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Does The ‘F’ Word Scare You ?

Cerebration

” I’m a feminist  ” – These three words come across to a lot of people as some sort of a threat. A threat that will overpower men. A threat which will  prove fatal for the established structures of society. A threat that might just lead to the doom of humanity. High time, we clear the blurriness around the world’s most misconstrued and hated ‘F’ Word – Feminism. Feminism is not a threat. Its not a curse. It is indeed a blessing.

When you start speaking/writing about feminism, it’s like diving your nose into a cess pool of ignorant shit. That’s the best analogy I can give here. Most people on hearing the ‘F’ word assume that, to be a feminist is like ,“Get out of my way, I don’t need anyone.” .. or something along the lines of “So you’re a feminist. That means you hate men, right?” Pretty sure those people have no idea what feminism means. There are dozens of people who won’t identify as feminists, probably representing thousands upon thousands of other women (and men) who then won’t either. And they are just perpetuating the idea that being a feminist is a dirty thing to be… which, if you think about it, is probably the best example of why feminism is relevant. I don’t believe that anybody should be pressured into identifying with a group, movement or label. So don’t interpret this as me believing everybody has to identify with something or another. However, I think the problem we have here is that people aren’t identifying as “feminists” when they otherwise would because they don’t want to be associated with the dirty stigma, or rather, they don’t really know what it means to be a feminist. Just because people have demonstrated extreme actions before and identified with “feminists” does not mean that accounts for the concept in and of itself. Feminism, mind you is NOT a dirty word.

But first: what the hell is feminism, anyway? Feminism is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. You hear it – ‘of the sexes’ – not only of women. Many people who are diametrically opposed to the feminist movement believe that it is a ‘war between the sexes,’ and that feminists are campaigning for their rights at the expense of men’s rights. This is what has led to the rise of a ‘Men’s Rights Movement’ (which sadly is not a movement for equality but anti-woman). Feminism is not about hurting men, but about empowering women to be equal to them in all areas of society. Here’s the thing – Feminism is about gender equality. Feminism is “equalism”, which, by the way, isn’t a word. I think “humanist” is the one I’m are looking for. Feminism is about fighting for women to have the same rights and freedoms afforded to men. Feminists want equality, not supremacy. Hating men is a different thing altogether.  Ever heard the term misandrist? It’s like misogynist but for hating men instead of women (feel free to look it up in the dictionary). There’s a difference between “feminists” and “misandrists.”  Yes, ‘misandrist’ is a word people should despise , not feminism.  Feminism and misandry are, by nature, mutually exclusive. You can’t want gender equality on one hand and hate one of the genders on the other. That would make no sense at all. Humanism is the goal we are all striving for. Humanism is the dream.

Pat Robertson had famously said a very obnoxious thing in the 90s, which is – “The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians.” Sadly, the sentiment still rings as true in the ears of many today.  It’s an understatement to say that feminism has a bad rap. It does, sadly though. Feminists don’t hate men. We hate patriarchy. People have got to understand that Feminism is not equal to hating men. Feminist doesn’t mean “ a person who hates men.”  Feminist means “ a person who believes people should have equitable places in society regardless of their gender.”  Some women claiming themselves to be feminists (who have got it all wrong by the way) may be misandrists. But it’s by no means a criterion to join the club. Though they’re not even that loud, but can seem so because the anti-feminists somehow like to cherry pick quotes and ignore the much greater number of feminist writings, people, and organizations that say otherwise.

Some individual females can hate men. It’s irrelevant. What is relevant and what matters is that feminism, distilled down to its absolute core, is about gender equity.  The goal of feminism is to create a society in which individuals’ genders don’t restrict them from an equitable shot at success and happiness. Most feminists actively disagree with the belief that women are better than men and think that feminists who are anti-men are going against the fundamental principles of feminism, which says we’re all deserving and worthy human beings – women, men, trans-genders everyone – and should be treated as such. So men-hating isn’t a part of that goal…Frankly speaking not an issue to be given any weightage.  It’s an unfortunate reactionary sentiment bought into by some people (misandrists) who also identify with the feminist movement.

The whole “feminists hate men” thing has been tossed around for quite a long time now.  It’s not new.  The first feminist women who began advocating for equal status of women in the US did so in the late 1700′s, but it didn’t really pick up steam until the late 1800′s. What crazy radical things were these feminists , you call them man-haters asking for, by the way?  Primarily, the rights to own property, to attend college, and to vote. In response to these requests, they were were labeled as anti-family, anti-God, anti-men radical hedonists.  That labeling has continued to today, because — surprise! — a group with a lot of power (men) tends to do whatever it can to maintain that power (dismiss equal rights as radical). Its not new. It’s happened with every oppressed ethnic group (from the Irish to the Africans) . It happened with oppressed religious groups (from the Catholics to the Muslims).  And it continues today with the oppressed gender group.

Most men aren’t bad ( I can proudly say that about my generation) but somehow think Feminism says they are. In actuality,  sexism is the problem — sexism that a lot of men engage in and a lot of women internalize. Men engage in sexism because they’ve been taught to behave/think that way.  Women internalize it for the same reason. Feminism asks both men and women to critically think about those normalized behavior and its impact, and holds people accountable to sexist thinking and behavior even if they didn’t initially realize it was sexist. So yes, it’s natural to get defensive when someone brings up feminist issues because it’s likely you never thought you were doing anything wrong.  Does that make sexist behavior acceptable?  No. That’s why we need to do a better job as a society to teach people how to treat each other with equity.  That’s what feminism is trying to do here.

Feminists are mothers, daughters, and all kinds of women who have wonderful relationships with men in their lives; however, feminists hate some behavior displayed by men who are misogynistic, who put women down, who believe that women are not equal beings, and who sexualize women. Feminists simply want to be treated equally and with respect. Feminists absolutely do not hate menThe statement is actually formulated to paint all feminists in one broad stroke, which is a shame. Feminism has historically come in different waves starting from the drive for voting rights. To put it simply: not all feminists believe exactly the same thing. It depends on the era they come from and the point of view they have developed. It’s a shame that some men feel intimidated by a woman demanding the right to pay equity and other rights. Asking for men to treat women fairly is not the same as hate.

