Dear Feminism Haters, Here’s a Preamble That’ll Make it Clearer
The cast of <i>Angry Indian Goddesses</i>, who truly advocated feminism in cinema. (Photo Courtesy: TIFF)
The cast of Angry Indian Goddesses, who truly advocated feminism in cinema. (Photo Courtesy: TIFF)

Dear Feminism Haters, Here’s a Preamble That’ll Make it Clearer

A couple of weeks back, social media and news debates were dominated by a fight between feminists and religion propagandists over the entry of women in places of worship. While feminists argued that there cannot be any ground for discrimination against women, propagandists argued that ancient traditions must not be broken and should be adhered to strictly.

Feminism in India has always been misunderstood by society at large. People love to bash feminism – accusing it of being anti-male and skewed towards females.

As a sample exercise, go to ANY news article which talks about women’ rights or gender equality and take a look at the comments section. You’ll know what I’m talking about, and then some.

How about a preamble or a constitution that <i>defines</i> feminism – or at least makes an attempt to? (Photo: iStock)
How about a preamble or a constitution that defines feminism – or at least makes an attempt to? (Photo: iStock)

The ludicrousness of this mindset – I’ve often believed – is aided by the lack of well defined principles and guidelines which have led to many negative interpretations of feminism.

So how about a preamble or a constitution that defines feminism – or at least makes an attempt to?

It could start off with answering the most burning questions: What constitutes feminism? What principles do feminists follow? Should gender equality override law and religion? Should the word “gender mainstreaming” be used rather than feminism?

To give it a start, I have broadly defined three categories – under which I’ve framed some guidelines which I believe constitutes gender equality and feminism:

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Preamble for Religion/Faith

Preamble for Marriage

Preamble for Workplace

This is just a start. Perhaps the preamble outlined above barely scratches the surface of what is a disturbingly big problem.

But at least we will have begun somewhere. We will enable people to finally understand what ‘feminism’ truly means – so that it may no longer be dismissed as a ‘concept’, but be understood as a framework that must be followed.

It will explain to the masses how feminism (for crying out loud) isn’t ‘anti-male’ but a fight for equality.

The Quint invites its reader to send their contributions and ideas for the feminist preamble to feedback@thequint.com or leave it as a comment here. Armed with contributions, we may sooner realise the dream of bringing out India’s first feminist constitution.

(Devanik Saha is a freelance journalist based in New Delhi.)

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