Sunday, 20 October 2013

iDiva - What it means to be a feminist!

This article can also be read by clicking the link below.

Varsha Agnihotri Vadhyar
Varsha Agnihotri Vadhyar
Varsha Agnihotri Vadhyar is the co-founder of Footloose No More, a platform which redefines the way marriages happen in urban India. Having launched three years ago in Mumbai, it is now in Pune too. Footloose No More was started by Varsha and her brother, Abhishek Agnihotri who have, since its launch, also found their soulmates in the group. The core of the group is marriage- in a fun, friendly and modern way.
What It Means to be Feminist

We women have to take a stand against eve teasing

I don’t know if I am a feminist. I love the men in my life, love to do things for them (including cooking) and pamper them constantly. So I am pro men. I even expect them to open doors and pull chairs for me. But if I see, even the men I love show disrespect towards a woman, I react instantly. That definitely makes me pro women, feminist or not! And that is what this is about! How to be a feminist?

Once, in a busy market of upscale Bombay, a man misbehaved with me. I instantly slapped him, grabbed his bag, threw it down and sat on it till the police arrived. When the police asked me to file an FIR, I asked for his parents and wife to be called in first. They arrived and I told them what the man had done. They didn’t say a word, but I am quite sure they didn’t take him home and say “well done!” If nothing else, the man was embarrassed enough in front of his family and a lot of by standers. I’m quite sure he will think before bullying a woman again because it took just one to show him that we don’t hide when injustice happens. Again, this isn’t the moral of the story. The entire drama took about two hours to unfold and through this no one came forward to help until the police arrived. Some even said, “it was just eve teasing, nothing serious, let it go!” Eve teasing isn’t serious? How long before it turns to rape? And through this, there were two girls, on their way home from college who stood by me! They said, they go through this a lot but never reacted because they always ended up being the only ones who did and got told to “stop reacting. You can’t change society.” Seeing me take action made them join in.

Secretly we all believe in it. Then why are we so afraid to react? Why are we so afraid to let men know that they can’t get away with this? As far as I’m concerned, there is no stigma to rape, except on the men who do it. The women don’t ask for it. The women don’t invite or encourage it. So why do we women accept it? Why do we keep quiet against injustice? And why do we endanger other women? Because every time we let one get away, we put one of us in danger.

I agree my solutions are simple. I’m not a behavioural scientist or a great thinker. I’m an ordinary woman with very ordinary concerns about my safety. I will never be a general in this war, but I do intend to be a good foot soldier and fight it out. I will not shut up against injustice against the girl on the street, the daughter-in-law being treated badly, the wife being abused or the daughter being suppressed. And I will raise my voice for myself! I will take that baby step in the right direction. And that is my pledge! What’s yours?

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