Not Being a Feminist doesn’t mean that one is against Feminism

by Giz TimesApril 27, 2015

On Feminism, Anti-Feminism, Not being a Feminist and Equality

A girl is conceived and is invited in a family with tears. ‘Parents feel miserable at not being honored with a son yet rather with a daughter who will one day be offered in another home.’ She is made to play with dolls so she figures out how to nurse men in all her years. She is frequently advised not to incorporate her surname in her signature on the grounds that she needs to change it one day. The boy needs to turn into a man later on and support the whole family.

Women, have been oppressed since the time immemorial and the phallus has commanded the world. Utilizing scriptures and customs to veil their power motives, the society and language has been established on the standards of patriarchy and misogyny – pushing women to the outskirts and making them resort to the roles of either Virgin Mary or seductive Eve. Women in the prior times were born  with a curse of being one. In the wake of being conceived with a vagina, they were bound to the family chores and limit themselves to the central cliche female roles. The men savants and masterminds used to expound on the voiceless ladies who were only a social hieroglyphic or the objects for their sense gratification.


The need for decentralization of the phallic rule is the cause of Feminism. Feminism is a gathering of developments and belief systems that impart a typical objective: to characterize, build, and accomplish parallel political, economic, personal, and social rights for women. Modern Western women’s activist history is part into three time periods, or “waves”, each with somewhat distinctive points in light of former advancement. First wave Feminism of the nineteenth and mid twentieth centuries concentrated on toppling legitimate disparities, especially women’s suffrage. Second-wave Feminism (1960s–1980s) expanded open deliberation to incorporate social disparities, sexual orientation standards, and the role of women in the society. Third-wave Feminism (1990s–2000s) alludes to different strains of women’s activist action, seen as both a continuation of the second wave and a reaction to its apparent disappointment.



Theory and Action are two very different things. Feminism in theory talks about establishing equality by empowering women who have always been marginalized. However, when it comes to action and practicality, the ideas of feminism have not emerged victorious at two levels.

At one level, the theory is not applied in the real life and the women and men of all classes continue to suffer and struggle to get a stereotypical tag. Even if they do not ‘suffer’ in the literal terms, they continue to voluntarily accept the subjugation. Though, people are now embracing feminism by not opting to take the husband’s name after marriage (as is suggested by the new study conducted by Facebook), there are still some women who voluntarily accept this subjugation. When a person gets married, the whole occasion is embedded with sexist philosophies that give stereotypes to both men and women. India, is one country where a woman’s ultimate aim still remains marriage. When a girl is wedded she is given away to a man by her father- as part of most religious ceremonies. What is she? An object to be transferred?  After that she is to be displayed in public. On reaching a certain marriageable age she is expected to change the way she dresses and be perfect in household chores like cooking, housekeeping, laundry etc.  She is expected to alter her body language and refrain from openly keeping male friends outside of her family.  If she is ‘fortunate’ enough to get married into a wealthy family, she is told to leave her job and take care of her home. She is supposed to be a virgin and does not exercise a choice when it comes to sex after marriage. The woman has to change her sleeping patterns, food habits, surname (and even first name in some families) and almost everything that will make her emerge as a Bhardawaj and not a Sharma. Her entire self identity undergoes a transformation behind the brilliant veil of tradition. She is raised to believe that she truly belongs to the family in which she will be married into. Similarly, A man has to conform to the stereotypical definition of a Man. He has to earn and be strong. He is shown a picture of a woman who looks completely flawless. He is led to believe that he’s being set up with a perfect girl.  A month after marriage he wakes up and sees a completely changed woman sleeping next to him- Someone not remotely close to the girl shown in the matrimonial picture. There is a lot of focus on getting a fair wife(even when it’s not our natural color) and an earning wealthy man in India. The deconstruction of the ideologies and conventions, is thus still on hold.


At another level, Feminism has fizzled as a few individuals have a misinterpretation of this theory being a revenge strategy. Not generalizing, but there have been cases in India where men have endured because of women’s liberation being used by a few ladies wrongly.

Since his capture on February 24, 2015 Sayid Sarif Khan, an accused rapist, was in the Dimpaur central jail in Nagaland, India. On March 5, a crowd broke into the jail, dragged him out, stripped him naked, thrashed him, pelted him with stones and dragged him towards the focal point of Dimapur town, seven kilometers away. He passed on from his wounds in transit after which the horde displayed his body from a clock tower. The government later conveyed to the Centre that this man did not rape the girl who accused him of assaulting her but they had consensual sex twice.

The Dimarpur Lynching

The Dimarpur Lynching

However, Feminism has now taken a turn and has resolved to work for equality. HeForShe is one such solidarity campaign for gender equality started by UN Women. It plans to connect with men and young boys as operators of progress for the accomplishment of gender equality and women  rights, by promising them to make a move against disparities confronted by women and young girls.These people believe in educating both the genders to respect and care for one another. Such people can even be categorized as Post-feminists, a term, which will be talked about later in this paper.


