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Fixing the fundamentals of feminism

With a month-long discussion on feminism and associated subjects, AWARE India’s campaign — Let’s Talk Feminism — hopes to dispel misconceptions around the topic

Published: 11th August 2021 01:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th August 2021 01:41 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The recent viral video of a Lucknow-based woman slapping an overspeeding cabbie over 20 times has riled up netizens. The trending hashtag #ArrestLucknowGirl, with men stepping up for each other and seeking justice for the cabbie, has once again sparked debate around feminism. And not surprisingly, armchair activists blamed women for using 'feminism' as convenient ammo against them. This is not the first incident that brings up the matter of half-baked understanding of feminism — among men and women.

To dispel this very misinformation and misconception around the movement, AWARE India — a Chennai-based NGO — kicked off its month-long campaign ‘Let’s Talk Feminism’ this August. Highlighting the agenda of the campaign, Sandhiyan Thilagavathy, founder, AWARE India, says, “Feminism is constantly being misunderstood and made controversial. It has been branded by many as a movement of misandry rather than a fight against misogyny. It’s true that a loud minority has twisted public perception, but that’s all it is — a very loud, very small minority. They don’t represent feminism or feminists. Yet the actions and words of this minority have left many reluctant to identify as feminists because they don’t want to be associated with what they think feminism is about. Here’s a chance to find out what the movement truly represents.”

Getting the basics right
The campaign #31DaysOfLearningFeminism will be curating healthy conversations to understand everything about feminism that is not confined to textbook definitions, but shared through lived experiences. The team has zeroed in on 31 topics. “Feminism is the belief in the economic, social and political equality between sexes. It has nothing to do with removing men from society. Rather, it has to do with believing that everybody should have the right to equal opportunities, regardless of their gender. The topics include the role of men in feminism, how discussing men’s rights could drive forward the feminist agenda, the role of feminism in the prevention of gender-based violence and the impact of #MeToo movement on feminism. This way, men will understand the basics tenets of the feminism movement and be a part of the larger solution,” suggests Sandhiyan.

Unlearn, learn and relearn
Similar to its previous campaign, Unmasking Masculinity, which turned the spotlight on the lesser-known aspects of perceptions around masculinity in today’s times, the current campaign hopes to achieve the same with feminism. “Our awareness campaign on masculinity drew more female participants. There was an eagerness to learn and understand. Likewise, for this campaign, we expect equal participation from men and women, if not more. Feminism originated from women who found existing patriarchal societies problematic, and we need to respect that women are core constituents of feminism. Yet, this does not mean that feminism should only be for women. In fact, there is a dire need for more, if not all, men to become feminists as well. This is important to eradicate sexism and all forms of gender-based violence,” points out Sandhiyan.

The team plans to document all discussions and live sessions, and publish them on their official social media platforms for future reference of participants. “We are trying to rope in experts to touch upon topics such as intersectional, inclusive and Dalit feminism. So far, our audience has been from the age bracket of 20 to 45. We are confident that Gen X will get to hear and share their perspectives too. Last month brought in a lot of unlearning, learning and relearning about masculinity. We’re expecting the same this time,” sums up Sandhiyan.

To keep track of their schedule, visit Instagram page @awareindia2020 and to attend their everyday discussions from 8.30 to 10 pm, follow AWARE India on Clubhouse.

Essential reads on feminism

A Brief History of Feminism by Antje Schrupp and illustrated by Patu, translated by Sophie Lewis

Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez

The Second Sex By Simone De Beauvoir, 1949

Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Films and short films on feminism

Parched
Angry Indian Goddesses
Matrubhoomi: A Nation Without Women
Lipstick Under My Burkha
Manathil Uruthi Vendum
Magalir Mattum (1994)
36 Vayathinile
Juices, Leeches
Podcasts on feminism
Kalachara Kannis
The House of Nari
NRI Woman
Source: Sandhiyan Thilagavathy



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  • DEBANICK GHOSH

    Feminism and wokeism are never about equality. The equalist doctrine is a paradoxical pathology. It has always been about retribution and restitution. Feminist ideology is the same today, irrespective of the wave, since 1848, in Seneca Falls, NY. The reality is that women don’t want to be told they’re playing a game. They just want to play the game. They want to believe everything is happening serendipitously. And, the basis of feminine thinking is that the games should change to accommodate the player's deficiencies. This ‘logic’ is rooted in women’s innate vulnerability and the desire for security in a chaotic vulnerability and the desire for security in a chaotic world. Feminized men learn and adopt this ‘logic.’
    9 months ago reply
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