Personal Essays Navigating Through Identity Crisis While Being A Feminist

Navigating Through Identity Crisis While Being A Feminist

The question, 'How I navigate myself through my feminist identity,' spurs me with emotions but sadly I could never channelise them.
» Editors Note: Being Feminist is a fortnightly column that features personal narratives documenting the emotions, vulnerabilities and innermost contradictions every feminist encounters while trying to push through various degrees of patriarchy in private, professional and public spaces.

The question, ‘How I navigate myself through my feminist identity,’ spurs me to come up with evocative emotions and expressions, but sadly I could never channelise myself through it, this might be because I never exercised them. Growing up in a small town, in a patriarchal family further an extended one, I never had a choice of my own.

In the process of coming equal with myself, I happened to realise that every decision that I took was and is always influenced by the people I am surrounded by. I say so for the reason that it has become a custom of unconscious resolution and it is under this armour that I muted my ingenious abyss. While I write this, contained within, a part of me I feel impaired.  

But, voicing my opinion here I have a part to say, we might go on to talk boldly- fiercely, advocating women’s rights based on equality of sexes, but one might seldom see any feministic voice with respect to the broader picture of the intersectionality of which I believe ‘Feminism,’ is just a part.  

When one is part of a confined space like a small town, patriarchy, or unvoiced opinion there is always a  sense of consistent jeopardy which is daunting. Therefore, having no specific feminist identity is conventional to me.  

Being a ‘feminist,’ is decisive and, adds up the responsibility to one’s identity, it claims strength, and is worth the effort, as one opinion voices millions. But, shouldn’t we zoom in and see what a diverse diaspora we are, as in one identity can be of opinion but never the last resort? While as a person I might traverse or say contradict the opinion of ‘Feministic Identity,’ but is of appreciation, as this notion of “Feminism,” has spurred us into talking our opinion, like that of mine. 

Contradiction always arises out of choices, I may have a choice of putting on makeup and equally reject it sometimes. I may agree to wax my body hair and might completely reject the idea of it. Choices branch out of our comfort space and frame of mind, like, there are days when I surrender myself to pyjamas, flowing straps and flip- flop in and around, also, there are days when I feel like dressing my best and showing up, denial of such basic choices leads to contradictions. 

I am of the opinion that when an individual is debarred of a choice, they might dwell into an identity crisis; this can be of relevance to all genders; therefore one might never submit to a particular identity; I  feel this is what contradicts my values, a part where I feel celebratory about the feministic notion, this part of my value system finds privilege in feministic identity, though I don’t claim one of my own.

I consider and respect the fact that feminist campaigns are the principal force, which has brought significant change in society owing to women’s rights, examining the role of women in society, not just personally but on every ground be it political, economic, social Etc.

Respecting diverse women’s experience, identities, and knowledge and empowering them, to realise their full potential by levelling the playing field ensuring that women and girls from all backgrounds have the same life opportunity that is available to boys and men.  

As mentioned earlier the fear of failure, social pressure, and regular experiences engulf the mind, therefore resurrecting identity simply sustains as a thought, hence succumbing to it after all. 

Growing up, I investigated my grandmother a lot, the kind of woman she has been all her life. I never looked up to my mother, she (my mother) never had a formal education, owing to her father’s fatal health and poor socio-economic state, she was married early, hence, she never had any decision-making of her own, backed by constant support of my father wrapped in patriarchal cling, it is in me, whom she looks up to.  

My grandmother has been a fierce lady, she always has an opinion of her own, but patriarchy never allowed space for her to exercise her thoughts, apart from that of managing the household and children;  therefore, in a background constructed by two women with two separate identity crisis, I choose not to identify myself with any.  

Owing to my education invariably I find myself breaching out of the cycle, wanting to have something of my own, ‘an identity.’ I profoundly put myself as an egalitarian that believes and exercises a simple idea of equality, that equitable relations on the common ground can help sort various challenges women are facing since the evolution of mankind, though I am aware of the fact that this brawl continues unexamined until now.  

Eliminating gender stratification, working to increase equality be it monetarily or non-monetarily,  expanding human choices, ending sexual violence and promoting sexual freedom are the heartfelt and overpowering pleasures that feminism has provided to me and my era, where I am exercising my thought freely, where I am supported with a platform that has backed me up in my opinion, the reforms brought in by feminism has raised a pedestal where I am voiced by millions and I can be a voice of millions who might or might not identify themselves with any specific identity in general or sexual.  

Propounding deeply against patriarchy, I never had a liking for marriage as an institute, just a thought of it has me choking, it is never to the commitment that the relationship demands, but talking of it as an institute is agitating, especially in small towns of India, an act of two, is submitted by twenty, this isn’t just for marriages but also in every attempt a woman set into, the standards norms and cynical obstructive surrounding has always been a roadblock in my life, which is mentally abusive, it is parasitical- leechlike that drains one completely.

Pertaining to all such annoyance, reverting back becomes rigorous, I hold on to this with an object that no two people are the same, no two ideas can ever be equal and no single gender can be the voice of the other, because it is evident that no two pair can ever fit in others shoe.

I can be piteous for someone but can never feel their hardship, therefore backing up each other can be virtuous and what can be even better is being egalitarian in one’s opinion (I feel), that is never being authoritative and acting as a legislator especially calling on the patriarchy, letting everyone avail oneself of their ideas equally, without being a  jurist, will definitely weed out most of the problem that we have succumbed too.  

I put in for a world where everyone especially the part of the population that has been oppressed for ages, confined of her rights, restricted in her thoughts and opinions is allowed to freely exercise her true self, where the most she caters is choice of her inner self, be it identity resurrection or mere choice of hair colour, if this is a part of feministic notion then I advertently follow this, and always has positive and unquestioned support spanning to this, but I do not purport- consecrate myself to an expression as a  part of me still isn’t aware of my true identity. 

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