The Right To Choose & The Freedom To Decline

This post (quite unexpectedly) brought in several responses.

Shefaly is a feminist and not ashamed of it. She also identifies it so strongly with her identity that she believes that all women are feminists. And she asks,

Why is it that it is ok for groups to huddle together if they play basketball or run marathons or make films, but not if they are the same gender or same race or same age?

I’m delighted to find that men add the voice of reason on XXFactor. Here are Rambler, Ashish and Amey giving us their thoughts:

I do not think feminism is about male bashing.

Feminism is more of a ‘non-male’ part rather than ‘anti-male’.

I am pretty sure you are closer to being a sexist.

So much for answers! My single question seems to have sparked off a host of new questions!

Firstly it occurs to me that I’m just going wayyyy too anti-male here. I actually don’t dislike men that much in real life. In fact I don’t dislike them at all!! To echo Pragni, I’m thinking of my father, my teachers, my buddies, my favorite boss, my mentor…well, plenty of men anyway. Maybe I should drop some of the OTT humour and speak my real mind for a change. Hmm.

Secondly, I’m most intrigued by the aspect that Chandni brings up. There certainly is a definite “I’m so much better” attitude among the Modern Woman (a stereotype by the way based on this blog’s author..meh). I’ve poked enough of fun at my housewife-y friends, deriding their smug attitudes and portraying myself as a lone achiever. I’m still not on the same planet as beings who believe that they were born to serve and satisfy MANkind.

On the other hand, my best friend is a highly intelligent woman who just has other interests and who would at some point of time, like to quit the corporate world and spend the time starting a family and spending time with them. Another close friend has decided not to pursue what I imagine would have been a fulfiling career and instead pursues another equally challenging (if not more) job as full-time mommy. I’ve never thought of either of these women as inferior to me in any way. That stems from the fact that I know that in both cases, their lives are their own. Their desicions may be influenced by other people at times but they bear the full responsibility for these.

After all, the right to choose includes the right to say yes – or no!!

Can I then sum that to say that a feminist is a person who is aware of the power of choice? If a woman, she knows what is available to her and has the freedom to exercise it or not. If a man, he is appreciative and accepting of a woman as his equal counterpart.

About IdeaSmith

IdeaSmith is the digital doppelganger of Ramya Pandyan (intrepid train-traveller and frequent spouter of post-midnight rhymes and rants). As IdeaSmith she battles obscurity and slays boredom with her stories about men, books, digitalia and Mumbai. She performs live and also blogs, tweets, Instagrams, Facebooks, +G’s, Youtubes and Goodreads all as IdeaSmith. Ramya is a blogger, digital storyteller and spoken word performer. She also runs a forum for aspiring writers called Alphabet Sambar. Tweet-bomb her at @ideasmithy.

Posted on March 10, 2008, in Bookmarked, Seriously speaking. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Ideasmith: You unfairly portray me as an ingénue who does not seem to know that some women are not feminists. For a fuller view of what I think, see comment 9 in previous post.

    If I had said in my comment @.. because you are a sensible woman..’, would you have attributed the ‘degree of strength’ in this one aspect of my identity as you have done? That is a logical leap I am afraid and there is no connection with how strongly I may feel something and how I extrapolate that to mean that everyone like me (anyway who _can_ be like me but that is a debatable point in itself) must be feeling the same thing.

    Come on, Ideasmith! Be fair.

  2. That’s all that I wanted to say in the end 🙂

  3. makes me wonder can a man ever be counted as a feminist??

  4. @ Shefaly: Ah..moderation is something we lack here on XXFactor! I actually made that statement because your first comment answers my question with “You are a feminist because you are a woman”. Also from comment 9, it seemed like you might be referring to anyone who denied this statement. I’m obviously misunderstanding what you’re saying. Let’s backtrack – what exactly do you believe defines a feminist?

    @ Chandni: I pretty much echoed your thoughts but with my own nuances.

    @ Rambler: I think so. That’s why my last line speaks thus.

  5. Ditto….I think having a power of choice and exercising it defines ones (sex no bar) intellectual capacity and that person being a female is nothing but ‘intellectual female’. I am not sure if such female be called as feminist, but Male who accepts and respects her very same intellect is certainly a Feminist!!

  6. Ideasmith: Logically all women should be feminists; it is about claiming and if need be, reclaiming equal rights for being one half of the human race.

    Some men are feminists too because they believe in the same principles of equal rights for women.

  7. whoa my favorite topic lately. we hve a series going on feminism on our blog as well.

    feminism = humanism

    the end.

  8. Hi…

    I’ve been reading your blog for sometime now. A feminist as i see her is someone who knows her mind, what makes her happy and fulfilled and just goes for it be it a housewife, a full time mom, a career woman… having been a career woman and given it up a few months back to be a full time mom, i actually relate with what u’ve written. It is the power of choice and more importantly it has to do with empowerment and choices than with male bashing. Feminism comes from within. It ain’t a concept.

  9. @ Ashish: Amen to that!

    @ Shefaly: Hmm, that bears thinking. I just have a problem with the typical stereotype of a feminist as a butch-looking, possibly lesbian, man-hating scary female. I don’t fit that stereotype at all. But then I guess I have a problem with all stereotypes.

    @ Roop Rai: What’s humanism?

    @ Maya: That’s by far the best answer I’ve had to this question. Thank you for commenting and I really hope you do so more often! 🙂

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