Feminists simply want women to have an equal place and equal status in society. Feminists are normal beings. They get married, have children, and love the men in their lives. And to be honest, many wonderful feminists actually ARE MEN themselves. They clearly do not hate men. Feminism isn’t about hate. There are some feminists that hate men and those feminists have lost the point of feminism. Feminism by definition is about equality. You might argue that feminism is pointless in the first world, however inequality still does exist.  Women are still not always treated equal and the way I see it, anyone who believes in human rights and equality, is a feminist. Both men and women can be feminists, feminism is about gender equality, so it also includes standing up for men’s rights too. Men are very involved in feminism, we just don’t see them as much. Men understand that these issues impact them as well, that patriarchy and double standards hurt them, and they want things to change.   Feminism has normally been a wonderful movement, evening the turf, fighting for the rights of women and men.

We live in a world of measurable, glaring inequalities. Look at politicians, CEOs, film directors, law enforcement officers, comedians, tech professionals, executive chefs, mathematicians, and on and on and on—these fields are dominated by men. (And, in many cases, white men.) To claim that there is no systemic inequality keeping women and minorities out of those jobs is to claim that men are naturally better. If there is no social structure favoring men, then it stands to reason that men simply work harder and/or are more skilled in nearly every high-level specialized field. It’s fine (though discouraging) if you legitimately believe that, but you need to own up to the fact that that is a self-serving and bigoted point of view. If you do not consider yourself a bigot, then kindly get on board with those of us who are trying to proactively correct inequalities. It is not enough to be neutral and tacitly benefit from inequality while others are left behind through no fault of their own. Anti-sexism, anti-racism, anti-homophobia, anti-transphobia—that’s where we’re at now. Catch up or own your prejudice.

If there’s one movement that upholds the idea of equality – it is feminism. I can say that because there is a whole set of issues concerning men that feminists are working on .Feminists do not want men to lose custody of their children. The assumption that women are naturally better caregivers is part of patriarchy. Feminists do not like commercials in which bumbling dads mess up the laundry and competent wives have to bustle in and fix it. The assumption that women are naturally better housekeepers is part of patriarchy. Feminism never made that claim, patriarchy did and that is why we hate patriarchy. Feminists do not want you to have to make alimony payments. Alimony is set up to combat the fact that women have been historically expected to prioritize domestic duties over professional goals, thus minimizing their earning potential if their “traditional” marriages end. The assumption that wives should make babies instead of money is part of patriarchy. Again patriarchy! Feminists do not want anyone to get raped in prison. Permissiveness and jokes about prison rape are part of rape culture, which is part of patriarchy.  Feminists do not want anyone to be falsely accused of rape. False rape accusations discredit rape victims, which reinforces rape culture, which is part of patriarchy. Feminists do not want you to be lonely and we do not hate “nice guys.” The idea that certain people are inherently more valuable than other people because of superficial physical attributes is part of patriarchy. Feminists do not want you to have to pay for dinner. We want the opportunity to achieve financial success on par with men in any field we choose (and are qualified for), and the fact that we currently don’t is part of patriarchy.

The idea that men should coddle and provide for women, and/or purchase their affections in romantic contexts, is condescending and damaging and part of patriarchy. Feminists do not want you to be maimed or killed in industrial accidents, or toil in coal mines while we do cushy secretarial work and various yarn-themed activities. The fact that women have long been shut out of dangerous industrial jobs (by men, by the way) is part of patriarchy. Feminists do not want you to commit suicide. Any pressures and expectations that lower the quality of life of any gender are part of patriarchy. The fact that depression is characterized as an effeminate weakness, making men less likely to seek treatment, is part of patriarchy. Feminists do not want you to be viewed with suspicion when you take your child to the park (men frequently insist that this is a serious issue, so I will take them at their word). The assumption that men are insatiable sexual animals, combined with the idea that it’s unnatural for men to care for children, is part of patriarchy. Feminists do not want you to be drafted and then die in a war while we stay home and iron stuff. The idea that women are too weak to fight or too delicate to function in a military setting is part of patriarchy. Feminists do not want women to escape prosecution on legitimate domestic violence charges, nor do we want men to be ridiculed for being raped or abused. The idea that women are naturally gentle and compliant and that victimhood is inherently feminine is part of patriarchy. Patriarchy is what we’ve got to criticize, not just criticize – essentially oppose and change. If you really care about the issues mentioned as passionately as you say you do, you should be thanking feminists, because feminism is a social movement actively dedicated to dismantling every single one of them. The fact that you blame feminists—your allies—for problems against which they have been struggling for decades suggests that supporting men isn’t nearly as important to you as resenting women. We care about your problems a lot. Could you try caring about ours?

To all the men who have had shitty lives and mistake that pain for “misandry”: I totally get it.  And I’m sorry if you haven’t found that so far in your life. But it’s not women’s fault, it’s not my fault, and it’s certainly not feminism’s fault. The thing is, you’re not really that different from the women you rail against so passionately —the women who are trying to carve out some space and assert their value in a world of powerful men. Plenty of women know exactly what it feels like to be pushed to the fringe of society, to be rejected so many times that you eventually reject yourself. That alienation is a big part of what feminism is fighting against. A lot of those women would be on your side, if you would just let them instead of insisting that they’re the villains. It’s better over here, and we have room for you. So stop trying to convince us that we hate you and I promise we’ll start liking you a whole lot more.

Life  isn’t fair always, because of coincidence and circumstance and the DNA you were born with, and we all have to accept the hands we’re dealt and live within that reality. But life doesn’t have to be additionally unfair because of imposed systems of disenfranchisement  that only affect certain groups. We can fight against that. Feminism isn’t about striving for individual fairness, on a life-by-life basis—it’s about fighting against a systematic ‘removal of opportunities’ that infringes on women’s basic freedoms. If a woman and a man have equal potential in a field, they should have an equal opportunity to achieve success in that field. It’s not that we want the least qualified women to be handed everything just because they’re women. It’s that we want all women to have the same opportunities as all men to fulfill (or fail to fulfill, on their own inherent merits) their potential. If a particular woman is under qualified for a particular job, fine. That isn’t sexism. But she shouldn’t have to be systematically set up, from birth, to be under qualified for all jobs (except for jobs that reinforce traditional femininity).

