Thick skin and a load of arguments: A two-pronged feminist strategy

I started thinking about whether I am a feminist, or whether I am so inclined, only a few years ago. I was brought up to be independent and outspoken by rather liberal parents. Growing up, I had many strong women to look up to- my grandmothers, my mother, all with strong opinions and minds of their own. But to see feminism in the light of global awareness on violence against women, to see it as a response to misogyny, that has been a recent change.

I met Mona Eltahawy in November 2012 and she transported me into a different world: a world where feminism was not an unwanted movement propelled by shrill, stubborn women but an inclusive movement that the world really needed to set the balance right. I wrote about this soon after I met her. And today, as I read this interview of Mona’s I am struck anew by the importance of speaking out about how we perceive the world, about discussing and debating ideas that might bring about change.

I’m also thinking that we cannot challenge the status quo without some discomfort, but just how much discomfort are we willing to bear? We need to talk about things that bother society, parts of our lives we accept too easily, the stuff that ruffles feathers, but where, when, how and how much? Do we go “shopping for a thicker skin” as an obscure and unlikable female character says in Mad Men, or do we respond to every discomfort with a conversation, a response, a challenge?

These are questions every feminist, or any kind of social reformer- male or female, asks everyday. We’re human, we’re scared and yet we want to change things. I’ll say this much for myself, though. It’s going to be a long wait for an equal world, I know, but I’m ready with both the thicker skin and the battery of arguments!

About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on June 8, 2015, in Politics & Citizenship and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. And my response….@monaeltahawy yes, empathy too

  2. I didn’t know you had doubts about being a feminist my dear. …what could you have ever been? Equality is a non negotiable, and no matter how much the struggle, the gender one is too close to home, to give up ever, for ourselves or our daughters AND our sons. Because our sons need liberation too, from the stereotypes and the gender roles.

    But more importantly the fight for a life free of violence. No, if I have to look over my shoulder every day of my life because of my gender, it’s a fight we can’t give up. And feminism is the most inclusive of all battles as it’s the one which is meant to right the historic wrongs of exclusion and suppression that patriarchy has perpetrated on all humans, irrespective of class, caste, race and yes, gender.

  3. Lovely write up. I agree with you on waiting for an equal world..we need that thick skin and a battery of arguments:)

  4. Do you talk about freedom as an absolute or as relative? Short of Nirvaan, I think God has given us only one freedom in this world to choose our own chains.

    On the persecution of women. A lot of things come down to rule of law. Let us take the example of the anti dowry law. Since state and society could not provide justice to the victims they made the offence non-bailable. So finally the victims still could not get justice BUT a lot of innocents served time at the President’s pleasure paid for by the tax payers. Strangely I have not really seen Feminists talk about rule of law. Can anyone shed some light on that?

    The word “inclusive’ is used in various fora. Let me honestly say nothing can start of as being inclusive. It becomes inclusive when propelled by ideas/truths/falsehoods/words it attracts followers or metamorphises into something more acceptable. And finally there is iclusion only in opportunity and never in outcome. This is divine law.

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