Feminism: A Misunderstood Movement

March 15, 2016

4.543 billion years. That’s how long there has been life on earth. Four billion years of systematic oppression of over half the population and we still cringe at the very mention of the word feminism. Allow me to tell you what feminism is not. It is not misandry, it is not advocating domination of women over men, and it definitely does not want to wipe out the entire male population. However, it is, according to Merriam-Webster "the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities". The negative connotation associated with this word has led us to believe this movement will lead to the breaking down of our societal norms. We are so accustomed to living in a patriarchal society, when anybody dares to voice their opinion against the subjugation of an entire gender they’re seen as deviant or unorthodox. Unfortunately for those who are still clinging on to the traditional norms of society, times are changing, it is not the 1900’s anymore.

The reason for any kind of unfair treatment of both men and women can be traced to patriarchy. Men are victims of patriarchy too. How many times have we heard phrases like "Man up" or "Don’t cry like a girl" or even, "You’re like a son to me"? This is precisely why we need this movement. Men are not the propagators of patriarchy. It is the ideas that are ingrained in us from the minute we are born that are the sole cause of inequality. Men are told that they are the alpha, the strong, heads of the family and women exist to fulfill their needs, that they need to conceal their emotions under any circumstance so as to remain "masculine" at all times. Is that the reason why, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)’s 2013 survey, 79,773 men committed suicide in India (excluding West Bengal) and only 40% were cited as socio-economic problems? Even during crucial times, men are bound to norms that do not allow them to express themselves freely.

It is the feminine traits people are shamed for. Men are oppressed too, not solely because of their gender but because they are colored or homosexual or act "feminine". Women are oppressed in all these ways and because of their gender, too. The very fact that we are still fighting for the same things, lower wages, under representation in government positions, child marriage, female foeticide, rape, education, sexual violence and discrimination in almost all public spheres that women in the 19th and 20th century were, should be enough to convince anyone of the legitimacy and the necessity for this movement.

Feminism is an all-inclusive movement. It is not only working towards rights of women. It is an ideology that all people, no matter their position in this hierarchical structure of society are allowed to voice their opinions and fight against this system that tells men to act in a certain way and women to stay within the confines of the household. I, as a 17-year-old girl, an equal member of this society and most of all a human being, urge you all to break norms, stereotypes and behaviors that dictate what a person can achieve based on their gender.


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By Cema D'Souza
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Comment on this article

  • Alban D Souza, Udyavara/Bajjodi/Mumbai/Doha Qatar

    Mon, Mar 21 2016

    Man created by God handsome and the Woman as beautiful partner for Him, So love each other as both are created in the same image and likeness of God. Wonder of creation by God! If we respect marriage as sacred and instituted by God then by faith half of the problems of married life will be solved. Christians believe that , marriage is a Holy Sacrament a bond between the two then God gives the necessary blessings for spouses to face problems within the Sacrament of matrimony. The bond between husband and wife cannot be broken, So make the marriage sacred by keeping in mind these writing from the Holy scriptures.

  • sam, world

    Fri, Mar 18 2016

    @Mangalurian, Mangaluru
    “most marriages is that the man and the woman are too young when they get married. If they are in their forties, they would respect each other much more, and the man will end up suffering far less. So my advice to those who are not married yet: please wait until you are 40 years, and you will have very few problems! ”

    - You will always have problems if you are married when you are young or even if you are old
    - Marriage is a legal contract in most religions
    - Only in the Catholic, i.e. Christian faith, marriage is a Holy Sacrament that God instituted. God gives the necessary graces for spouses to face problems within the Sacrament of matrimony. This is an inseparable bond that cannot be broken, which is freely broken today through divorce and dubious annulments.
    - When people marry for earthly benefits or pleasures, philander and cheat one another, stop having children, practice natural family planning, abortion, contraception, they challenge God and many of the marital problems begin.
    - The Holy Family, i.e. St. Joseph, Blessed Virgin Mother Mary and Our Lord Jesus Christ are the role models for all Catholic families.

  • Zeitgeist, mangalore

    Thu, Mar 17 2016

    4.55 billion years is the approximate period of the formation of our planet. Dates of around 1.2 to 1.5 billion years is the approximate date for the sexual reproduction. So gender is basically didn't exist prior to that.

    And what are you saying about systematic oppression of half of the population? now dont tell me now sexism exists in all living organisms.

    Feminism movement these days is just going out of control. Each gender has their role (dont blame me for saying that, its just fact).

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Thu, Mar 17 2016

    Four billion years of systematic oppression of over half the population?

    That is a bit far-fetched. Humans have evolved only in the last ONE MILLION years or so.

    And, the marriage as an institution may have come into being only in the last 10,000 years. In some human societies, marriage is not a must to get children EVEN to this day.

    But I think the real issues with most marriages is that the man and the woman are too young when they get married. If they are in their forties, they would respect each other much more, and the man will end up suffering far less.

    So my advice to those who are not married yet: please wait until you are 40 years, and you will have very few problems! No worries from the society, lawyers, courts, media and the women's commissions!

  • Lydia, Belle

    Wed, Mar 16 2016

    Cema very good article keep writing

  • Marina Dsouza, Mangalore

    Tue, Mar 15 2016

    I am a happy marrried woman of 34 years with 2 kids.Being christian i must say that I can not be equal to my husband.I respect and obey my husband in all things.In return he loves me derly and provides me.My both children are happy and good.we both have no secrets.I use his mobile to make calls and he uses mine too.We all eat together and pray together,we spent only one hour watching TV basically news. My point is God never made woman to be equal in any way.Our job is to run the family and see that our family life goes smooth with much love and appreciation.We are poor in finances, but rich in love and faith in our marries life.dear women its not a competition, its the way God created both men and women differently! Appreciate it.

  • Roshan Braganza , Mumbai

    Tue, Mar 15 2016

    Yes , men are victims but its not PATRIARCHY but MATRIARCHY . There is a difference , matriarchy makes men shoulder responsibility of family and compulsive marriage system or else they r out casted . So every matrimonial / alimony law which is pitted against men is because of matriarchy backed by GYNOCENTRISM . The patriarchy is needed in a society and it guarantees women be kept under supervision and lead by men . Pseudo empowerment is never good and encourages stray relationships with social chairs .

    The third wave FEMINISM is about FEMALE CHAUVINISM and gender role reversals . Its a social engineering to turn men as slaves of women . Also it supports abortions killings and pre marital sex . We must understand men and women are different , so its not the EQUALITY but DIVERSITY . Cherish the women as home makers and men , the bread winners . So if a house wife turns hoe , then the problem starts . Forgetting their responsibility and blaming on patriarchy ! , this has became a trend now . No feminist supports gender neutral laws but they demand women privileges & reservations . Its far from EGALITARIANISM concept

  • sam, world

    Tue, Mar 15 2016

    Feminism is contrary to the Teaching of the Church. The role model for men is St. Joseph and role model for women is the Blessed Mother Mary. Most of societal evils would vanish if men and women followed the example of the Holy Family.

    As regards gender inequality, it will always be, because Men and Women were created differently by God for different roles. Men cannot be women and women cannot be men. Whenever Men and Women challenge those roles divinely instituted by God, and the Church fails to instruct, the society crumbles and becomes degenerate.

    Beneath the false inclusivity that feminism brings is loss of feminity, a detest of God given beauty and the role of a nurturer. What feminism ultimately wants is anarchy and the destruction of the family.

    Watch and Pray and follow the example of the Holy Family.

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