Feminism: Is it Woman Versus Man?

While feminism as a discourse is important in terms of improving condition of woman, it must not hurt the other sex. We must not transform feminism into ‘Femi-Nazi’, an aggressive form of assertion. Fairness means fairness for all and not for one. While violation of woman has to be stopped, innocent men should not be victimised unwisely. Both men and women possess dignity.

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A woman’s dignity is sacrosanct. Over her body and mind, she should have exclusive possession. It is her right to share her body with whosoever she wants and not share whosoever she does not want. Nobody can violate that. A society’s progress can be judged by how it takes care of her women. A more progressive society would take care of her weaker sex. Not only women but men in a progressive society will also work for women’s empowerment.

In our Indian society, which had traditionally been patriarchal, fortunately, we are witnessing positive change in terms of woman empowerment. Women are no more incarcerated within the four walls of the house. Nor are they lagging behind men in any field. They are equally making their mark in every field. Kudos to those women, who have broken the glass ceilings. Priya Jhingat, first Indian woman army Officer, Avani Chaturvedi, India’s first woman pilot to take a solo flight in a MIG-21, Geeta Phogat, the acclaimed wrestler or Merry Kom, the boxer-we all are proud of them. They have not only ventured into the earlier restricted man’s domain but also proved their mettle.

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But still, there is a long way to go. Girl children still drop out of schools because of inadequate ladies’ toilet facilities. Even sanitary napkins are not available in rural areas, leave alone matters of education, health, and reproductive health. Under such circumstances, a discourse on feminism is imperative. Fortunately, a vibrant discourse around feminism has found currency in recent years. People are opening up to women’s issues. Laws are becoming tough. Moreover, women themselves are exerting their rights.

While there should be respect for woman’s dignity, it must not take a toll on the other sex. In the name of woman empowerment, one should not pursue aggressive feminism that gives it a bad name. Two recent incidents that strike my mind are apt to mention here.

A recent video clip that has gone viral leaves the internet on the split. In the video, a woman is seen punching a man. Apparently, the woman was former cricketer Vinod Kambli’s wife Andrea Hewitt (40)and singer Ankit Tiwari’s father R K Tiwari(59). In the second video released, it can be seen that the man had caressed about her shoulder while passing by her side.

In the second case, the accused was a businessman Vikas Sachdeva, a father of a 9 years old daughter. On a Mumbai bound flight, his seat happened to be behind movie star Zaira Wasim(17). However, as alleged by Zaira, the man’s feet rubbed against her shoulder. When she protested, the man apologized. The matter should have been buried there. But after two hours, the woman went live on Instagram narrating the incident dramatically.

Apparently, everybody has a right to determine good touch and bad touch for himself or herself. But while in public life, one cannot adjust her view as the only correct. While both the ladies might have found the touch uncomfortable, they could have registered their protest in a more dignified way. While in the first case, the woman could have verbally asked the man and warn him. In the second case, the girl could have gone to the police if she was not satisfied with the apology. But, they have not done.

In both cases, the women were hasty in making a judgment. They were not even ready to listen to the other side of the story. They almost turn out to be the prosecutor, jury, and executioner to punish the ‘alleged’ culprit. Who would tell them that allegation doesn’t amount to a conviction. Had it been so, there would have been no place for Natural Justice.

The principle of Natural Justice demands that the accused get enough time to represent himself or herself. Only after the exhaustion of all possible means for legal defense, he can be declared a convict. In these two cases, it was a gross violation of this principle. The damage has been done by bringing the men into the public domain. Imagine, if they both are innocent! Can they retrieve back their honour?

It is easy for celebrities but not for common men. Let us not take a toll on the dignity of others. Let us be feminists and not ‘Femi-Nazis’.