Feminism Fodder

Why I am a feminist

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People sometimes wonder why I call myself a feminist. They wonder how I came to become one. I was a feminist long before I knew the term for it. Because I was born in a country that hates women. I was born in India. Believe me, it’s not a stretch to use the word ‘hate’. How else do you explain a statement like this:

We have the best culture. In our culture, there is no place for a woman.

Yes, my dear readers. This was a recent statement in an upcoming documentary by an Indian lawyer ML Sharma. He was the defence lawyer for the arseholes who gang-raped Jyoti Singh in 2012. One of these fucking rapists also had the audacity to blame Jyoti for the rape in this documentary. This is what is wrong with India. This is the misogyny that exists in so many patriarchal societies.

I grew up learning how as girls, we were responsible for everything that happened to us. If a family had money problems, it was because the daughter or the wife was bad luck. If a girl had her period, she was banished from areas such as the kitchen or the prayer room and not allowed to touch certain things for fear of making them impure with her touch. I grew up learning that I was wrong to wear shorts and get dirty playing cricket or soccer with the boys. I learnt that girls couldn’t play sports. I learnt that as a girl, I had to always serve others and be submissive. I learnt that my big mouth and my oppositional behaviour would not be tolerated by my in-laws. But most importantly, I grew up learning that as a girl, and later a woman, I was responsible for being groped, touched or even being assaulted.

It made my blood boil.

I wanted to be a boy at a young age. Because being a boy meant more freedom and more opportunities. Not by my family but by society, in general. That’s how young I was when I noticed gender inequality. Without actually having the language for it, I knew that patriarchy was rife. And that if you were a boy in India, you were guaranteed a better life than a girl.

Sure, I was fortunate. And I give all credit to my parents for that. For giving me opportunities and not treating me any different than they would a son. But so many other Indian girls and women are not this fortunate.

They become a statistic. Like the 1 woman raped every 20 minutes. Or they become the subject of a documentary like India’s Daughter.

So to all those who ask me why I became a feminist, my answer to you is that I think women are human beings too. I think we need to be treated like we matter. I have been fortunate that my family kept me unlike so many female babies in India. I have been even more fortunate that my family gave me opportunities like education. But I still grew up in a society where I had to fight. I had to fight being groped on public transport. I had to fight to explain my reasons for my education. I had to fight to matter.

While I am no longer Indian and no longer in India, my blood continues to boil for the women who suffer there. For the gender inequality. I will continue to be a feminist till my dying day because, in the end, we women need to be heard. We need to matter. No matter which country, region, religion or culture we are born into.

I despise the patriarchal society. I despise the poison it spreads.

Yet, I hope some day women will be granted equal rights.

After all, one can dare to dream.

With International Women’s Day coming up later this week, please remember all the women who are being sorely discriminated against.

Image Source: Here

Until next time,

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  • nabanita
    3 March 2015 at 9:13 pm

    That’s the problem with us, we think, in fact we boast of our culture which actually mean subduing women..I hate this and I wish I could torture that arsehole myself!
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    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      3 March 2015 at 9:17 pm

      Tell me about it Naba! I was reading that article and wishing I could stab these guys in the balls and just watch them slowly and painfully bleed to death. And I am not a violent person generally. But I can gladly make an exception!

  • nabanita
    3 March 2015 at 9:13 pm

    That’s the problem with us, we think, in fact we boast of our culture which actually mean subduing women..I hate this and I wish I could torture that arsehole myself!
    nabanita recently posted…Bracevor.in : A ReviewMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      3 March 2015 at 9:17 pm

      Tell me about it Naba! I was reading that article and wishing I could stab these guys in the balls and just watch them slowly and painfully bleed to death. And I am not a violent person generally. But I can gladly make an exception!

  • Lata Sunil
    3 March 2015 at 10:00 pm

    I must thank you for putting in words all the anger. When will we be considered humans first and a woman later?

