In their busy lifestyles of going 6 hours of school, 2 hours of tuition, worrying about upcoming class tests and keeping themselves and their parents happy; where does an Indian teenager find time to actually read up and think about stuff like “feminism”, right?

Most of the people around me, don’t even know what is the correct definition of feminism and create a misogynistic perspective towards the whole movement. Feminist – a person who believes in social, political and economic equality of all sexes. Emphasis on “all sexes”. And that is where the unaware crowd starts shouting. People are mostly, if not often, lured by where crowd is going. And that is where a naïve unsophisticated school going girl gets captured.

Most influential people in a kids life, i.e. their parents, end up adding to the situation as well. Girls seen as a part of society who should know all the household work, know how to cook and clean afterwards, greet everyone with a sweet smile and a glass of water. Boys are not. Confident in every action they take, because what are the consequences, really? The stereotypes of the gender roles prevailing in our society are the biggest problem why feminism cannot legitimately prevail in India. This can be seen everywhere –  in our house, on the streets, the Bollywood commercial movies and songs capturing a huge amount of audience, the laws and policies protecting the predators and the mindset of public at general. Surrounded by all this, what do you think would be the mindset of an Indian teenage girl?

All these influences corrupt her brain. She gets made into believing what other are doing is correct because they are the authority and authority is always correct, you should never question them. With all this suppression, misunderstandings, forced believes, patriarchal society mentality and predator psychology prevailing, it’s very hard to find an Indian teenage girl who believes and lives by the words of a feminist. It’s almost like a word without a meaning to her.

Why is that? Has our society the sole reason for the blame? Or have the political stances made the rape culture so inherent in our society that it’s almost impossible to change that? Or is it because we don’t have enough measures, our economy doesn’t allow us to change that mindset? Making those vulgar comment about a woman’s body, or talking about the “things” they would do to them and the female lead accepting and enjoying that too, is that all our big blockbuster movies ever seem to add to the film?

The social, political and economic equality shall be achieved when these three pillars come together and fight for what is right and what is not. Our blog posts, speeches in auditorium or even Beyonce’s song lose their meaning if the people it is targeted to reject the ideology.

Tell girls to have ambition, too much ambition. They should aim to be successful, very successful. Don’t tell them that marriage is the most important thing, always making them believe that love and respect others while not teaching the boys same. Stop telling girls, just because you’re a girl you cannot do the same things a boy can, subjective things of course. Induce them with competitiveness that they use for jobs and opportunities. Tell them they can wear whatever they please according to the time and place’s need. Don’t change them if they like wrestling instead of daily soap. Stop telling girls what to do and start telling boys what not to do. Maybe then an Indian teenage girl would have the mind to grasp the essence of feminism.
Pooja Jena


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