, Maharashtra, India. He is passionately working towards gender equality and uplifting of women as a member of the World Pulse. Also, he is a science communicator at Association of Research and Training in Basic Science Education (ARTBSE), Nagpur. His areas of interests vary from a vast range of subjects like cancer biology to arts and films. You can find him on Facebook and Instagram.
Featured Image Source: UNEP