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      3 March 2015 at 10:12 pm

      I was really, really angry Lata. I started the post by swearing a lot and making some comments about what I’d like to do to those rapists. But I figured eventually that something more straightforward and calm would be better. Thanks for reading and for your comment.

  • Lata Sunil
    3 March 2015 at 10:00 pm

    I must thank you for putting in words all the anger. When will we be considered humans first and a woman later?

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      3 March 2015 at 10:12 pm

      I was really, really angry Lata. I started the post by swearing a lot and making some comments about what I’d like to do to those rapists. But I figured eventually that something more straightforward and calm would be better. Thanks for reading and for your comment.

  • Shailaja
    3 March 2015 at 10:55 pm

    My heart bleeds as I read this, because it is true. So unfortunately true and I cannot imagine how anyone can say what he said and get away with it. As for the lawyer who defended him, the lesser said the better. Some days, the words are useless 🙁
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  • Shailaja
    3 March 2015 at 10:55 pm

    My heart bleeds as I read this, because it is true. So unfortunately true and I cannot imagine how anyone can say what he said and get away with it. As for the lawyer who defended him, the lesser said the better. Some days, the words are useless 🙁
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  • Sid
    3 March 2015 at 10:58 pm

    I can imagine the anger, Sanch. And I too hope that all of us could just flog the a**hole to death.And as for India, well, I’m ashamed to be part of such a culture. More power to women everywhere.
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    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      4 March 2015 at 12:53 pm

      Tell me about it Shailaja…I am so ashamed to have Indian roots. When I say I dislike the culture, people wonder why. This is why.

      • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
        6 March 2015 at 8:26 pm

        It is shameful isn’t it, Sid? And you know what? It’s an insult to all the good men out there who don’t think this way!

  • Sid
    3 March 2015 at 10:58 pm

    I can imagine the anger, Sanch. And I too hope that all of us could just flog the a**hole to death.And as for India, well, I’m ashamed to be part of such a culture. More power to women everywhere.
    Sid recently posted…Winners and LosersMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      4 March 2015 at 12:53 pm

      Tell me about it Shailaja…I am so ashamed to have Indian roots. When I say I dislike the culture, people wonder why. This is why.

      • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
        6 March 2015 at 8:26 pm

        It is shameful isn’t it, Sid? And you know what? It’s an insult to all the good men out there who don’t think this way!

  • Stephanie Rose Bird
    4 March 2015 at 3:04 am

    Super powerful post Sanch! Thanks for this. It has made my day.
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  • Stephanie Rose Bird
    4 March 2015 at 3:04 am

    Super powerful post Sanch! Thanks for this. It has made my day.
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  • Kathy S Combs
    4 March 2015 at 6:07 am

    I can not imagine living in a place like that. This is certainly quite a descriptive view of the life women must live in India.
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  • Kathy S Combs
    4 March 2015 at 6:07 am

    I can not imagine living in a place like that. This is certainly quite a descriptive view of the life women must live in India.
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  • Amy @ HandbagMafia
    4 March 2015 at 8:02 am

    This is a great piece. I wanted to write something when I read yesterday about what that excuse for a man said- that it’s is the girl’s fault. I was so appalled- but I’m glad you wrote about it as the perspective of someone actually raised in that culture is even more powerful.
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    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      4 March 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Thanks Amy. It’s just so wrong on so many levels. I was livid yesterday and swearing my head off…had to delete what I was writing several times before I could get coherent!

  • Amy @ HandbagMafia
    4 March 2015 at 8:02 am

    This is a great piece. I wanted to write something when I read yesterday about what that excuse for a man said- that it’s is the girl’s fault. I was so appalled- but I’m glad you wrote about it as the perspective of someone actually raised in that culture is even more powerful.
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    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      4 March 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Thanks Amy. It’s just so wrong on so many levels. I was livid yesterday and swearing my head off…had to delete what I was writing several times before I could get coherent!

