I’ve been a lot of things in the last 25 years I’ve spent on the planet – a daughter, a sister, a friend, a dude, an enemy, and a fool among other things. The one thing that was most troublesome of them all is being a feminist.
Being a feminist is obviously not like being a woman – you can’t look down my neck and see that I am a feminist, right? I have to go out of my way and say it – talk about it, hang out with other feminists, read a book that’s called ‘feminist film theory’ or at least shout out on my blog header. The moment someone spots I am a *feminist*, the conversation travels through a whole new tangent. Some apologise, some cringe, some turn away and some others try to talk me out of it. The most common reactions to me being feminist had to be televised…err, written about.
Have I offended you?
The most common reaction to my being a feminist is apology. I’ve known people all my (feminist) life being sorry for my being feminist. Most people begin conversations saying, “I hope you don’t get offended by my saying this, but I think…” When any sentence begins this way, I want to sigh, bite my fist, drop a little tear and run dramatically into my room weeping my heart out like Saroja Devi in Anbe Vaa. NOT.
Do you really have a boyfriend?
This is an extension of people thinking that all feminists are women and most of them are single (or l3sbian), have *bob cut*, burn bras as a hobby, smoke incessantly, are extremely unsatisfied and abnormal. Some people have gone so far as to ask ‘what kind of a man is in love with a feminist?’ and asked *me* that question for good measure. Here, I shall let you in on a little secret. My boyfriend is imaginary – there is no real person I can call a boyfriend and I live happily in my imaginary (feminist) relationship! Peace?
Now you are overdoing it!
This is every sociologist’s nightmare. When I watch movies I observe hidden meanings that have been passed on over generations to indicate (and perpetuate) a particular idea. When Rajinikanth says “adhigama aasapadra aambalayum, adhigama kovapadra pombalayum…” you do realise that he is saying it is all right for men to get angry (which in turn leads to physical/ s3xual abuse)? No? I am overdoing it? Okay.
Come on. Take a joke.
“Chris Gayle *raped* the Delhi Daredevils bowlers” was taught to me one evening as funny usage. I’ve been led to believe that saying one person outperformed another is the same as raping the other person. When I refused to believe it, I am generally asked to come on and take a joke!
I am not much of a feminist
This is what I hear from the ladies. This is the female apology to mean that they are sorry they are not as much feminists as I am. They don’t mind men opening their car doors, carrying their heavy luggage, fixing their *technology* problems or making their travel plans as long as the men are willing to do dishes, change their children’s diapers and earn for the family.
My dream reaction
You know all said and done; I don’t think I have seen the worst yet. I am waiting for the day when a child will look at me and say, “Ayyo, feminist” (like Ayyo, bootham) only to run and hide in the dupatta of his/ her mother. That day will also come and bring along with it tranquillity and peace to my feminist mind!