Sunday, 29 June 2014

What is True Feminism?

Feminism is an ubiquitous term, that is mindlessly used in our society that seeks to embrace change and promote equality at every turn. While it has achieved much for women, from voting to equal opportunities, this breeze is becoming a hurricane, that is set to destroy the very people it started off benefiting.

Does anyone know what 'Feminism' means anymore? I think not!

It was a movement that began to stop the marginalisation and objectification of women in society - although wages could be fairer and career prospects, wider, marginalisation is an issue that is being dealt with, but not so with objectification.

A Rihanna poster in Ireland, that was
forcefully fed some modesty
I have come across articles citing various distorted definitions of feminism - they feature celebrities who are often commended for their efforts in promoting feminism...and what exactly are they referring to, when they say 'efforts'? Explicit album covers, photo shoots, performances, name it!
Have I missed something? We were trying to stop the perception of women as sex-objects, were we not?
How on earth do you except a man to respect a woman when she readily sacrifices her self-respect and dignity! We cannot walk around scantily dressed and demand fair treatment; all we will get is reality slapping us across the face to remind us that the human brain is wired to lust. Society will only change when you allow it to, and I do not see how this practise benefits our movement. Lewdness is by no means a medium for feminist expression.

While rummaging for a satisfying model of feminism, a character from an Indian epic - Mahabharata - came to mind. Draupadi is said to be the most beautiful woman in the world, but circumstances obliged her to marry the Pandavas - five brothers who are said to walk in righteousness. You might, like the society of her time, label her a prostitute and wonder about the righteousness behind this polygamy, but she is nevertheless portrayed as the epitome of purity. I know it is dodgy and I am not here to address that. I want you to see why she was considered so pure.
Scenes from 'Mahabharat' that airs on Star Plus
  • Panchali (what she is otherwise known as) was pious. She remembered her gods, not only during her adversities, but also during prosperity. 
  • As the story unfolds, her husbands lose authority over her after a game of dice. She is hailed a prostitute, insulted for her polygamy and pressured to compromise herself with the princes of the court. She did not let them disrobe her, let alone touch her.
  • Draupadi sought justice - yes that meant killing (much wrong with that, I know!) but her motives were just; especially because she is said to have had the power to burn the court in an instant.
  • Finally, she was also a woman of integrity - showing mercy, impartiality and love.
What I'm trying to highlight is that, Draupadi had everything going against her, however she made society change its prejudices about her. Through modesty she held on to her self-respect and dignity. The very mouths that accused her of prostitution, later acknowledged her for who she truly was.
I believe she was a true feminist - she did not let society undermine or alienate her, nevertheless she respected male authority over her (i.e. her husbands). Boy, how we lack this balance!
Ha, by skim-reading this I know I have failed to do justice to this fantastic Indian epic, so I suggest you read or watch it if you can!

It might come as a shock to you that I am actually quite indifferent to feminism, however I strongly believe in fair treatment and the social acceptance of women. I write this because I do not want my generation to mindlessly turn feminism into something it never intended to be.
Finally, let me remind you that our identity as women, is not defined by how much flesh we flash, far from it! It is defined by the ransom that was paid by the blood of a sinless Saviour.
I hope you see it.

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