  • Linda Tharp
    5 March 2015 at 9:02 am

    Your post opened my eyes. Of course I know such thinking and actions exist in the world but as a resident of the US, it’s easy (sometimes too easy) for me to flip the page of the newspaper or continue scrolling online when something “ugly” is reported. It was with utter disbelief that I read your words, all at once shocked and confused and disillusioned that this ugliness actually exists in a *civilized* country. I don’t mean to trivialize our problems by my comment, because we have plenty. But nothing like this.
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    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      6 March 2015 at 10:46 pm

      I know what you mean Linda re turning the pages of the newspaper when it doesn’t happen in your backyard. I’m guilty of the same too. Thanks to the internet though, we now have more awareness of what happens across the globe.

  • Linda Tharp
    5 March 2015 at 9:02 am

    Your post opened my eyes. Of course I know such thinking and actions exist in the world but as a resident of the US, it’s easy (sometimes too easy) for me to flip the page of the newspaper or continue scrolling online when something “ugly” is reported. It was with utter disbelief that I read your words, all at once shocked and confused and disillusioned that this ugliness actually exists in a *civilized* country. I don’t mean to trivialize our problems by my comment, because we have plenty. But nothing like this.
    Linda Tharp recently posted…FantasylandMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      6 March 2015 at 10:46 pm

      I know what you mean Linda re turning the pages of the newspaper when it doesn’t happen in your backyard. I’m guilty of the same too. Thanks to the internet though, we now have more awareness of what happens across the globe.

  • elly stornebrink
    5 March 2015 at 4:04 pm

    It seems that ‘blood boiling’ is a common theme at least in the comments I received on the same topic: http://www.xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2015/03/reactions-to-delhi-bus-rapist-interview.html … Though understandable that you wanted to be a boy even at a young age – amazing that you picked that up! – considering the mistreatment of women in India. I’m grateful you are a feminist Sanch ’cause I think the rebel in you is perfect for it! 😉 I too have a major challenge with the patriarchal system as it is ‘damaging’ for people, including and especially women. I think you would appreciate ‘The Burning Times’ video. I saw it online last night on FB. 😉 BTW Sanch, I’m curious: how are you or did you become non-Indian? 🙂 <3
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    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      6 March 2015 at 11:02 pm

      I think the discrimination is so obvious Elly that kids can pick it up. I have to Google the burning times video…sounds interesting.

      As for being non-Indian, I got my Australian citizenship in 2010 and revoked my Indian citizenship — India doesn’t allow dual citizenship and to be honest, I was more than happy to give it up as I want no association with the country. In fact, the main reason to visit is for my parents but I reckon after they are gone, I won’t be going back.

      • elly stornebrink
        7 March 2015 at 4:58 pm

        I have a feeling that you will appreciate the video so I would love to hear your feedback on it. 😉 You may have mentioned you were Australian and I forgot…interesting that India doesn’t allow dual citizenship though I can understand why you wouldn’t want to be. Sorry to hear! <3
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  • elly stornebrink
    5 March 2015 at 4:04 pm

    It seems that ‘blood boiling’ is a common theme at least in the comments I received on the same topic: http://www.xpressyouressence.blogspot.ca/2015/03/reactions-to-delhi-bus-rapist-interview.html … Though understandable that you wanted to be a boy even at a young age – amazing that you picked that up! – considering the mistreatment of women in India. I’m grateful you are a feminist Sanch ’cause I think the rebel in you is perfect for it! 😉 I too have a major challenge with the patriarchal system as it is ‘damaging’ for people, including and especially women. I think you would appreciate ‘The Burning Times’ video. I saw it online last night on FB. 😉 BTW Sanch, I’m curious: how are you or did you become non-Indian? 🙂 <3
    elly stornebrink recently posted…Wordy Wednesday 3: Essential!My Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      6 March 2015 at 11:02 pm

      I think the discrimination is so obvious Elly that kids can pick it up. I have to Google the burning times video…sounds interesting.

      As for being non-Indian, I got my Australian citizenship in 2010 and revoked my Indian citizenship — India doesn’t allow dual citizenship and to be honest, I was more than happy to give it up as I want no association with the country. In fact, the main reason to visit is for my parents but I reckon after they are gone, I won’t be going back.

