“My Choice” to drive feminism toward greater causes

Our motive should be to fight against all malpractices in society that hamper women’s advancement

With the internet flooding with videos and articles on Feminism, we are witnessing a new revolution — A revolution of Women Empowerment. This is a revolution which has waited for centuries to come to life and has finally been born. They call it feminism. So be it.

I am a notorious bra-burning feminist, (well, not literally. They are costly and designer, so there is no chance in hell that I would burn them). But I echo the thought, loud and clear. Feminism, an advocacy of women rights, a thought that we should be given the equal rights that have been bestowed upon my male counterparts since ages.

Let me enjoy those rights. Let me be free, independent, self-sufficient, and self-content. Let me have a heart that nurtures desires, let me have eyes that dream and let me have the will-power to turn those florescent dreams into vibrant reality. Let me have a brain, to think, to understand, to explore, and to decide. I want to think why you want me follow your command, understand what is the logical reason behind your commands, explore if there are things in my life which are better than obeying your commands and decide not to dance on to your tunes. Let me have the right. And I will have it. We will have it.

But along with great rights, come greater duties. My soft shoulders are strong enough to carry them. I will want to spare you from the burdens you have been carrying since ages. Let me help you. Let me help you run the kitchen. If you want to become a poet, go do it. I will not force you to become an engineer and earn in dollars to buy me a big apartment, luxurious car, and an expensive ring. I can do that for myself. I need a companion in my life not a sponsor. Yes, I am a feminist. Just like all my friends who have earned the viewership of the much-hyped video presented by Vogue – “My Body, My Mind, My Choice.”

Yes, feminism preaches independence, it glorifies Woman Empowerment. Independence to thought is to have an ideology and follow it. But before idealizing an idea, it is again ‘my choice’ to contemplating on the worth of that the idea. Of course it is ‘my choice’ whether I want to have sex before marriage. And it is indeed no one’s business to have an opinion about it. But to be in a marriage and sleep with someone else – well, is that an idea worth idealizing? Yes, many men do it? But why should I repeat their mistakes, just because I have the freedom to do it?

‘Marriage’ as an institution enjoys a very pious position in our society. But what it seems from outside might not be what it is from inside. There are many, who are getting suffocated, trapped in wrong marriages. There comes a stage when they have lost love and respect for their partners. Reasons can be varied. This holds true for both the genders.

But then happiness is something that everyone is entitled to. And if you don’t get it from your partner, but someone else, cherish it. Everyone deserves to love and be loved. Here, may be you would want to give up the burden of carrying an unhealthy marriage and just end it. This will be a better choice (my view, everyone might not agree.)

One might have lost the respect for their partner, but we can still have respect for the institution of marriage. Ending a marriage which is mere eyewash might be a better choice than to cheat it. Wiping off the sindoor (the vermillion mark on forehead) might be better than reducing its status to a mere stain. Remove your wedding ring if has become a handcuff, don’t just sport it as a fashion accessory. Go and be happy with the one you have found happiness in.

Again, of these numerous videos, taking the round of various sites through the internet, how many are really serving the purpose? The women depicted in these video are actress, models, directors and photographers, who have already achieved a certain position in their lives where they are already liberated, independent and empowered in their respective lives. If they are wronged, they can choose to be patient enough to tolerate it, and if not, they certainly have the ability to fight and overcome. They speak their minds, make their choices, and do want they want to. I, for instance, do not want a video to back me up if I want to wear shorts and camisoles in public. I do that without anyone’s approval.

The message of women empowerment is required to be conveyed to that non-English speaking womankind who form 80 percent of India’s female population who are strangers to the cyber world.

The labor women building a skyscraper with a child wrapped around her waist, yet being paid lesser than the male counterpart, a middle-class housewife who has never bought an outfit of her choice because she is only allowed to wear what her husband/in-laws want her to wear, the girl in some remote village who is not allowed to study and is forced into a marriage she never wanted, some equally meritorious woman who is not allowed to make an identity for herself, a girl who suffered an accident in the kitchen of her house-hold because she could not bring any more dowry from her father, the wife whose husband wants to abandon her because she has just given birth to the third female-child, the sister from a small town whose brothers have denied her a share in the family property after their father’s death and she can’t even fight a case due to lack of funds, they are real life, deglamorized characters.

And they in most cases do not have a Facebook profile, do not understand the internet, and would not understand this video. Unfortunately, they need to be backed up the most. How do this video and the likes of it help such females?

Avantika Debnath

When all these questions of much greater relevance are crying out for women empowerment, what we choose to highlight and fight for is whether we can sport the strap of our expensive bra in public or whether we can indulge in unsolicited polyandry? Really?

Or maybe we can utilize these resources toward a better cause. When we sing high of Women Empowerment, our motive should not be to put up a universal fight with all the men, the fight should be against all malpractices in society that hamper the advancement of women. If our endeavors save one bride from being burnt, one girl to get the education she wants, or one woman to make an identity for herself, and stand with the head held high, we will know we have made it.

And yeah… don’t waste much thought into whether or not to sport that pretty pink bra in public. You want it, just do it. To hell with them who have so much spare time in their lives to judge you for what you wear.

(Avantika Debnath is an HR professional from Kolkata, with a strong penchant for writing. She has written widely in various print and online mediums. She believes the entire mankind across borders needs a revolution — a revolution of Woman Empowerment. Avantika will publish her debut novel that circles around the hypocrisy and hollowness of society and the legal system. Till then please enjoy her articles.)

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