How do feminists look?


March 8. Women's Day. A common question is: "Are you a feminist?"

Well, feminism, the new F-word is something that you arguably don't want to associate yourself with. "I am not a feminist but I believe equality can come if..." is the safest way of saying that you are a feminist but you just don't have guts to admit that you are one. For many, being a feminist is an embarrassment.

Why? Mainly because even among the most 'aware' lots, feminists are wrongly interpreted as people who believe in extreme, humorless, anti-men, anti- motherhood and pro-abortion notions.

Considering an article by Avash Karmacharya that appeared on The Kathmandu Post on March 7, we know where women stand in their professional life in Nepal. While Biraj Thapa, an actor, made Rs 300,000 per film actress Richa Ghimire was satisfied with mere Rs 75,000. As far as acting is concerned the latter seems to have more experience and refinement in the profession.

The circumstances aren't any different in most developed countries either. While most men devote all their time and energy at offices to climb the ladder of successes in business or services, women handle both homes and offices. Thus ceteris paribus, considering the amount of energy they divide between home and work, women should get priority when it comes to promotion or pay.

The whole idea of stating this is that feminists advocate equity, for they know that men and women are different and can never be 'equal' unless both of them produce the same hormones in equal amounts. Each has varied psychological needs and priorities. True flexibility must be maintained accordingly with equity in mind.

Secondly, feminism advocates that women must be able to question and challenge in response to physical abuses and violence against women.

Feminism in real sense gives women power to decide on whether they want to keep their father's name or would prefer keeping it after her husband. Some women believe the real substance is in the inner identity rather than in a name. And feminism lets them do just that.

Thus feminists aren't people who blindly ask for parental property or power to knock off their husband. They aren't just the people who stand up in a crowded bus so that a lady can sit. Feminists are also men who only stand up in a crowded bus if they think that the woman in front of them isn't strong enough to make the journey standing. Feminists are also women who are bold enough to say that she doesn't need sympathy and is able to stand up by herself.

Feminism is being practical and just. Feminism is being with your husband for no other reason other than love. Feminism is respecting motherhood. It is being who you are. So would you want to be a feminist now? There is no reason why you shouldn't. (TKP, March 10, 2007)

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