Changing Lenses through Feminism
A day had been taken out to shift the viewpoint from male-centric assumptions and focus to experiences analyzed from a rather female lens. Acknowledging that gender is the first social category that any individual experiences, it’s pervasiveness has been evident and inevitable. It has been hard to understand, criticize, deconstruct and reconstruct an entire system that had been designed to benefit a certain gender that has been resulting in the oppression of another to an extent where questioning was not a choice available.
This shift in narrative that has been happening with waves of feminism over the past few centuries has come to question, “What story do we want to tell the world?”. We have realized that we no longer want to tell half of the world’s population how to protect or restrict themselves that would limit their choices or spheres of working, thinking, and socializing. The inherent integral working of all social institutions — family, law, economy, workplace; led to oppression of all kinds. And to understand this we need to change our lenses — through feminism!
The big elephant in a room of discussion on feminism is — an entire movement working for women’s equal rights has the potential to harm or trouble an innocent man.
This has given feminism the biggest learning of evolution overages which initially and still primarily focuses on women’s and girl’s issues but has extended to larger inclusivity of LGTBQIA+ community and even men.
The change is about standing for gender equality and bringing all voices to the table. And the bottom line is solidarity. And feminism needs men to understand the existing disparity, oppression, injustice, and the ways of tackling for further support.
Gender oppression has its’ all forms form structural oppression, violence/patriarchal oppression, on basis of sex inequality and differences, gender roles. There have been different theories revolving around these, precisely four types of feminism — Radical, Marxist, Liberal, and Difference.
But what needs to be understood majorly is how the system is functioning to benefit male privilege or has been ignorant to female necessities. The socio-economic political conditioning of the current society places a female’s status more vulnerable to rape/crimes, assault, torture, mental trauma, and less exposure to education, work opportunities by huge numbers.
The power role between men and women is a huge key in both home and workplace relations. The power that may be acquired with more money, social status, at times just by inherently being men (derived from patriarchy) or physical power when it comes to abuse. All of this translates into ignoring female opinions, less female participation, discouragement, and denial of the capability of making certain career, life, love, marriage, and family choices. In layman’s terms — her position in the jungle decides the struggles.
The struggles are different and many so are the causes but they are all interrelated. When women started earning, they became more vocal. Political rights ensured that their voices and opinions matter equally, but their political representation is still to be taken care of. An equal social status ensured their role in decision-making in all spheres. And bringing down the patriarchal system takes away the power/authority to oppress, and when conclusively gender roles become interchangeable and fluid, there is more availability of choices and to ensure that women’s education and economic representation is prioritized and incentivized. The idea of consent has made women less agreeable. A lot has been done and a lot has to be done.
While the work is being done, countries over the world are still fighting for just abortion laws, security and property laws, easy affordable access to birth control, and reproductive services that are labeled with taxes of luxury items, rape punishments, marital rape, and equal pay for equal work. Recently, Argentina’s congress legalized abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy on 31st December 2020 after much protest of years. These are fights for women’s choices over their bodies and life. While we talk about choices and an equally fair share and quality of life, it is also important to not put all women in one box and to realize that everyone has a different gender expression, ambitions, faith, abilities, and more. This is postmodern feminism.
“If a woman chooses to stay home and raise children, the problem is not that she makes herself economically vulnerable in that choice, the problem is that our society is set up to make women economically vulnerable when they choose so. Let’s deal with that!”
— Roxane Gay
The struggle is nothing without the inclusivity of all gender expressions and bodies. That said, no matter where we are on the spectrum of a feminist with someone as good as breaking every branch to make this all possible to someone who also enjoys songs with degrading lyrics to the female body, we all can contribute.
All these struggles and contributions account for feminism as a political, cultural, and economic movement that also realizes the gender differences. Sociobiologists view gender as part of the nature or essence of one’s biological and social make-up. The second group of sociologists sees gender differences as social constructionism, mainly as a reflection of the different social positions occupied by women and men. They view gender as constructed by social structure and culture. Observations lead many feminists to conclude that male domination is rooted less in industrial capitalism than in the patriarchal authority relations, family structures, and patterns of socialization and culture that exist in almost all societies. With changing conflicting ideas and theories there have been some clear grounds over concepts such as consent, sex stereotyping. Consummating that only active consent from women is consent and dismantling the mentality that sexual response to forced intercourse or bodily behaviors were considered as consent by sexual offenders, reestablishing that male type traits are not the norms and female type traits shall not be perceived as deficient in comparison is the progressing contest.
“Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.”
— G.D. Anderson