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A feminist's review of contemporary feminism
By Ayushman Jamwal
The core principle of the feminist movement is equality, but contemporary feminism seems to have lost touch with it, straight jacketing itself into a 'Carnival of Outrage'.

Feminism advocates freedom, but it seldom encourages the responsibility that comes with it. In the patriarchal system, men are trained to understand the risks and dangers of the world and prime themselves to face them, as they are also victims of assault and abuse. Under the same system, women are never conditioned for the 'big bad world', but as feminism aims to break patriarchy, it does not equip women to face the challenges of freedom. Consider the political tussle over curfew timings for women in educational institutions. Women in the western world have been fighting against it since the 1960s and it has only recently gained political mileage in India. The feminist 'freedom' argument focuses on pushing women to escape the 'authority' of the educational institutions. Progressive American feminist Camille Paglia says that women in the old campus movements would demand 'the freedom to risk being raped, as only that was true freedom'. But the question remains - Do a majority of Indian women today consciously equip themselves to counter the dangers of the freedom they are fighting for, namely facing the nefarious and psychotic elements of the world?

What has emerged via contemporary feminism is what is being called 'New Paternalism' where women now want to draw out the authority figures namely the government back into their spheres, but at an arm's distance. 'New Paternalism' tends to build the 'Carnival of Outrage' through the media and social media creating a narrative where women want to take all the risks of freedom but put the onus of protection solely in the hands of authority figures. Contemporary feminism does not seem to teach women that they must take responsibility for their own protection, as is expected of men. While it is the government's responsibility to swiftly prosecute cases of sexual assault and harassment, the occurrence of the incidents themselves is blamed on ambiguous villains like 'mindsets' and standard punching bags like the government and police. A political campaign is waged via the media, which dissipates only to reappear after the next incident. The real activism never matches the outrage.

This becomes particularly problematic, as contemporary feminism does not teach women that sexual communication is far more than words. A woman's dress contains sexual messages, and while feminism advocates for women to dress how they feel, which is a human right at the end of the day, it never teaches them to defend themselves from the negative effects of the sexual communication, namely the beasts of society.

Self-defence training is not an everyday part of a modern Indian woman's life. Contemporary feminism does not push women to train in self-defence, does not advocate developing a mental fortitude to take on harassers, as well as the confidence and strength to use weapons without hesitation. It advocates freedom, fearless expression and economic empowerment, a Spartan way of thinking, but never the Spartan skills to defend oneself. It demands protection as a right from some archaic authority and does not advocate it as a responsibility of the individual. It should be no less than a diktat of the feminist movement as well as a demand to introduce and inculcate it into the education system.

Feminism of today is no longer moulding Amazonian women, but seems to have found comfort in the political messaging of 'victims' and its safe and secure place in the traditional media, seeking equality without responsibility or foresight. This is the reason why misuse of rape laws and sexual crimes against men are never reported and are never raised or decried by contemporary feminists. True equality is gender neutrality of all laws, but they don't see it that way.

Contemporary feminism is lazy and has reduced itself to a political showpiece that is extracting its importance only via banal outrage. It is an ideology that is not creating strong, but entitled women who believe that simply their entitlement to freedom is true equality.

News Updated at : Thursday, May 18, 2017
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