      • elly stornebrink
        7 March 2015 at 4:58 pm

        I have a feeling that you will appreciate the video so I would love to hear your feedback on it. 😉 You may have mentioned you were Australian and I forgot…interesting that India doesn’t allow dual citizenship though I can understand why you wouldn’t want to be. Sorry to hear! <3
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  • Renee Wilson
    6 March 2015 at 7:11 am

    Excellent post. It makes my blood boil too that these inequalities, discrimination and abuse is still rife. I feel extremely blessed to have grown up in the country that I have.
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  • Renee Wilson
    6 March 2015 at 7:11 am

    Excellent post. It makes my blood boil too that these inequalities, discrimination and abuse is still rife. I feel extremely blessed to have grown up in the country that I have.
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  • Natalie @ Our Parallel Connection
    6 March 2015 at 11:45 am

    Ranch you have given me goosebumps with your passion.Yes we are equal, yes we are entitled to the same treatment, yes we deserve our voices. I have always been a feminist but never said the words because I thought it meant I was putting men down (which I don’t) But I am passionate about women and women rights and I love to hear a woman’s voice – like yours.
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    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      8 March 2015 at 9:43 pm

      Thanks Natalie. Sadly, that’s the misconception so many women have about feminism — that it’s anti-men. I have had to explain time and again that it’s not and it’s just about equality.

  • Natalie @ Our Parallel Connection
    6 March 2015 at 11:45 am

    Ranch you have given me goosebumps with your passion.Yes we are equal, yes we are entitled to the same treatment, yes we deserve our voices. I have always been a feminist but never said the words because I thought it meant I was putting men down (which I don’t) But I am passionate about women and women rights and I love to hear a woman’s voice – like yours.
    Natalie @ Our Parallel Connection recently posted…Stillborn movie – Return to zero – OPC Wonderful WordsMy Profile

    • Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life
      8 March 2015 at 9:43 pm

      Thanks Natalie. Sadly, that’s the misconception so many women have about feminism — that it’s anti-men. I have had to explain time and again that it’s not and it’s just about equality.

  • Dani @ sand has no home
    6 March 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks for this post, it weas so thought provoking. I am feminist by nature, but it never had to be inherantly born through such a culture as what you describe. I am so glad that youand your parents didn’t allow you to be subjugated like that, but you are right, millions of girls and women are, all over the world. Your comment about baby girls brought a tear to my eye, looking at my precious 8 month old girl, I wonder what is wrong in the world that anyone could look at her with anything other than joy and endearment. There is a lot wrong with the world, indeed.

  • Dani @ sand has no home
    6 March 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks for this post, it weas so thought provoking. I am feminist by nature, but it never had to be inherantly born through such a culture as what you describe. I am so glad that youand your parents didn’t allow you to be subjugated like that, but you are right, millions of girls and women are, all over the world. Your comment about baby girls brought a tear to my eye, looking at my precious 8 month old girl, I wonder what is wrong in the world that anyone could look at her with anything other than joy and endearment. There is a lot wrong with the world, indeed.

  • Lizzing Lightly
    6 March 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing your personal experiences from an Indian perspective. It is helpful to see the value of what has been achieved through gender equality in countries like Australia and what a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day – by acknowledging how far we still have to go.
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  • Lizzing Lightly
    6 March 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing your personal experiences from an Indian perspective. It is helpful to see the value of what has been achieved through gender equality in countries like Australia and what a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day – by acknowledging how far we still have to go.
    Lizzing Lightly recently posted…Lizzing Lightly’s Homemade Dog Food RecipeMy Profile

  • Robo
    6 March 2015 at 6:24 pm

    This is a f^&king excellent post. I love the way you say that as a small child, you knew there were inconsistencies between the genders, even though you weren’t able to articulate it. Kids are more perceptive than we know. I love ballsy posts like this one that push the boundaries and aren’t afraid to tell it like it is. Well done! X
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  • Robo
    6 March 2015 at 6:24 pm