Hence, we have a lot of thinking to do as ‘humans’ – not as women , not as men ; just as human beings. We have to really ponder on the fact that every time we refuse to call ourselves a feminist, or make a disparaging comment about “feminists” as a group of people or “feminism” as an ideology and movement, we are inadvertently implying that women don’t deserve gender equality. We are reinforcing the divide that already exists. Feminism, therefore is not a threat, never was. It’s a movement, a change already happening that is benefitting both men and women. It is helping us realize our humanity. It is helping us prevent to image of ourselves imposed by patriarchy as a construct of society. It is helping us unburden ourselves of the continual fear of failing that construct. Feminism is a gift to us. It is a way we can deepen our own humanity and, in fact, sometimes even claim our own humanity for the first time. Humanity that has been long lost. Time to revive it.

I take pride in calling myself a  feminist. Do you ??

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 (With inputs from Lindy West :http://jezebel.com/ & Samantha Bradley : http://birdeemag.com)

Photo Credits :

(http://static4.devote.se/gallery/big/20131110/9b3959f2593f6a0a2ce49c6168c0265f.jpg

,http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/4d/65/e9/4d65e980c320e6030b43526efb014976.jpg)

Akriti Mattu

  • I agree with a lot of what you’ve said here, it did strike a chord. I do really hate all the gender-stereotypes of what is expected or ‘fitting’ for a man or woman to be/do. But I know from experience that we can’t get away from the fact that this kind of thinking is still largely prevalent, an that is really sad.

    I myself am not very ‘girly’ and if I’m honest I don’t think it would do me good to be so. I’m only as good at domestic chores as I need to be to get by, I’m pretty bad with ‘yarn-themed’ things(seriously, a few days ago I tried to crochet a present for a friend and it did my head in and left me a killer headache, who said that stuff was therapeutic?) and I can’t say I’m good with kids. All that is ‘stereotypically’ masculine behaviour and is viewed as such because of entrenched attitudes which I hate. There shouldn’t be a ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ in terms of roles and jobs.

    I’ve found as well that it is thought a little strange if a man calls himself a feminist, it’s got the image of a to-women-for-women-by-women thing. And yes, for this reason some men and women too refrain from associating with it.

    -The Ace

    • Hey i appreciate you thinking that way 🙂

      • Why thank you 😛

      • bewilderbees

        With you sister. I’m the guy in your cartoon who says Hi! I’m a feminist!

        • How awesome of you to put it that way 🙂

    • Nitish

      Great work again…Your views….your thoughts …your thinking ….done a great job ….Keep writting …:))

  • Alok sinha

    Your blog is brilliantly written and will must help the women to raise their voice & confidence.Every wommen should read this and proudly say these F word ..with full zest and paramount means.Women now should not feel scared or minority feeling, they should be treated equally.

  • Hi there, I wanted to comment on your blog as I have no other way of contacting you. I think you have mis-judged my video. Most comedies focus on mocking stereo types and mine is exactly that. I am not mocking feminism. But I am mocking the stereo types that lie in our culture today. You see it is not just people outside of feminism that are ignorant. But alot of feminists themselves. They can also be ignorant to what feminism really means. That is what my video is about- besides it is a comedy channel.

    Thanks anyway, and I love your writing!!

  • Divya Sarjolta

    yes absolutely!! ‘equality of the
    sexes’ thats the essence… And since women have been the socially and economically disadvantaged group, the main focus is their upliftment.. and that by no means amounts to denigrating the position of a man in the society.
    And i need not say… yet again a brilliant piece akriti! well done:-)

  • Akshat

    SUPERB POST Akriti.
    You nailed it when you wrote – “The fact that you blame feminists—your allies—for problems against which they have been struggling for decades suggests that supporting men isn’t nearly as important to you as resenting women.” How true is that.

    I can say proudly every woman/man supporting equality will always be a feminist 🙂

    Well done!!

  • raammenon

    well written. a much needed sensible perspective on a vastly misunderstood word. I look forward to reading more of what you write. keep it up

  • Anthony Carillo

    Yeah this F word scares the shit outta people. I call those people cowards.
    Cool article this is.
    +1 for you. 🙂

  • Thanks a ton for you sparing your time and giving me your input. This comment adds so much more to what i already mentioned. I’m glad a lot of men like you understand the sentiment and feel proud in calling themselves feminists. This world still has hope, i can say that now.

    CHEERS 🙂

  • A much appreciated blog I found here. Thanks Rajesh K Mailasi for suggesting me.

    • Akriti

      i appreciate u reading it 🙂

  • A nice thought and actually a good way to define feminism. Frankly I have always been victim to the thought process of people who think that me being a feminist means I hate men . I have been victim of dirty jokes made about me, but all in all I never gave them much importance as I did understand the low standards of thought process and education such people have gone through. I liked this article a lot. Good work really

  • Thank you so much for writing this. I can say that I was a person who always thought Feminist’s to be people who hate men, but this brilliant blog post has cleared a much deluded empty head of mine to conclude that there is much more than that. I have never read anything so strong and compelling for some time now.
    As far as the topic goes I think at-least 60% of the men in the world have the nature of being dominant towards women and this has happened only because of the way the world functions from the beginning of time. But people like you can surely make a difference, you have something withing you that others don’t. Make that spark count and empower more women to be as strong as you. I’m not just saying this for the sake of it.

    “Be the change you wish to see in this world” -Gandhi.

    • I’m glad what i wrote cleared the blurriness . And this coming from a man is an excellent thing 🙂

  • I couldn’t agree less! In our society, feminists, specially make feminists are seen as an outcast! And that’s cos none of us really know what feminism stands for. Very well written! Keep it up 🙂

  • SME

    Made an interesting reading. No, the word doesn’t scare me at all. The reason perhaps is the sustained campaign such as yours have not only exposed the hypocrisy of men folks who have had a strong (myopic) view about equality of women in society but also helped diminishing the population of those cynics to only a ‘few and far between’. Good job. Keep it up.
    Now the scare is the word ‘E’ (Echo). The word ‘F’ gets only echoeing back as there are not too many who could take a strong stance against feminism.

