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I was always a feminist. Any form of mistreatment targeted toward a female owing to her gender infuriated me.
But, when it came down to being rad in terms of feminist viewpoint, I often took a backseat. I could never resonate with whatever the radical feminist advocated for.
I wondered how the urge of cutting up all men from society served any purpose or why wanting to destroy existent societal structures made any sense. I never understood how opting to substitute the word “Women” with “Wom*n” did any justice to the feminist outburst, or what little could women euphemizing men as “dick-bearing creatures” merely do, or, to the least, what did it even symbolize.
It was only last week when a documentary on YouTube caught my sight and the series of recommendations alongside binge-watching similar videos kept snowballing. This went on for an entire week.
The very first documentary that led me to all these explorations was about growing rates of femicide in Honduras. As projected in the documentary, femicide was so common there that a woman’s beheaded corpse lying in the middle of the street was normal. A wife seeking legal protection against a husband shamelessly chasing her with a knife and threatening to stab her only because she chose to work did not sound unusual.
Then, the documentary led me to another similar video about female genital mutilation, whereby removing the genitalia of female infants and girls below 15 was practiced with such pride around Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. None of those mutilations were for medical reasons. The only rationale behind those was to preserve a girl’s virginity for her husband who, by the time of the wedding, would have already married three women, have 10 children, and still that would not be a problem.
A video of a 19-year-old girl in India hung on a tree branch with around 20 men beating her to cruelty ripped my heart into pieces. Learning the fact that the ones pioneering the violent parade were none other than her own father and cousins hit me to the core. And all those physical attacks for what? Her decision to stay at her maternal uncle’s house after her husband left the village for work.
What brought me to tears was a news article published in one of the online news portals in Nepal, whereby a disabled girl is instigated to resort to birth prevention syringes against her consent every three months. And for what? To prevent unwanted pregnancies in case a man decides to rape her any fine day, despite the knowledge and awareness of her disability, coupled with mental instability that was caused by a traumatic history of rape during her childhood.
Who cares about the forced abortion she had to go through?
As I was watching all these videos, the law firm I currently work in handed me over a similar case file, whereby a minor had been sexually harassed and raped by her own biological father for seven years. That particular case study shook me from within. While we are arguing about how society had turned unsafe for women, a seven-year-old daughter was being exploited in the very place she called her “home” and “family.”
Nobody can ever feel or even relate to the amount of trauma and suffering she must have gone through. The father who was supposed to raise her had been taking advantage of her right from an age where she could not even understand what all those unsolicited actions meant.
By the time I was writing this article, a news headline popped up on my screen, and I felt like giving up on everything. The nerve-wracking rage upon hearing the news is inexplicable.
A 19-year-old single mother traveling with her son had asked for a lift with a truck driver who chose to rape her brutally and then called upon three more men to rape her continuously for four days. Once done with the misdeed, she was finally dropped off in one of the locations vulnerably. A female asking for help is perceived as an opportunity to take sexual advantage of. As I began contemplating deeper about the extent of brutality to which these living objects (the perpetrators do not deserve to be recognized as humans) could go, I suddenly remembered the Nirbhaya incident from Delhi, whereby a 23-year-old female was raped by six men on a moving bus. An iron rod was then inserted inside her body through her vagina and her intestines were pulled out of her body.
You can easily get numb and shattered by the horror of the incident. But, one of the defense lawyers claiming to have burnt his daughter alive had she been the victim in the case, traveling with a male counterpart that late, will enrage you more. I wonder how convenient was it for him to say that he would kill the daughter to whom he did not even give birth.
A mere sperm transfer can never outweigh all the physical difficulties the mother had to go through, and yet, these fathers treat their daughter as their possession with some kind of entitlement.
These are just a few examples that have come to light that show how women are exploited, suppressed, and abused on a daily basis. If we are to dig deep into societal reality, we do not even know how many girls are/have been raped by their fathers, beaten by their neighbors, or murdered for opting for liberty to do whatever they want to. The centuries-long patriarchal mindset has justified all of it.
A son is never taught about respecting women or how eve-teasing a random girl walking down the street is wrong. But, a daughter right from her childhood is forbidden from wearing short clothes, going out of the house late at night, and speaking “too much.” The only lessons she ever gets are on cooking, getting married, and taking care of her children.
That is why the guy who rapes roams around freely like any other normal person, while the female who gets raped has to lock herself inside her room for days, has to worry about her “future” husband questioning her dignity, and has to pull herself together to deal with that auntie who would not mind asking her about the length of the dress she was wearing when she got raped. This is the society we live in. Getting raped is more shameful than raping someone.
As I sit down and think about the young girl who had been raped by her father for seven years, I do not find it problematic even if she grows up to become that loud radical feminist in the room who hates all men. Why would not she? Her own father could not make her feel safe. Her father who could have been an ideal example of men turned out to be a beast. I wonder why she would even trust any other man after all those heart-wrenching events she had to experience.
The extremist feminist outburst is justified in so many ways. Why should we even appear poised when voicing our opinions against the misogyny that shut us up throughout our lives? Why should we still put forth our opinions delicately when mistreatment against us was justified every time? Why should we groom ourselves to meet societal expectations and not become whatever we want to be?
Changing the chauvinist, patriarchal perspective that’s deeply embedded in all layers of society is crucial. If you turn around and micro-analyze most practices of our society, you will start noticing how all events, attitudes, practices, and tendencies have been set in a manner that degrades women and shows how weak of a creature they are.
For instance, making a man feel that he is inferior or worthless doesn’t need an adjective. Labeling him with a tag of a “woman” or “feminine” will do the job.
Ever wondered how “balls of steel” denotes strength while “pussy” indicates cowardice? Ever thought of how women are often stereotyped to have low IQs, poor driving skills, or weak leadership qualities? Tell a man to work in the kitchen just for five minutes and you will hear him say “This is your job, not mine. How can I be good at it?” If these are not sexist viewpoints, I wonder what is.
That is why I finally relate with radical feminists. I resonate with their ideology, rage, and fury toward the entire “man” kind.
The extremist outburst that I see today is nothing compared to the sense of dominance, suppression, and abuse women have been facing right from the evolution of human civilization itself.