This single word carries a lot of meaning to different people.
For some, it would refer to the upliftment, the empowerment of women in the world.
For others, people who would have seen Emma Watson’s stirring speech at the launch of the HeForShe campaign, it would refer to equality of the genders in this world.
Quite some people would grossly mistake it to be the granting of priveleges to women at the expense of men.
The abolishment of the patriarchal system. Equal wages.
Putting away with stereotypes and gender roles. Representation of women’s interests.
And so on.
Feminism could mean a lot of things.
However, recently I was introduced to a novel concept in a debate workshop. A concept which would go on to smack me BANG in the head for not thinking of such an idea before. A definition of Feminism which includes everything stated at the beginning of this post, and much, much more.
I’m still in awe.
That definition was bang on.
Let’s start at the beginning. The concept of Feminism started in the late 19th C in some cultures and solidified around the world in the 20th C. It’s roots trace back to the women movements which sought equal rights for both men and women. Hence, the term ‘Femin’ism. Women, having been oppressed for centuries, wanted more rights to place them in the same pedestal as men. And out of this, came the wrong assumption that Feminists wanted Rights at the expense of men.
However, as time has flowed by, it has become apparent that not only Women, but people as a whole are stereotyped and maligned. Every person in this world is affected by stereotypes. Their identity is pre-determined by existing stereotypes and gender roles.
Men don’t cry. Men who look ‘feminine’ in the eyes of society are Gay. Women like Pink. These are some of the simplest examples of such stereotypes. Stereotypes can go on to more serious issues such as Women are the primary caretakers of children, men are primary breadwinners, Gay couples can’t bring up a child and so on.
Feminism has grown, in today’s world, to address these issue and much more. It has grown to encompass all the people in this world who are discriminated, maligned, and stereotyped. It is a platform for anyone- be it man, woman, asexual, transsexual, LGBT- anyone to state their views and be heard.
Coming to the definition.
Feminism refers to the ‘Fight against Sexism -discrimination based on sex- through questioning the Gender Binary’
The revolutionary, life altering aspect of this definition is that ir basically challenges every single stereotype on the face of the Earth! Not because of its all-encompassing definition, but because it addresses the root cause!
This definition, by questioning the Gender Binary, basically puts away with Genders! There are no genders! If there are no genders, where would the concept of gender-related stereotypes come from?!
Alternatively it could also mean an Infinity of Genders!
Every single human being on the face of this Earth, is a gender by themself! Every single human being would be a single entity and can’t be categorised under a broad concept of Gender.
Mathematicians can relate this concept as a Singleton Set. A set in which one person is included.
Chemists can relate this concept to an Atom. The world is made up of Human Atoms, and can’t be generalised.
Bilogosts can refer to tho concept as a Cell. The World is made up of Human Cells in the primary form, and they shouldn’t be grouped together as a tissue or an organ.
Physicists can relate this concept to a Quanta. Th simplest entity and it can’t be grouped.
Everybody is a gender by themselves
This definition of Feminism could be referred to as the concept of Humanism, as it refers to all Humans on the face of this Earth. Personally I feel that, Humanism could be a better term for this movement, because it would remove any discrepancies in perception of the term ‘Feminism’ and would gather infinitely more support because everybody falls under this term.
Put away with the concept of Genders, you put away with gender based discrimination, malignment and stereotypes.
I am Siddharth Saravanan,
and I’m a gender by myself.