  • Gunjan Bhattacharjee

    Does the question scare me?
    Yes I would say initially, as an ignorance towards to the real meaning of what ‘Feminism’ actually meant. Never saw gender inequality while growing par se, but those mild hints of inequalities that you mentioned about some ‘set of works only to done by female’ well they were there and infact still ‘are’.
    Coming back to the point, What’s my take on this? Well, for starters got the bigger picture and understood I was actually against ‘inequality’ with some milder symptoms of a ‘misogynist’ ( that may sound funny) and now beinf more clear about the word and what it means things are much simpler and what needs to done as a member of the society is much more clear.
    Thanks to your writing this will help me as a teacher to bring about the change that we all want to see, one child at a time. Great work.

  • I agree wid some of ur lines even i appreciate ,,bt my point of view is different in some …. overall it is nice …well done …. 🙂

    • I’ll be glad if you could share that ‘different’ point of view. Always good to hear that.:)

  • Vicku Singh

    Awesome Description OF The F Word…

  • Aditya Diwaker

    It Was Pleasure Reading Nd The 9th Stanza Was Extremely Good Nd Yup A Beautiful Description Of The Word F…Well Done Pleasant Job.:)

    • So glad u read it and understood that context in that stanza 🙂
      So proud to have men like u in my generation. its a slap on the faces of a lot of people who are here only to spread their crappy intolerance. I call them Attention seeking Weirdos

  • Brilliant effort to raise obscure mentality of most men. Everyone talks of common participation but only few want it for real !

  • I like your post, love the detailing! And I so agree with it. Its all about hating the act and finding a way to make sure it does not repeat, and not about hating the gender as a whole behind it!! 🙂

    • i’m glad u gave it a reading 🙂

  • kara

    Hey there
    I love the message behind the post very much. I’m a girl and I’m not even a little ashamed of admitting that I’m a feminist.
    Anyway, talking about the post…I think blog posts are supposed to be short and crisp. You’re a good writer but try focusing the length of the post next time.

    • Shall keep that in mind.

      It went long this time maybe coz’ the topic was close to my heart .Will make amends next time 🙂

  • I knew Akriti can write some ” out of the planet” views, so this masterpiece doesn’t come as a surprise to me. But the way the ideas are expressed and the flow of content, too good. Honestly, i too wasn’t aware about such broad meaning of Feminist before this, and thanks for opening me too. The part that there is an “F” word more popular and significant than one we all know,will take most of us by surprise but as you read, you realize it indeed is. Kudos to Akriti for putting that in the manner she did!!

  • Too many cooks have encouraged d broth is what comes to my mind when misogyny is wht we r talking about ! Tht is because tht is exactly d way we have been brought up, a way where eceryone around blabbers “thts not ur job tht is hers ! ” and taking up an issue like “feminism” is like snapping d age old practices & filthy myths from their already weakening roots !
    Now its not about spreading awareness about the gender equality issue or feminism as u may call it, its about forwarding a new set of ideals and a new stack of content to d next generation ! Injecting a sense of feminism wud again be backtracking to misoandry ! Coz our job is not to inject but to enlighten them with the right !

    • Agreed but its not so much about injecting actually as much as it is about clearing the air, which a lot of people are polluting.

      Thanks for your input though.

  • Flawless, Mattu. Hope it serves as an eye opener to those who’ve misunderstood feminism all along. Proud of you! 🙂

    • Akriti

      🙂

  • feminist and proud ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, you are a wonderful writer ,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • All forms of exploitation is through economic exploitation. Lets say mother of all exploitation is economic based.
    Women, who hold half the sky, must be at par with their counter part. They must be economically free to choose their career, partner and life style. In a world, where more than 1 billion humans, including women and children, are starving, where less than 3% people control natural wealth and market of the Earth, must be changed!
    Women’s emancipation must be linked to their economic chain, clubbed with political, social and sexual exploitation!

  • Vivek Brahmbhatt

    Where to start and where to end, well there is no start and end point. Even Brahma and Vishnu couldn’t find where the ling came from? If titans couldn’t, then who are we? Even Fleming surrendered with black hole theory. It takes me back to debate class where a girl stood at her point about sati ( women oppressed by men) in opposition I questioned her, who was 1st sati? Why she became sati? Was she coerced to do that? Everyone knows that Goddess Parvati sacrificed herself in pyre for her husband’s insult. If its becoming boring then let me move from Amar Chitra Katha. Let us talk about Soc. Sci. where does this endless wants arises, a men can even live with basics F.C & S.
    Though, Feminism and Misandry are two different words and thoughts but rather stating both of them as mutually exclusive, I would say both are points in linear relationship where feminists ascends to misandry. They say that feminism is about equal status for both sexes in this society. But who decides this equilibrium? Feminism might be love for females and isn’t about hatred for men. But females loving themselves isn’t that self-centered idea. Does it mean that feminism is subordinate of narcissism? Equality can be retained when two opposites love each other. A term & thought of feminism shouldn’t arise in a society where male loves females and visceral versa. Doesn’t love equalise, isn’t that fair enough? Yeah but if there’s question of B.D.S.M then of course it won’t. Nobody wants to be submissive in either case and there starts hustle & tussle. In Da Vinci code, it was said that women are more open and men are inclined by nature. Even OSHO said men are best at meditation and women are best at hypnosis if both are mixed, the blend is natural power. If there is complain for men shuttering their Ladies for not working strenuously in outfields because they wanted to retain their aesthetics, isn’t that justifiable? Their passionate love and their sacrifices.
    Yeah feminism does arises when malicious acts like rape, wife battering & philandering exists in society. Do respect women because one is our mother. Yeah but Glass – Ceiling effect is something xoxo. Nowadays they’re in Prada, isn’t that enough, what more? Yeah but in know its endless.

    • “Nowdays in Prada”..just coz’ u have women like that around you. It is very easy to pass judgement. Things on the ground are way different.

      The fact is that society is changing for sure. Whatever the pace but it is changing. The problem now is that ‘some’ people (i hope your’e not one of them) are having real big issues accepting that change. They do not realize that even the theory of evolution states that only those members of a species can survive ,which are adaptable. Rest of the members not adaptable to change wither away. Hence the real thing is – women are slowly coming out of the closets , carving a niche for themselves and doing pretty well. However there are a lot others who still are behind those closets. So we still have a lot of word to do. So saying that feminism isn’t relevant anymore is a hyperbole.
      As for you pal, i insist that don’t just state your point because you have an issue with the F word . Read it through then your’e welcome to state your opinion. This post was NOT about women’s issues. It was about the myth , the rumour with which a movement like feminism has been maligned with . And that too just coz’ a few people totally misunderstood the meaning and importance of the movement. Others get threatened coz’ they feel their comfort zone is being taken away from them. What they forget is that comfort zone is there for every human being . Not just them!!