Antifeminism is a philosophy that is extensively characterized as a resistance to woman’s rights or some part of women’s liberation. The importance of antifeminism has differed crosswise over time and societies and it has pulled in both men and women. Antifeminism may be propelled by general threatening vibe towards women rights, the conviction that women’s activist speculations of patriarchy and inconveniences endured by women in the public eye are inaccurate or misrepresented, or that women’s liberation as a development urges to persecute men. Case in point, in the late 1800s and mid 1900s it opposed women’s suffrage.

A few antifeminists have contended that woman’s rights has brought about changes to society’s past standards identifying with sexuality, which they see as unfavorable to conventional qualities or progressive religious beliefs. For instance, the pervasiveness of casual sex and the decrease of marriage are specified as negative outcomes of feminism. Many of these traditionalists restrict ladies’ passage into the workforce, political office, and the voting methodology, and additionally the reducing of male power in families. Antifeminists contend that a change of women’s roles is a ruinous power that jeopardizes the family, or is in opposition to religious ethics. Case in point, Paul Gottfried keeps up that the change of women’s parts “has been a social disaster that continues to take its toll on the family” and contributed to a “descent by increasingly disconnected individuals into social chaos.”

A few anti feminists view women’s liberation as a dissent of inalienable contrasts between the sexes, and an endeavor to reconstruct individuals against their organic tendencies. Antifeminists likewise every now and again contend that woman’s rights, in spite of embracing equality, overlooks rights issues unique to males. Some accept that the women’s activist development has accomplished its points and now looks for higher status for women than for men through exceptional rights and absolutions.

Anti feminists are often regarded as patriarchs. They go to another level in opposing the feminists and are hence bound in the cage of orthodox traditions and customs that do not allow a woman to be at par with men. However some anti feminist regard themselves as not being a feminist because they believe that feminism politicize their gender. But, those who believe in equality, should rather call themselves as Humanists or not a feminist, rather than an anti feminist, because anti feminism more or less corresponds to male chauvinism.



Not being a Feminist

Though, this is not a common term, we find people in our society who are not exactly anti-feminists but say that they don’t want to be attached to a tag of being a feminist or an anti-feminist. They fall into the category of ‘Not being a Feminist’.

Some term such people as Post-Feminist. In 1919, a diary was dispatched by which “female literary radicals” expressed “‘we’re keen on people now—not in men and women'”, that “ethical, social, economic and political standards should not have anything to do with sex,'” that it would “be pro woman without being anti-man,'” and that “their position  ‘post-feminist.’”

With laws against LGBT, and laws in India which prosecutes a man for engaging in adultery, and not a woman (Section 497 and 498), the people who say that they are not a feminist, work for equality- for both men and women.

Shailene Diann Woodley believes that she is NOT a feminist

Shailene Diann Woodley believes that she is NOT a feminist

‘Not being a Feminist’ should consequently, not be utilized and mistook for Anti-feminism as it doesn’t discuss being against women empowerment. Shailene Diann Woodley, an American actor, is one such individual who says that she is not a women’s activist in light of the fact that she has faith in not binding herself to a certain category. Not being a feminist, thus suggests that you are not labelling yourself as having a place with either classification and believe in a single person than in a man or a lady.


For every thesis, there is an antithesis. Everything is in a state of flux and an antithesis or opposition, only helps to keep a certain power in control. This same principle can be applied to feminism, anti-feminism and ‘not being a feminist’. However, when human civilization spots the fragmentation of society due to the unhealthy struggle between a thesis and antithesis, there is a need for equality.

The 2012 Delhi gang rape case involved a rape and fatal assault that occurred on 16 December 2012 in Munirka, a neighbourhood in South Delhi, when a 23-year-old female physiotherapy intern, Jyoti Singh Pandey was beaten and gang raped in a private bus in which she was travelling with a male friend, Awindra Pratap Pandey. The whole world caught hold of this one incidence and remembered Nirbhaya for her atrocious reality of being a woman who was dehumanized. Such cases, where a rapists have executed the thought of stripping a woman, raping her, inserting his penis and then rods and sticks into her vagina until she is ripped apart – her nipples turned sore, her vagina broken into pieces and her ass split into two, have caused a fear psychosis in the mind of a woman. The case urges the need for the development of a healthy mind and the termination of a diseased one.

real rape culture

Real Rape Culture

Equality, the view that men and women should receive equal treatment, and should not be discriminated against based on gender, is something that has been talked about a lot in various theories and philosophies. The post-modern world which has lectured the guideline of equality by engaging through writing and media, has not rose successful actually. The battle for force remains and one classification commands to get over the other. The uniqueness of a spirit is centered around more and the universality of it is rendered futile with it. On the other hand, if synthesis comes to acknowledge the order of universality of uniqueness, equality may be accomplished. The world, in any case, will need to “work” for a considerable length of time ahead to achieve a synthesis. Disposing of power battle is outlandish. The union of the two extremes in principle and action, by educating people at a fast rate, will prompt the foundation of balance.

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