THE BLOG

Have You Ever Thought About What Feminism has Done For You, Mira Rajput?

Do not demonise a struggle for basic human dignity.

21/03/2017 11:26 AM IST | Updated 22/03/2017 7:06 PM IST

Dear Mira Rajput (and those who have made her personal life fodder for attention),

I wonder what made the media make you a speaker for an event about women's rights and empowerment. How does being a young, privileged celeb wife count as an achievement? I also wonder at the media and their audience for making someone's marriage—which is a private, personal thing—a national concern. Because the story would sell? I feel for you, Mira.

But tell me Mira, was it really a reasoned choice for you to insinuate publically that unless a mother can be there full time with her baby she'd be better off with a puppy?

Did you ever consider reading up and understanding what Women's Day (originally International Working Women's Day) is all about? Did you read up on the origins and derogatory implications of the term "feminazi" before using it? Did you mean to be abusive? Or does your privilege just make you blind and insensitive to others' reality?

Imagine your cleaning lady had a baby. Imagine your cooking lady too had a baby around the same time. Imagine how much you'd want them back at work.

Imagine your cleaning lady had a baby. Imagine your cooking lady too had a baby around the same time. Imagine how much you'd want them back at work. They both delivered human babies. Not puppies. Why did they have the babies at all, if only to leave them to come to work? What are they chances they keep their jobs if they keep taking days off? Not all women can afford to stay at home when they have babies.

To defend your personal choice of being a homemaker and mother at a young age, in the face of some misguided judgement, will you abuse a just cause? Why not stick to speaking up for your choice, and telling the critics to mind their own business, or engage them in a debate, to call out their unfairness as you see it? Why throw out the baby of feminism with the bathwater of judgement you were washed with, as it were?

Imagine another working girl your age from a lower middle class people. She does well in her job. She helps take care of her parents. She buys a home for herself. She marries. She has kids. She manages both roles with the help of her parents, and her company HR policies on maternity leave, childcare leave, daycare facilities and healthcare and health insurance. You know what made a lot of these things a part of the organised sector? Feminism. The education and employment opportunity she had access too. Even the right to buy property. The right to take care of her parents. All of that.

To take personal criticism to heart , and then to attack a critical and vital human rights movement is short-sighted and narrow minded.

Ask this girl, though, Mrs. Smug Star Wife, why did she have the baby while working outside the home? Why didn't she wait till her "responsibilities" were taken care of, to build a career? What responsibilities were you referring to, when you said once you are done with them, you have your whole future open? The responsibility of bringing up a baby with all kinds of support and facilities? Not everyone has the luxury and privilege of only that responsibility. A lot is needed before many more women can talk so comfortably as you of being able to prioritise things so glibly and smoothly. It is feminism that called out the change needed, and showed the way to that change. Just because you happen to be safely up the ladder, as you think you are, is no reason to kick the ladder and make it useless for others.

There are 70,000 babies born every day on average in India. You know how many of those mothers can afford to just sit around with a baby, take selfies and look cute, and talk about having their future ahead of them, wide open? Are they feminazis, out to wreak destruction on this world order?

Ask yourself, what troubles most women? And what would make women's lives better? Parliament recently approved a bill to raise the benefit of maternity leave to six months from three. You realise it is years of effort by feminists that leads to changes like this? And that this is still just a tiny blip, because the majority of women and men who suffer because of unjust systems are not working in the organised sector where these rules apply. So there is still along long way to go, and a lot of work to be done.

I am happy that you get to bask in the warmth of newly wedded bliss and motherhood with the trappings of wealth, luxury, glamour and privilege. Maybe you do feel humbled and thank your lucky stars. Maybe you take it as a given. You know, people will say all sorts of things to individuals for their luck, their choices, for whatever happens or does not happen. But to take personal criticism to heart, and then to attack a critical and vital human rights movement is short-sighted and narrow minded.

Defending your choice does not have to be at the cost of dissing the vital forces that help keep even you safe and empowered.

Why do you fear the F-word so much? Likening a feminist to someone who supported the mass murder of millions because of their identity is a slur of the worst kind. Why would you want to use such a term in a warped context? Do you realize you owe your own relatively "safe" position as a wife and mother without a job or the qualifications for one, to the hard work feminists have put in for women's rights in marriage and annulment of marriage? Feminism is the reason those like you can still hope for a fair settlement in case your marital bubble bursts with infidelity or worse.

So please, dear young blessed girl with stars in your eyes, go use the thinking skills that your very elite education might have instilled in you, and study these topics. Understand the kind of choices women have, besides your own, and what helps or hinders these. Defending your choice does not have to be at the cost of dissing the vital forces that help keep even you safe and empowered. The personal, after all, is also political. We live in social systems. What goes on around us comes home to roost.

Respecting diversity of choice is a foundational belief of feminism and of any call for equality. Choices can only be made by the powerful. Power has to be fought for, earned, built up, when the starting point of the game is highly skewed towards one party. You may not want to fight. But you will enjoy its fruits. When the status quo of power is shaken, there is always backlash, and some of it takes the forms of abuse of the fighters. Terms like "feminazi" come up, and are mistakenly adopted by some who have not cared to learn any better.

Do not demonise a struggle for basic human dignity. Please do not let your youthful lack of perspective make you gloat. Do not look down on what you have not much idea of. Do not abuse. Be Woke. Go look that up, if you have no idea what that means.

And those multitudes, can you leave people's personal lives alone?

More On This Topic

SPONSORED BY &PRIVÉ HD