      I’m quoting a few lines here –

      “As long as women account for only 15.6% of directors on most company boards, I am a feminist.

      As long as one of the highest causes of death for a woman, both in Asia and the world, is violence at the hands of a man, I am a feminist.

      As long as women, in many places around the world, are still not afforded the right to vote, I am a feminist.
      (Surprised? )

      As long as women, both socially and legally, are denied the same autonomy over their own sexuality afforded to men and, and as long as sexual double standards exist, I am a feminist.

      As long as the decisions women make about their own bodies, such as when to start a family and how many children to have are issues of public discourse, issues over which votes are fought, I am a feminist.”

  • That’s an interesting and intelligent essay–thanks for sharing. I grew up at a time when being ‘feminist’ meant you weren’t supposed to want marriage and children. It’s taken us all a while to sort out what we mean by the word, but discussions like yours help us make progress.

    • 🙂

    • Could not agree more, I come from a third wave of feminists from South Asia that have braced this type of negativity from so-called fellow feminists. It is also funny to see the self proclaimed feminists taking digs at the accomplishments at married feminists successes and having a go with ” what do you know about feminism, you are no longer one of us.”
      Weren’t feminists supposedly all standing together in support of women rights and gender equality? I am still wary when people label me a feminist because of this and a variety of issues that feminists continue to ignore. But most of my work is on gender and I believe in equality of sexes.

      • Thank you so much for this comment 🙂

        • I like your work very much. In solidarity 🙂

          • yup in solidarity 🙂 and thank you 🙂

  • Anup Jain

    OK. I read it and this is not about the ‘F’ word which I actually thought. 😀
    I’m amazed how do you write about such complex and often misunderstood issues in such a simpler and lucid manner. Brilliant piece. Absolutely brilliant.

    It clears the misconception of many people ( who are mostly ignorant and belong to that category of people who have learnt to hate the word feminism without knowing its exact meaning )
    And the world is full of such people. This piece is an eye opener. It must be shared to as many people as possible.

    I don’t have anything to say in contrast to your blog. I agree with you on almost everything. And after reading this, I can proudly say I’m a feminist too.
    But my personal opinion is that until and unless there is a radical change in human consciousness, nothing will change. There is a devil in everyone and unless a greater understanding of life surfaces in men, women will be treated the same.
    The world has always been like that.

    But the good part is some sane voices like you are changing it. There is a hope.
    And I respect the spirit in which this article is written. Abhinandan _/_
    People like you make this world beautiful and yeah with such a clarity of thoughts and understanding of things , no men around you should be shit sacred of any word. Let alone the ‘F’ word. 😀 😀

    PS – You should write a book.

    • ..And like always , this is such an insightful comment. Best part about the feedback on this post this time was that it mostly came from men, and that too POSITIVELY 🙂
      ..And when every time a man like you calls himself a feminist, i feel so proud of our generation . Kudos for that . 🙂

      As for a book, someday for sure .

      THANKS A TON FOR THE FEEDBACK 🙂

  • Oh, I could go in response, but I won’t (mostly due to the large amount of homework sitting next to me).

    I loved this and agreed with most of it. The class I’m taking is mostly looking at the root of gender oppression as capitalism and that terrifies people. Now that I’m saying I might be a socialist feminism, it’s like I’m double the awfulness of just a normal feminist.

    There were a lot of points that you made that really called out to feminism and the way of gender equality and what it allows.

    Thanks for writing!

  • Great read and many new information for me..
    Thanks for the great post..:)

  • Hi Akriti,
    Love the way you write. I to am a feminist. I know many men say that, but I’ve always supported gender equality. We NEED more women in Politics. I love Elizabeth Warren. She took on the banks and wall street and has great potential to lead and finally change America to where we should be. I know it’s not politically correct to support Hillary but to me she is politics as usual. She supported the war in Iraq, that enough for me.
    Can’t understand why ANY caring women support the GOP anti-woman policies. I know not to be political, but I can’t help my heart from getting in the way of my brain.
    Marty

    • Its an honour to receive feedback from an awesome blogger like you 🙂

      • Feeling is reciprocal. Have a great day!!
        Marty

  • Excellent post and well said. Thanks again for taking a gander at my blog and I’m happy to have found yours! Feminist ideals are something to be very proud of. I hope for a time when “feminist” is no longer a dirty word. Where people have a better sense and understanding of what it means to be a feminist so that it can be proudly showcased and discussed intelligently.

    • Means a lot. 🙂

      I’m glad i have sensible people commenting here. Don’t need ant MRM douchebags 😀

  • Excellent and eye opening read! You faced all of the misconceptions and explained them in a relatable and interesting way. 🙂

    • Thanks for that feedback 🙂

  • Good job Akriti, it was a pleasure getting a feedback from you on my post too. Keep up the good work!

  • On the contrary,l do write and defend women issues,women enslavement,human trafficking,and civil rights.Women are half of any society ,without them that society is doomed to fall and fail.Thank you for liking my post “the almond tree.”Regards.jalal

  • My Dear Akriti, Good to read Yours. …Am not one who is frightened of the ‘F’ word, as You will see from my writings. I Support, Work and Fight for Equality and Appreciation of the Feminine. …Regarding this post, You have enough material for 3 posts! Kudos, keep up the Good work.

  • It was great to read your essay. I hope it goes viral 🙂

    http://jezebel.com/gloria-steinem-at-80-she-looks-good-and-everyone-wants-1550423107

  • Divya

    Aw come one… again trying to make ppl believe lies. If feminism is about equality it would fight for gender neutral laws and not antimale draconian laws in India. You can continue to sweeten up the word feminism but the bitter truth that people around the world know is that it is an unguided weapon of mass destruction that is doing its work. MRM will eventually overcome it. You have no replies to statistics, logic posed by the MRM. U thrive on an eternal exalted victimhood of women. Patriarchy was long smashed and never existed in the first place. U need something to hate and call that patriarchy … actually u guys hate men. Men who support feminism are wimps, simps or manginas always willing to kowtow to feminist females due to pussy power and their eagerness to score brownie points and get get laid.

