My mother doesn’t let go of an occasion to amaze me. And fittingly so, she did that this weekend, where she said that she is not a ‘Feminist’ anymore. I did not know how to react. Coincidentally, a few days ago, a theorist friend of mine also said the same. Even though, her belief was that she prefers to have gentlemen still open doors, or let her in first, flowers from her husband once in a while are still measured as a sign of a blissful marriage and such some more. I got me thinking how far off from the thesaurus, my mother might be and how much would I have to adapt to this new philosophy of hers.
I paced my inquisitiveness judiciously and asked, “Amma, what do you mean?” As she doesn’t ever have a short answer to my question, she said, “When I revolted as a 9-year old bride instead of submitting myself to the decaying traditions, I was called unorthodox. At that time feminism was used an alternative expression to enablement, liberation and rebellion. But now, when I retorted with chiding a youngster who clearly was abusing me, it had occurred to that I was reacting to chauvinism. Nevertheless, being a woman. Feminism didn’t feel the same anymore.”
It was so true what she said. If sexism is for males is what it is called, then there must be a corresponding for a female too. Perhaps, feminism has run its course and changed colors to be what it is today. When that famous uncle who is a subject of my bile because I refuse to forget that he called me a liar in his magnificent intolerance and I hadn’t kept quiet, instead if I had returned the choicest profane in my native language, I would have been the poster-child of feminism. Or if I treated people the same as they did to me, perhaps today, I wouldn’t agree with my mother or friend that have strayed being feminists.
Since that conversation with my mom, it has been bothering me that some parts of my tribe still strive for women empowerment and allures of feminism. And, I fail to understand why is it hard to emulate their male counterparts, if that is the end goal. That doesn’t need us to fight for it. All it takes is some good old mimicking, packing up some muscular strength to execute the abuse and probably a pair of scissors or sharp tools as we lack the body part. It has baffled me to no end recently, when so called women’s rights are screaming about ‘smashing patriarchy’ while all they do is to stimulate the wrongdoings of their own boyfriends, husbands, brothers and sons. Somehow, they seem to pass the golden standard of purity while the rest are left to combat on their own through the trenches of a fractured society for something that’s always been theirs. At least in the parts where I come from.
Up until the time where women before us fought for basic rights, to break gender barricades in occupation, education, and everywhere else where they could be on-par or even better than men, feminism was celebrated. Lately, it must have become a male equivalent of their characterization. And with that youngster in my mother’s instance, who chose to walk away instead of just saying “I’m sorry. I won’t repeat again”, it became a triumph of prejudice where an 80-year old was just not eligible to receive that apology from a man, half her age. And rightly so, my mother denounced feminism to upkeep her dignity in what transformed into ‘moral objectivism’. She didn’t care to fight for what was hers anyway.