    This is a f^&king excellent post. I love the way you say that as a small child, you knew there were inconsistencies between the genders, even though you weren’t able to articulate it. Kids are more perceptive than we know. I love ballsy posts like this one that push the boundaries and aren’t afraid to tell it like it is. Well done! X
    Robo recently posted…Fat FingersMy Profile

  • Hugzilla
    6 March 2015 at 7:21 pm

    This is such a powerful and brave post. It’s a testament to your own courage and the upbringing your parents gave you that you are able to so confidently reject the notion that as a woman you are a lesser being.

  • Hugzilla
    6 March 2015 at 7:21 pm

    This is such a powerful and brave post. It’s a testament to your own courage and the upbringing your parents gave you that you are able to so confidently reject the notion that as a woman you are a lesser being.

  • Nibha
    9 March 2015 at 6:01 am

    Because being a boy meant more freedom and more opportunities. This made me cringe. Seriously, living in a country where a fellow ‘educated’ man blatantly declares that there’s no place for women in our culture, what else can we expect from the illiterate section of the society!! Yes, it boils my blood too! But we can only dream of a distant future where the world will be fair to women!
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  • Nibha
    9 March 2015 at 6:01 am

    Because being a boy meant more freedom and more opportunities. This made me cringe. Seriously, living in a country where a fellow ‘educated’ man blatantly declares that there’s no place for women in our culture, what else can we expect from the illiterate section of the society!! Yes, it boils my blood too! But we can only dream of a distant future where the world will be fair to women!
    Nibha recently posted…Celebrating Women? Really?? #MakeItHappenMy Profile

  • Daniela
    9 March 2015 at 6:15 pm

    And of course now we are told medical and surgical interns who are in the unfortunate position of being women are subjected to all sorts of sexual harassment both physical and verbal. Like you, I’m usually even-keeled but I’d castrate the bloody lot of them, name and shame and kick them out of the medical profession. They think they can get away with anything because they can. The only positive thing to come out of things like this is that it lead to some seriously open discussion with my 14 year old son.

  • Daniela
    9 March 2015 at 6:15 pm

    And of course now we are told medical and surgical interns who are in the unfortunate position of being women are subjected to all sorts of sexual harassment both physical and verbal. Like you, I’m usually even-keeled but I’d castrate the bloody lot of them, name and shame and kick them out of the medical profession. They think they can get away with anything because they can. The only positive thing to come out of things like this is that it lead to some seriously open discussion with my 14 year old son.

  • Sheethal
    9 March 2015 at 10:40 pm

    I also wanted to be boy from an early age. Mainly for the freedom and roam around and not having to give any explanation for I am doing. And thanks to my parents esp, mom… I was given so much freedom which I took for granted till I saw the restrictions implied upon my friends. Living outside India that too an Arab nation, even then now I am enjoying equal rights and freedom men in this country enjoy. But as you said, anything happens in India or anything said against Indian women makes the blood boil. Because we are one too.
    Sheethal recently posted…To All …My Profile

  • Sheethal
    9 March 2015 at 10:40 pm

    I also wanted to be boy from an early age. Mainly for the freedom and roam around and not having to give any explanation for I am doing. And thanks to my parents esp, mom… I was given so much freedom which I took for granted till I saw the restrictions implied upon my friends. Living outside India that too an Arab nation, even then now I am enjoying equal rights and freedom men in this country enjoy. But as you said, anything happens in India or anything said against Indian women makes the blood boil. Because we are one too.
    Sheethal recently posted…To All …My Profile

  • jess
    12 March 2015 at 3:02 pm

    What an excellent post from a unique cultural perspective. Thank you for opening my eyes a bit more!
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  • jess
    12 March 2015 at 3:02 pm

    What an excellent post from a unique cultural perspective. Thank you for opening my eyes a bit more!
    jess recently posted…Check me outMy Profile

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