Do not label me, please!

“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”― Rebecca West

I have always been told by several people that I complain too much! That I am too sensitive as a person. This has always made me weary of raising any issue in public at all, lest I hear someone say “Oh Darling, let it go! That’s life, loosen up”. Well, I just might loosen up. But should I ?

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Should I let go when I see a majority of my male colleagues getting a better pay than us, their female counterparts for doing the exact same job? Do I not protest when our ideas are shot down while the same idea pitched by a male counterpart is applauded?  Should I ignore if I see most of my fellow Indians, not questioning the man who does not have his wedding ring on, but considering it a huge deviation when a women refuses to put on her vermilion?

Is it okay that I decide to keep my maiden name after marriage and not have to explain it to anybody, just like men do? Will everybody leave me alone if I decide to not keep a full day fast for the longevity of my husband’s life when all other women in the house are taking part in it? (How are they even freaking related!). Please tell me they won’t judge me?

Well arguably they will, most will! In our extremely hypocritical society, the bars for women are set higher, much higher than it is for men. You have to be twice as good as men,to be of any worth. Not everywhere, not always, but for most times this holds true.

What infuriates me further is apparently, it’s not even okay to call it out ! At least not without a bunch of people labeling you an uptight feminist! Well I will again not generalize and say this happens all the time, everywhere. But please don’t generalize me and what I stand for too.

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Please don’t call me a feminist, I am not! Do not label me an equalist and no, I am also not a humanist. I am just a woman who understands her rights and voices them when she feels necessary.Just like a man does! Do we start calling a man, a “Manist”, every time he defends his rights? No! He is still just a man!

They call you a feminist! You’re a joke! It’s an abuse! They’re mocking you by calling you a feminist or a feminazi! Oh a new jazz word to amp the insult.

I don’t understand why it makes you so angry? why does it hurt your ego? how does it make you uncomfortable to accept that even in this day and age women do face duality? Is it so offensive when she talks about being discriminated? What is your problem with an opinionated woman?

Do you immediately have to cite examples of how women have abused laws that are their to protect them, for their advantage? Do you know how negligible that number is compared to women who have actually been violated? Do you really have to say “Oh, all that a women does, is complain!”.Can you not for once understand why?

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I am sad today, and what triggered the post is what took place today! This is 2016 we are talking about, a much progressive era? We were all at the lunch table when we started discussing a new movie that came out. I was trying to fill them up on what I thought, but one of my male friends kept cutting me.

This was nothing new! This had happened at least a two hundred times before in this entire year with me. I try not to mind. I rarely say a word. I anyways think I talk too much and forgive people for having shorter attention spans.

But what I protested about today was how one of my male friends repeated exactly what I said, only in different words, while cutting me up midway! Done it, many times. I kept mum. I valued friendship. I was avoiding the awkward.

But not today! Today I roared like a lion. For the 10 times that he had alone done it to me before this year, I finally told him calmly, but strongly “Excuse me, I said the same thing before. Thanks for explaining it further. But could you next time not cut me when I am talking?”

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And then I told you in the beginning of the post, how people tell me that I complain too much, how women in general complain too much, how I am a feminist and they can’t stand one. How we are given every right but we still want more, even if we don’t deserve it!

It’s okay, we’re still friends, we debated it out and I don’t judge, You’re entitled to your own opinion. I am just glad I put it out there! I made it a little bit difficult for him to shoot me or any other person down while they’re talking. Or conveniently passing on one of their opinions/arguments/thoughts as his, while they’re right by his side.

So It was awkward for everyone at the table? But it was worth it! I could hear the silent support of some of the women and men present. We’ve kept quiet for too long and it has done us no good. We’ve avoided confronting misogyny, discrimination, prejudices. We can post opinions on the social forum but feel intimidated to take it up with people closer to us. Why?

Next time, tell your uncle it’s not okay to spend more on your son’s education and deliberately less on your daughter. Tell your aunt, it’s not okay to judge a women for not adorning items that brand her as married, because her son’s not wearing any. It’s okay to to ask your neighbor to not obsess with color when choosing a bride for his son. Call him out if he rejects his daughter’s love because he is not rich enough for him! It’s okay if you refuse to laugh at a sexist joke your friend made. Voice.

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It is the need of the hour to have those uncomfortable, awkward discussions at the dinner table or at a social gathering.

It’s okay if they disagree. I still respect them for having their own ideologies. I will still respect them for feeling us women are agitated for nothing! You can have your say.

But could you please for once, let us have ours? Could you please not disrespect women, not brand them, men or any other gender with any sexual preference, for having a different opinion than yours? Could you please politely agree to disagree. Could you please stop calling her a feminist if you mean it as a slur! Or him an anti feminist! Could you please not label her, him, them ,anyone! Please!