    Men suffer more:
    – 2 times more suicides by men
    – 98% of dowry cases against them are proved false
    – 75% of rape cases against them are proved false.
    – Higher number of male child labour
    – More sexual violence against them.
    – More violence against them
    – 95% of crimes are against men

    • I will believe the CRAP you said right now only if you can provide me with statistics to your claim. OFFICIAL STATISTICS . Bring em’ on if you have any.

      Don’t you ever make false claims on my blog. Get that straight here. I hope you don’t chicken out ! Waiting for the official records.
      P.S Next time have the balls to comment from your own id. Don’t impersonate . pretty lame !!

      • Divya

        Unbelievable you dont know of these statistics at all.
        Anyways where are your stats?

    • Akshat

      HAHA men who support feminism want to get laid. Haven’t heard a more pathetic thing than this.I wonder if these MRM guys don’t ever have sex? Virgins all of you ? MRM is the most misogynist thing . All it has is a bunch of losers without any life and definitely without any women. They can be called sissys. That i guess is the difference between feminism and MRM . Feminism talks about equality and MRM about crushing women.
      The fact that not once have you mentioned on your blog anything against men, yet the MRM losers have issues PROVES they are a chauvinistic group of retrograde imbeciles who don’t realize the year is 2014. Nobody cares for them therefore all they can do is abuse online and even then nobody listens. The most interesting fact is that most of the people who oppose MRM and support feminism are men themselves.
      So they can sulk as much as they can.Who cares for you turds . Had your dads cared for your moms more , you would not be going nuts your life 😀

      • This coming from a man can be a face palm to these bunch of wannabes . I actually feel bad for them. 😀
        This Divya (apparently) female, (actually) male tried doing some really lame shenanigans here. The retard didn’t realize that he will be asked to prove his self created statistics. He failed at it . Now i’m guessing he’s sulking in a corner putting his thumb in his mouth and looking for more blogs on feminism to bash but apparently he’ll fail there too so will sulk again
        😀 😀
        Must be having mommy issues !!

    • Akshat

      I’m cruising through Men’s Right’s threads on Reddit, looking for the right one to get the ball rolling. And lo, like a shining beacon, was So Many Women are Posting About Why They “Need Feminism”. Figured I’d Say Why I Need the Men’s Right Movement.

      Wow. There’s just… so much going on here. I’m trying to keep an open mind, but damn, that’s not easy. I tried to read to the bottom of the thread, I really did. I spent two days doing it, but then I had to stop.

      The comments were numerous, and on the surface seemed different. But then the pattern became clear. They weren’t different, they were the same five comments over and over. So I’ve broken them down statistically.

      That’s right: statistical analysis may reveal why we “need the Men’s Rights Movement”, from most to least frequent.

      41% of comments basically say, “a chick was mean to me!”

      I need men’s rights because my ex-girlfriend shouldn’t be allowed to trash my stuff opines one chap.

      Second place is a tie! With a whopping 20% each, we have:

      “I feel generally persecuted by the world!” and, “Why can’t I rape who I want?”

      I’m not being reductive. One guy needs men’s rights because I shouldn’t have to record every interaction with female colleagues just to prove I didn’t rape them.

      Yep.

      At a meagre 10% are those simply plagued by the age-old conundrum: “Fucking bitches, ammi right?” They’re almost cute.

      And least common, but most verbose, are the dudes who need men’s rights because “AAARGH! AAAAAARRRGH! PUNCH!”

      I can’t really bring myself to quote from one of them, but you can just combine the word “cunt” with as many homophobic slurs as you can think of, and you’ll get there.

      FROM :
      http://violetdowntherabbithole.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/the-mens-rights-movement/

    • Divya Sarjolta

      first.. i strongly object to use of the name ‘divya’ for all the crap that you have mentioned here.
      one question:whats the source of the data… ” Association of misogynists?”
      coming to the data i strongly suggest you to go through these
      http://www.unric.org/en/uk-a-ireland-news-archive/28258-key-statistics-on-violence-against-women-and-girls-
      http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/Worldswomen/WW2010%20Report_by%20chapter(pdf)/violence%20against%20women.pdf
      http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/85239/1/9789241564625_eng.pdf

      now go ‘cry baby’ argue with the United Nations!

      • In their face 😀
        We believe in facts, not fiction 🙂

  • To this dude impersonating as a female DIVYA (WHO HAS BEEN ABUSIVE IN HIS COMMENTS, So am not publishing the abusive comments) – what are you illiterate ? where have i mentioned stats in my blog? You saw any ? Where do you think from ?You a** ?

    You stated some really fraudulent statistics in your obnoxious reply full of desperation to bash feminism (which by the way your totally failed) . YOU HAVE NO STATS. Next time you wana debate here , argue on facts , not prejudices!! Plus do a little research online . Get some real facts. Your’e talking about things like violence/sexual violence/ male child labour . How did you miss out on the fact that violence against men is not just committed by women, but by men themselves. Male child labour is again done by male capitalists, not women and how could you not talk about men raping men. You should be fighting against that too but ur not coz’ your movement is just about bashing women and putting all ur blame on women itself. No wonder gay men who actually need mens rights DO NOT support your movement. MRM therefore is a sham. Continue to live in your fool’s paradise. You’ll feel safe there 😀
    Feel like quoting the gentleman here – “Had your dads cared for your moms more , you would not be going nuts your life.”

    By the way THANKS FOR PROVING that the F Word does scare the hell outta you and that is HILARIOUS!
    Sympathies with you since you made a complete fool out of yourself here.
    Keep visiting but with facts next time. Kindly get your head out of your ass. High time.

    P.S. Next time comment as ‘you’ not as a weak being disguised as a woman, supporting MRM douche bags. MAN UP!!

  • For the dude impersonating as ‘DIVYA’ and any MRM followers visiting my blog in the future. Here are the OFFICIAL statistics for crime against women in India, taken from the Lok Sabha Secretariat of the Indian Parliament. You can now bow down your heads in shame forever !!

    http://164.100.47.134/intranet/Crimeagainstwomen.pdf

    • According to this article, there were 24,270 rapes in India, which has a population of 1.27 billion. The United States had 164,270 rapes (against women) in 2008, and has a population of about 313 million. TIL that it is much safer to be a woman in India than in the United States

      • In that case too bad for the women there .

