I have always had a tenuous relationship with practicing feminism.
This is mildly interesting because someone, fairly recently, called me a flaming liberal.
I lie on the roadside bruised and fallen off the Feminist city bus as the vehicle tried to ungracefully negotiate, first, the class curve, and next, the caste curve, not to mention the upcoming art and humor patch. As someone who had always been a perilous foot boarder on the vehicle, I take delight in jumping off the footboard as the bus slows down and agilely jump aboard as it picks speed.
“Opportunistic fuckboi, smarmy mangina, polished patriarch, Akshay Kumar”, screech the driver and conductor of the bus at us recalcitrant travelers.
But we’ve always managed to jump on and off without losing a limb yet. Not that there are no long distance passengers licking their lips looking to play the accordion and break out the balloons as soon as we die under the wheels. Good folks, slightly wound tight though at times.
Someone even helpfully yelled intersectionality!
I traveled as a sitting passenger on the bus for long and those on the footboard always seemed to have more fun. Now I too gleefully do it. And yes, it has been way more fun.
Worth it? Definitely.
But what about the rapes? The systemic inequality that oppresses women and expects gender conformity at the cost of freedom? Don’t you even care about the casual sexism that is rampant in the various fields of life? Do you want to normalize patriarchal and toxic behavior that if left unchecked manifests itself in some other form, at some other time, with some other people who can’t fight back? Are you seriously saying you are ok with this toxicity?
The short answer is the most diplomatic one. Yes and no. I am not ok with it. But I have moved away from being an idealogue about it. I think you should call me a hypocrite. I call myself one at every opportunity.
Of course, I am not ok with pro-life laws. I want women to take control of their bodies. I also am ok, more than ok, in fact highly encouraging of the wear what you want policy. No slut shaming. In fact, every time I see a knockout in a squeaking black tight tiny latex dress, I tend to disengage from the feminist spiel I am on with whichever frumpy grumpy I am talking to.
That was when I realized sexy patriarchal women > corduroy curly haired feminist (of course under certain conditions, for obvious ends). You see, I’ve never solved the riddle of “strong, confident, and takes the lead but feminist” adjective. Apparently, it is child’s play, but in my defense, I have also never put together even a single lego puzzle.
Which reminds me, purely platonically, I am feminist as fuck. Till I meet a feminist that is. Casual sexism is a thing. I am trying to adopt casual feminism.
But just when I was about to frame that edict above the front entrance of my door (because I couldn’t find a doormat at the corner “buy your feminist stuff discount sale”) I ran into a broad who was just so pinchable and cat-callable who was also a feminist.
Luckily she was also a lesbian.
I immediately called the framing business and put a hold on the artwork. I still was unsure I explained. She was outraged. She seethed and tried face timing the two-timing South Asian male. “Firstly lady”, I protested, “I don’t have an iPhone”.
At times I have tried to follow arguments by feminists on why good jokes are non-laughable. Sneaky me, first I read the joke alone, get my fill of laughter, and only then show it to the Fs. Aha, you thought I was dumb! But I learnt. Learned? (Grammarly tells me it is learned. It is underlining learnt. It doesn’t like learnt). The trouble is I never am able to understand the accent. And they don’t seem to have time to explain anyways. They have dogs to cuddle before they sleep. And bearded men to slay before they wake.
Oh, oh, oh. No. Let us not get shrill on academics, please. We’ve all suffraged enough. There will always be room to fight the good fight. To stick it to the Man. To bring down Patriarchy and …squirrel!
“Oh but you have a daughter too, how would you feel if…” – she can live her own life without being forced into a second rate citizen, who shouldn’t have to fear rape and violence and casual sexism and reclaim public spaces and late nights and all.
That is right. But I already told you I am one. A big H.
I have two placards for now. Chameleon man I call myself. Camille-eon man, if you want gender parity.
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