Feminism Unleashing the Backstage -By Chowdhury Maliha Mizan
The movement which mainly fights for equality and that is not only for men and women but also for people of all genders, races, sexual orientations, religions, social classes so on is called feminism. In other words feminism fights for people of society. Feminism aims to free men from social expectations like provide for one’s family, having to hide one’s emotions and more.
The first wave of feminism came about during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Women wanted the same opportunities as men, most notably- the right to vote. Thus the women’s suffrage movement was born. The first women’s right convention was held in Seneca Falls in 1848 where a declaration was drafted and signed. It called for the right to vote, equal education rights and treatment under the law. But it took until 1920 when white women were granted the right to vote through the 19th amendment. During 1960s the second wave came and tackled more controversial issues like reproductive rights and women in the workplace. Feminists during this era focused on passing the Equal Rights Amendment which would ensure that civil rights for all regardless of sex. It passed in 1972. The third wave of feminism came during the 1990s and embraced the idea that women can be assertive and powerful. This challenged the gender norm. More powerful and dynamic characters were featured in pop culture, with shows like ‘Buffy-the Vampire Slayer and ‘Sex and the City’.
Women empowerment means to give efficiency to women to participate in the society, politics and also economic arena fully and genuinely. In our society there are women who are still consistently paid less and they expected to be child-bearers, expected to cook, clean etc are being out of proportion and the victims of rape and domestic abuse among many other inequalities. Women cannot drive, run for office and leave the house without man in less forward society. It is clear that women are treated as unequal around the world, and yet they are not superficially equal. As such empowerment is clearly needed. So it’s sure about that once women get a equitable shot at their economic contribution, it will be robust. Yet, when they are equally treated they are less likely to involve in unprotected sex and prostitution which will thus mitigate the spread of disease. And the important thing is any prosperity that a man would get from going from poor to not poor would be attained by women who aren’t systemically prevented from participating economically. Besides, social and political effects include better birth control practices and general health of women and better political delegation for women as they attain political positions. Women empowerment allowed women to be independent instead of just the property of their fathers and husbands. When anyone has total power over your food, shelter, clothing and any other need they can become abusive. It would be hard for a woman in this situation to ever have her wishes and dreams fulfilled. This has also allowed women to support a family if their husbands died or left them. Women can contribute to society, make important decisions that affect others, contribute to society, contribute to research and technology, write things that are real by millions, express their opinions, employ others and do many other things that they could not do before. They influence society by taking important decisions which were not possible in the past. Now the law is also on the side of women. Laws are created to protect women from discrimination so that sexism becomes punishable.
Feminism itself is not decided about what it is, what its theology, what its conduct, its genre, what its attitude yet. The identity of feminism is really contested. Actually feminism is called a western movement which has been exported in various countries by the ascendancy of globalization. If one read feminist’s discourses he will perceive that feminism is still west centered and that is so formidable. They have utmost opaqueness about non-western ladies and their world. But this verdancy is pride of western ladies. So they teach liberation to the non-western ladies according to their own way. But the ladies of non-western could have different views on liberation. Ultimately, feminism is considered to be an influence of the western world and culture which is being guided by these western ladies and it is imposed by them on the non-western ladies. Furthermore, women often see themselves as better gender then they want to separate themselves from the rest of the society, both personally and professionally. There are some women who even think that a man and a woman should be equal in everything in every aspects of life. And everything includes their physics. Therefore, to have the same body, some women have preferred to live with a lesbian and forget the men. Despite of being keen on having children numerous anti-male of women think that a sexual relation is a indomitable action. To avoid this violence they choose for inseminate. Feminism and women empowerment make a woman to be able to reject any chivalrous act by a man, they never want to marry and tell other women not to marry. It makes them to refuse protection from men and reject every feminine thing. They actually ruin things for women who are womanish and confuse men who prefer women who like feminine things.