  • I’ve been following the feminism movement since the 1960s, and I’ve been disappointed that it didn’t become more widespread. We certainly have changed a lot in the last five decades, but I expected more. But I think the failure falls on both men and women. Why are there so many rapes in the military and on college campuses? Our society should be beyond that not. We’re enlightened enough to encourage women to join the military, but we cover up the sexual crimes? That’s so schizo.

    Women have a lot more opportunity than they did when I was a kid, and they have a lot more freedom, but I’m not sure if we’re wiser. A comparison would be, we live in a much more technological civilization now, but I’m not sure if the average person is any more scientifically aware. I think we live in society where it’s much better for women, but I’m not sure if we know why, or what we’re still missing. Feminism was the intellectual understanding, and for the most part males and females have rejected the study of that discipline.

    • Agreed !!!
      Thanks for your input 🙂

  • Very good post. I see you had the typical MRA snotty nose privileged dude posting cherry picked crap. I am always astounded when people talk about India as some gynocracy where women are running the entire country.

    I critique MRA’s on my blog, exclusively, and I found MRA’s talking about India being such a bad place for men, aside from my country, Canada, which they think is the worst place to be a man! LOL

  • I open doors for women, and let them go first (if I think of it at the moment…). Is that coddling in your opinion? Am I a bigot because I do so?
    When I go out with a woman, I (generally, not always), pay for the meal, drinks, whatever. Does that mean I think women are stupid and weak?
    I worship women because they can have babies, and I can’t. What does that mean, with regard to feminism?
    I think people, as individuals, simply need to relax a bit.
    I like your definition of feminism, but I think many women who call themselves feminists don’t share your view. In other words, there are just as many women as men out there who don’t understand what feminism “should” mean. Many of those who do understand don’t think of themselves as feminists, and many who don’t understand are among the most vehement and vocal “feminists”.
    I also have a problem with movements like feminism, just like I have a problem with the typical understanding of males. They tend to prevent people from being individuals, from being themselves. They are predefined societal norms, wether they are accepted norms or norms that are vying for acceptance.
    The very term “feminism” also suggests, in contrast to your definition, a sort of oppositional stance. It’s no wonder people misunderstand it, since the word itself is misleading, assuming your definition is correct. Semantically speaking, it doesn’t say anything about equality. Call it humanism, or equality, and I’ll be all for it. The moment you call it feminism, you are laying down a dividing line.
    People have to learn to deal with dominant women and submissive men, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to be a dominant man or a submissive woman. It has nothing to do with the value of an individual person, either way. I do not believe men and women are equal, any more than I believe any single human being is equal to another. We are all different, we are all individuals, we are not equal. The point being that, though none of us are equal, we are all equally valuable.

    • But the problem is that people don’t think ,”all are equally valuable.” That should have been the stance for sure but it just isn’t.

      Had the world learnt to respect differences, we would never ever need a movement like Feminism or for that matter MRM (Which somehow doesn’t make any sense to me since they lost the real purpose).

      As for people misunderstanding Feminism and maligning it – BIG TIME. It actually comes down to this . If your’e truly a feminist, your’e pro choice, pro life. Thats it.

      • I guess part of my point is that I don’t think you will ever teach people to respect each other with oppositional movements. You will call forth opposition in turn, like feminism has called forth the men’s rights movement.
        I”ll play devil’s advocate here for a moment and ask you: who are you to define what feminism is?
        Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not trying to put you down. I am not a mysogenist, nor am I a “typical man” (does such a thing even exist?)
        If you must oppose, then oppose prejudice, and not just prejudice vis-á-vis women.

        • I am opposing prejudice. Read my blog one more time. I’ve discussed in detail the prejudice that exists in society not just against women but also against men. That is why society imposes stereotypes which are uncomfortable to both. Those stereotypes are suffocating.

          As for the definition, it isn’t my definition. That is what Feminism is about. It was always about this. If some people want to develop a sort of selective bias, its entirely their problem . Those are the same people who are oppressive to both men and women. What they don’t realize is that change is inevitable. Its happening at a pace much faster than what they thought. Their self created comfort zone is being toppled completely. Hence all the intolerance. But again its their problem because the space available (n i mean metaphorically here) was never exclusively owned by just one gender. That space is to be shared by both men and women. Neither women get that space exclusively nor men. High time we need to RESPECT THE DIFFERENCES. In fact we need to CELEBRATE THE DIFFERENCES.

          Good thing is a lot of people , at least of my generation are re-defining gender roles as per themselves. Proud of such people. Since every single individual on this planet has the absolute right to live and make choices which suits them.

          As for your feedback , always welcome. I don’t judge people .even if they are on the other side on the argument , their feedback is still welcome. The only feedback i don’t allow here is an abusive one. Everything else will always be respected here.

  • Brilliant job at setting the record straight.

  • I think I’ve finally met someone who posts longer posts than me. And gets equally lengthy comments!

    Like religion, I think we are pretty much in agreement on feminism, maybe my terminology is slightly more radical than yours, but our principles are the same.

    You are right that feminism does get bad press and your analysis of misguided views is spot-on. I tend to focus on the negative linguistic and visual aspects, because that’s something I know about. Having said that, I will write about increasing DV aka domestic murder, lac of education, poverty – oh the list is endless and too depressing. It’s hard to balance calling attention to something that has NOT gone away and sounding like a bleeding heart. So I mix it.

    • I would love to read more on the linguistic aspect. I have read it though but not as much as you i’m sure so will read more on your blog 🙂

  • femandme

    Just want to say – thank you. This was very refreshing to read.

  • The issue of defining “feminism” is fraught with difficulties but I feel that you have gone to the heart of the issue.

    I think you might enjoy this YT video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lET-WXTsSwc

    • Thanks.

      The video is pretty derisive.

  • to me, being a feminist is the same thing as being a humanist. how can you love humanity without loving women? the shit’s impossible.

  • yep.

  • Thank you for linking me to this!
    What a wonderful piece, plus i’m super proud that i managed to read it all (dyslexic).
    Stay strong Akriti, we will change things!

