It’s unsexy and ‘uncool’ to be a feminist in India. We get laughed at all the time, by men who don’t care; by women who are afraid to show support because they can be alienated by families and society. I know that it can be quite discouraging when there is no one you know, within your family or among friends whom you can talk to and share your pain and rage with; someone who will take you seriously and understand you. It’s even more painful when we want to be heard but we find no voice. There is no environment for the feminist rage to thrive and attack issues. We feel isolated and thwarted.
I remember feeling so awfully alone when I used to retaliate against misogynistic statements made by smirking men. It felt like I was single-handedly taking up the whole world of misogyny and patriarchy. They double their aggression when they talk to a feminist. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed and overpowered. Where are the ones who support us? Even men who support our cause and share our ideas remain silent. It’s an outrage to his ‘manhood’ if he is called pussy-whipped or a joru ka gulaam. I can’t blame the women who get brow-beaten. I know many, including I, who gave up fighting and just wanted to live my life, appear cool, feel wanted and accepted, even if that meant giving up a cause that I believed in. I caved in. It was too much to be tagged a feminist, someone who has no sense of humor, a killjoy.
That was a few years ago. Looking back, I don’t regret giving up then. I have emerged only stronger, more convinced about my cause and so much more pissed off.
The only thing I want to say to all of you out there, who feel the way I once did, is this. It is okay to be mad as hell. It is okay to display feminist rage. Like all things in life, it is always tough in the beginning. But you’ll be amazed at the number of people who are waiting to support you. All you have to do is speak out. Reach out. I know how much your morale can be damaged without support. Trust me. There is support. Just reach out to even one person. I am here, for one.
Don’t worry about appearing ‘uncool’. Fuck that! For the huge price that you pay for all that coolness, it’s just not worth it! No matter who she is, which class or caste or religion she belongs to, women get treated like SHIT in India. Even when you are safe in front of your computers right now, there is someone out there who is getting raped this very moment. If you don’t speak out for them and stand with them, who will?
And one last thing. Take PRIDE. Take pride in the fact that you are a feminist. I would rather be called a scary feminist than a cool, sexy ‘chick’. A few people will love you and a lot will hate you. But remember, the ones who hate you are scared of you, of the change that you stand for. We have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Shame on those assholes who rape and assault women and children.
You will face criticisms. People will attack your stand. They will call you a cunt. They will tell you that this is a rebellion without a cause. They will tell you it is not our ‘Indian culture’. You know that’s bullshit! Look at the abysmal sex ratio, look at the rape statistic, look at the female foeticide and infanticide rates, look at the assault numbers, look at the number of deaths that happened because of eve-teasing(we even coined that phrase), look at the number of women who die in the hands of murderous husbands. We get groped in buses and trains, assaulted in our own homes and offices where we work. From rapes to sexual innuendos in work-places, we are harassed every single day of our lives. That is REAL. So fuck them all who stop you from speaking out.
Be irreverent. Kick patriarchy in its balls. The misogynists are the ones who have something to hide, they are the ones who need to be shamed and they are the ones who live in fear. Not us! We are fucking feminists and we are made of fucking steel.