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42 thoughts on “Do not label me, please!

  1. I absolutely love this post. Back in the days when I was young I always felt out of place because I would never let any one man or woman make me feel less as a girl/teen or a woman. I always said exactly what was on my mind like it or not. Feminist wasn’t a word back in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s (well maybe in the 60’s) I was told I was too arrogant. Kudos to you!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for echoing my thoughts! 🙂 Well India is still a young country. It’s only been around 70 years since we were granted independence. And although I applaud how fast we’ve grown as a country, our patriarchy is still something that bothers me. There are still people who feel that women still should refrain from having a say on everything. I guess we are facing a similar situation that you faced back in the 60’s ,70’s ,80’s. But things are changing fast and I am hopeful for a an even wonderful future. And I would also want to say that it must have been so difficult to be this way back in the days. You deserve a bigger applause 🙂 More love to you 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Pratibha 🙂 It means so much to me when you join your voice with mine. I know this is not enough effort to bring gender equality in India, but we have all together started the trend. We’re all in this together. Kudos to us!
      I hope you have a great week ahead. More love and power to you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant post Susmita, you know, when it hurts and angers me most? When women not men sing those songs! This enmity of women towards other women is what holding women back. this “labeling” is done mostly by women, I grew up in a small town, watching both sides quite keenly, keeping my mouth shut and doing what I wanted 😉 so I know who was labeling me with worst labels and knowing very well that they were lies. 😦

    hope your generation will become more benevolent towards other women!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading it out. Means a lot. I grew up in a small town too and I have seen prejudice and judgement everywhere. It’s not so much different in a big city too.
      But things are changing fast. I am hopeful that if not us, our next generation will see more light. And for that we have to fight patriarchy! It affects women and men both in the worst way. To an open,equal and just society! cheers 🙂

      Like

  3. Excellent insight into feminist issues in India. Many of your customs are so far removed from what we do in the UK (fast for a husbands longevity), but others are still issues where we’re trying to break down the barriers. I’ve sat in many a meeting where the men talk and the women seem to listen. A lot of this is do do with lack of confidence in the women. I like how you and Salpa have discussed the issues from past America and modern day India. It’s encouraging that there women like you out there breaking down those barriers. Maybe soon? The best men are feminists too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading it out. Ours is a generation that is much more progressive and the future seems so bright. But there still are people from older generations that hold prejudices against women and manage to pass some of it to the younger generation. We’re all a little hesitant to speak our minds because we hold the older generation in very high regards. But really it’s time we do. I am so very hopeful of a brighter, more beautiful time for all genders in
      India in coming future(not that it’s very bad now. It’s good but can be better). And yes most of my male friends are really the best feminists 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve written a few blog posts about this kind of stuff recently and I agree: it’s frustrating to find yourself being labelled by other people. That being said, I believe that embracing the term ‘feminism’ is a strong idea that can help us better determine what’s going on within our societies. Good piece though! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment. You have a beautiful site and I will go through all content. Yes of course a lot has to still be done when it comes to gender equality, but people have misconstrued and overused the word so much that it has lost it’s importance. People have started to direct it to you as a slur! 😦 And nothing makes me more sad.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I mostly agree with all your points and the “don’t label me please” part. I felt your anger and disappointment through your lines (correct me if I am wrong). I think, we have just overdone it with the “labeling” thing, but I consider myself a feminist and not of the kind to be little men or to think women are or should be superior. I think as human beings we deserve the same space of choice and chance to education, work, promotion etc sharing the same rights.
    I agree with women empowerment, to study, work and improve themselves, that’s somehow my own definition of feminism. That’s what I believe in.
    I am against any form of sexism, be it from man or woman, it’s wrong all the same. It’s true that I don’t go around the world flashing lights and banners about my beliefs, but in the same position as you were, I would have done the same exact thing, as that’s speaking up for yourself. That’s one way of showing your principles.
    P.S. It was definitely a good read. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Kristina. Your words are music to my ears. I agree with every single sentence you wrote. I believe in an equal and just society. I am against sexism . And yes it’s anger and disappointment in people who do not understand what Feminism stands for that triggered the post. I am also done explaining it to people who don’t get it, because a lot of them don’t. They equate being a feminist to a man-hating, overtly sensitive, always complaining woman. I do not identify with the definition at all. Therefore I had wanted to be free of any tag. I am still a feminist, It isn’t a group you join or a thing you follow. It’s who you are, a just person who wants equality and will keep fighting for her rights no matter what 🙂 may you have a positive day Kristina:-) All my love to you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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