    • Sure we will. Thanks for your time 🙂

  • I am a Feminist and I am not even a female. Also, the “feminists hate men” thing is a “cop out” of patriarchal and chauvenistic (sp?) origin

  • I was particularly interested in your reference to the sexualisation of women. There appears to be disagreement within Feminism as to what sexualisation is. To take a concrete example many Feminists attack prostitution due to a belief that it is wrong for men to “buy” women and many call for the introduction of a law making it an offence to purchase sex. Others who identify as Feminists argue “my body, my choice” and do not perceive prostitution as being inherently exploitative. I would be interested to know where you stand on the issue?

    • Alright.

      I go with the concept of “my body, my choice’. Prostitution should be legal actually coz’ unless it is, the women who are sex workers do not get any benefit whatsoever – no health insurance, no welfare schemes, nothing. In fact they are under paid. Maybe that is why in countries like U.S and Thailand, sex workers enjoy a lot of benefits, and that is really good. Exploitation happens only when women and children are made victims of trafficking . But if governments legalize, that exploitation will stop.

      So basically if there are women want to be a part of it, that cannot be called as exploitation. But if they are being forcibly a part of it , and many times without them even knowing about what they’re getting into, it definitely is the worst form of exploitation.

      That is why a highly paid stripper in Vegas can not be compared to a sex worker in Calcutta, India. There is a striking contrast. In third world countries, prostitution is definitely deplorable. Its the worst form of violation of the human rights coz’ there isn’t any consent at all. Plus with the number of AIDS cases in sex workers rising, there is really a problem.

      • I agree with you. If you Google mumsnet prostitution you will find quite a few interesting discussions on the Feminist boards regarding sex work and, in particular the proposal by Amnesty International to decriminalise sex work. Most of the posters are of the view that men who pay for sex should be criminalised but others, including a number of sex workers argue that criminalising the buying of sex would, in effect also criminalise the women engaged in prostitution thereby making their lives more difficult. I have signed up to your blog and look forward to reading further posts. Kevin

        • Thanks for signing up.

  • I finally had a second to come by and read your article. It’s very well written and brings out a lot of good points.

    To claim there is a systematic inequality holding women down is difficult to believe. In the past it’s definitely been true, but these days there are so many women making more money than men, following their career dreams, and generally doing what they want I would think that idea to be pretty archaic. To continue to propagate the concept in western culture encourages more women to believe in an almost eradicated era. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, with people fighting for something that already exists.

    I live in a culture where sexism and patriarchy are a real, daily occurrence. Where women have their voting rights stripped and the IDEA of women in power hasn’t even become a thing to fight for. If a man leaves his wife and children she’s relegated to working in the sweatshops or maybe washing clothes for a more prominent family if she doesn’t want to beg.

    I’ve already done a post where I broke down an article about feminism from a feminist pov or I would ask to do this one. Maybe in the future after some time has passed between articles I’ll re-address it if you’d like.

  • Sure. What aspects do you want to re-address?
    Thanks for that feedback by the way 🙂

  • Well put!

  • Whenever any post has the tag ‘Feminism’, I am drawn towards it. Before reading your article I was clueless about the answer but now I know why. Your post had the potential to make me realize that yes, there is a feminist inside me. And maybe that’s why I chose my first blog’s theme to be ‘feminism’. But, a harsh reality is that from ages we have been asking for equality. Anyone paid heed? No! Maybe some handful people, that’s it. Women’s rights in today’s patriarchy are of least importance to this male chauvinistic society. We ask for equality, they give us reservation. So we need to ask for ‘superiority’ and maybe then these ‘enlightened’ men can think of providing us with equality in the long run. And, yes, I am also proud to be a feminist. Cheers!

  • Great post
    It is not everyday when you come across a post like this

    • I appreciate you visiting here 🙂

  • Agree. It’s important for us all to know exactly what feminism means (a recent case: Shailene Woodley in the press http://www.bustle.com/articles/23476-hey-shailene-woodley-your-definition-of-feminism-is-really-really-problematic).

    Misinformation breeds more misinformation.

  • Right On ! I’m sooooo with you on this one 🙂 Cheers ! x

  • I agree with you the F word does scare some people because of it is misunderstood. Feminist are not portrayed as regular women. It is so sad to see how such an important movement and concept as been distorted such many view feminists as angry, ugly bullies who intend take away family values, dismiss motherhood and dominate men. Equality is difficult so is progress and change. I believe young women like you and articles such as this make the movement proud.

    • Thanks for saying that 🙂

  • Pingback: Elements within Modern Day Feminist Culture | Kanthala Raghu()

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  • The word is misunderstood and twisted by those who wish to define it in their own close-minded way.

  • This is great! You know, I’ll admit my first idea of feminism was scary man haters who don’t shave and don’t wear bras. Throughout college I have taken an Intro to Woman’s Studies course followed by a Psychology of Women and Gender course and learned very quickly how misguided this notion was. Low and behold I spent my entire life as a feminist and I didn’t even realize it. I love that you keep spreading the knowledge

    • I’m glad I could change the way u though about feminism, and you know now what it stands for. Even better that you were a feminist all along.

      As for not shaving and wearing bras, well that I guess a group of women advocating the idea of ,”militant feminism” do. For me, that is not even a part of feminism.

      Feminism stands for equality, always will 🙂

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  • The issue with gender separation on anything is that you have the people that want to be treated equally, but it becomes a position of awkward for people in leadership roles. Societies framework still lives in the past when it comes to having a nurturing approach toward women, it isn’t to say that they don’t ‘need’ that, but to say that there isn’t a large percentage of women that like this, as well as exploit it, would be a lie.
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  • Thanks again for bringing me here 🙂 for any of your readers who want a different view heres a link http://ritadiamonds.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/i-am-not-a-feminist/ 🙂

  • You my friend, are what is right with the feminist community! The progress of humanity and not the divide between men and women. Thank you for commenting on my post and sending me yours. My post doesn’t go in anywhere near the amount of detail, but I enjoyed the read. It is encouraging to know that a person (like you) has the confidence to stand up for the raised wages of women and turn around to stand up for the belittlement of men.

    🙂

  • SORRY! Posted it in the wrong place, but you get the point!
    You my friend, are what is right with the feminist community! The progress of humanity and not the divide between men and women. Thank you for commenting on my post and sending me yours. My post doesn’t go in anywhere near the amount of detail, but I enjoyed the read. It is encouraging to know that a person (like you) has the confidence to stand up for the raised wages of women and turn around to stand up for the belittlement of men.

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  • Shivani

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