Living in a developing, patriarchal nation, where women face unspeakable horrors at every turn from the minute they are conceived, where teenagers are raped and killed on their way to the toilet and where little girls are violated by the very people who have been entrusted with their education and safety, the new #WomenAgainstFeminism campaign showing up on our Twitter feeds and across social media comes as a bit of a shock.
Who are these women who do not believe in equal rights? Who do not value the right to vote, to equal opportunity, equal wages, the right to choose their partners, to travel, work and generally live life of their own volition? Do they really want to regress back to 1900? Or would they like to change places with Indian women for a day or two? Hah.
Or, well, that was our first response.
Then we came across this article on Time titled: “What ‘Women Against Feminism’ Gets Right“. And we were forced to re-consider what on earth is going on out there in the wild wild West.
It’s a wake-up call for all of us. We’re talking about a society where women lead far more liberal, equal lives and look where they’re going (or have gone). Indian feminists would do well to pay heed — let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Here’s a screen grab from the Tumblr page of Women Against Feminism that makes you think the writer isn’t against women’s equality and safety in developing nations. She is instead making a statement about the ‘cry-wolf’ syndrome that’s perhaps catching up in her own country where women have achieved equal rights but still need a villain to blame:
Despite its provocative stance and some very silly arguments, Women Against Feminism does expose the fallacies that 21st century Western feminism appears to promote:
- That being pro-women automatically means being anti-men;
- That choosing traditional roles such as being a stay-at-home mother is somehow a blow to women’s equality;
- That letting men support you is a weakness.
Though Indian feminists are still fighting for other, more basic, rights to life and liberty, there’s plenty to learn here. This is a movement we should watch very carefully.