Videlicet most societies maintain the assumption that women, being less aggressive and less physically capable than men, are unlikely to engage in combat, the few women who do so through auxiliary roles. This notion is evident throughout the vast majority of militaries; however some have proven to move beyond these norms. PKK (The Kurdistan Workers’ Party: Partiya karkeren Kurdistane) have actively recruited women and incorporated them into combat oriented positions in light of the rising regional conflict. Many have engaged in voluntary recruitment, while others have been forced into the militant organization. They highlighted their notion on women empowerment but they are using it as their advantage. There are so many pictures and articles on female PKK fighters who are glorified and act as heroines by highlighting their fight against Daesh. Yet, there are few sources that show the abusive acts of the terrorist organization on the women. But western media continues to stay silent on the issue. Rather than revealing the true face of the terrorist organization, many media outlets glorify the PKK. The portrayal of female terrorists as freedom fighters as well as pointing to the high number of female fighters to highlight how this terrorist organization gives importance to gender equality are the main themes while mentioning the PKK. So, is this kind of women empowerment highlighted for the media outlets towards outside world? Where Kurdish girls are taken hostage, made hostile to their families and society and are militarized with psychological and ideological oppression, forced to live with a cold, numb identify that glorifies destruction and fighting, on the other hand feminism came from west and western media don’t overlook the sufferings of abducted women of PKK’s. They have produced a false image of female PKK fighters, tying together women’s struggle for freedom and equality. And we called feminism a movement which fights for equality for both men and women.
The universal idea of feminism refers that men and women deserve equality and absolutely in all opportunities, treatment, respect and social rights. In general, feminists are people who try to acknowledge social inequality based on gender and stop it from continuing. The definition of feminism seems simple enough but there are many people in Bangladesh who misunderstand what the goal of feminism means “confession the dominance of women and it goes against the interest of men.” Most of the male members of the society directly oppose feminism, some hate feminism and feminists. Even there are many female members in our society who don’t understand the term ‘feminism’. Many women are harassed here every day. Consequently the offenders who frequently rape girls in our country go unpunished. And so, violence against women in our country is on the rise. If we could explicate the word ‘feminism’ properly and convey the message to different people then our women would feel safer in our society.
For decades, the notion of women’s rights has been a hot topic. Between the haters, the protestors and the radicals, the concept of feminism has been misunderstood creating misconception. It is a civil rights movement that promotes natural rights and civil liberties of women in other terms. However, the misapprehension of the movement makes its credibility quizzical, highlighting the delusion of it being a revolution against men. Many are to blame for the ruinous dispersion of this fallacy. Hatred and discrimination against the opposite gender are advertised by the pseudo feminists. They disguise their matriarchal dream in the name of feminism. Unlike what is believed, the core of the movement has nothing to do with male-hating. In fact, men themselves can be feminists. Just like you don’t have to be gay to support the LGBTQ+ community, you don’t have to be a woman to support women’s right. No decent human being will stand against the concept of fairness and impartiality. What real feminists disapprove of is patriarchy, chauvinism and male hegemony. Several people are ill-informed and perceive feminists as angry, desperate and fond of BDSM, who want to rule the world, lesbians who hate sex and despite the existence of men. Quite extreme, isn’t it? But unfortunately, this is what the media projects to its audience. An image of the movement enforces social change and fights against social injustice. It is ironic how a concept that is extremely progressive and empowering also happens to be one of the most controversial in the world. Whether we want it or not, women’s issues are one of the most important talks in the world. Public ruckus and internet drama over the matter are inevitable, however it shouldn’t mislead our attention over the real effort to achieve equality and gain freedom, both mental and physical. Feminism is not trendy space filler for newspapers and magazines. It is a battle for individuality and equal rights. The essence of such movement is not just an escape from misogyny and male dominance, but it is also liberating us from several mind trips and social traps. In one hand, feminism believes in the secularism of the institutions. On the other, it bans chaos and stands against violent riots. So, the truth is, we need more positive contribution of men and women in order to make a beneficial change.
The writer is an undergraduate student at University of Dhaka.