Friday, February 24, 2006


"Would you call yourself a feminist?” I still remember the last time someone asked me that question. I was on a long train journey with a group of lively young men and women – most of us in our mid- to late-twenties – returning home after a strenuous trekking
expedition. We must have run out of conversation or food, or both, for suddenly one of our male companions turned to the girls and loudly asked, “So, are you feminists?”
course not,” scoffed one young woman, an advertising executive. “No way!” replied another, who worked for a multi-national corporation. And so it went down the line. The fitness trainer, the doctor, the investment banker, each one dodged the label. “Feminist? No that’s not me!” said each young woman quickly before she turned to look at the others. It wasn’t just the certainty of their answers that took me aback. It was also the meaning implicit in their replies – that somehow it was not good to be a feminist and that those who were feminists were somehow misguided and incongruous beings.
“Why not?” I asked the investment banker next to me. “Because feminists are aggressive, angry and bitchy women, who hate men and are against marriage,” she replied quite easily.
Sameera Khan reviews Paromita Vohra's film AND RECOUNTS THIS INCIDENT.

when we began our course in feminism in third year of our graduation under the banner of literature, our lecturer, a feminist herself started the class with quite a defensive stittude. ours was a mixed class. as in only girls but girls from all walks of life, all religion, all class. and she was recieved with a mixed reaction too.
she hated us, cos she thought we would be like her last class wherin someone had said that she still planned to get married and did not want to pay too much attention to the class incase she beacame.....horror of horrors!!!! A Feminist!!

This lecturer got used to us and liked some us and tried not to scream at the rest. poor feminist!

my friend recently joined my college as a lecturer herself and her now colleage, our old pol science lecturer (who is perhaps a closet feminist) asked my friend about me and if i were a feminist!
I was so thrilled she realised from afar that i was what is was.
but my friend had a problem with it and said, something like" no she is not a feminist, she just believes in the equality of women".....or something like that. anyway, so recently this this first year student in our M.A programme was heard saying......"what is all this feminism crap, i dont believe in all this"......she doesn't Have to believe but I wonder if she would have been sitting on the tank of our post-grad college campus smoking a cigarette,a nd saying tjhis if not for feminism......

anyway as i was saying.



Solan said...

you might not like but the other day, our ever dearest 'r' and me were dicusing about this hesitation of behalf of women to be labelled as a 'feminist', perhaps its the political baggage they all are scared of. perhaps few want to enjoy what they are today (won't call it a priveledge) and yet hate what caused the changes.
sad thats how it is...

uglygirl said...


mizfit said...

personally speaking, i avoid labels. i'm not a feminist, mayb i am, it does not matter to me. i am being myself. i fel that labels confine people into a set behaviour pattern. even if they do not wish to do something, they tend to do it because it is expected out of them because pof the label.

it is this baggage that i refuse to carry.

by the way, loved the pic on the blog!!!

uglygirl said...

"even if they do not wish to do something, they tend to do it because it is expected out of them because pof the label. "

i agree with this completely, but even then it is necessary for me to say some things when i feel the need to.
like if a guy talks about a girl, you dont really even like, badly, like suggesting that that girl is a slut cos she goes out too often in the evenings.
i objected even though i dint need to. we of course dont need to Be Feminists. but as previleged educated independent women, we have a responsibility to the next generation, just like the previous generation had for us.

thinking girl said...

hi there,

I see mizfit's point - it's a very post-modern thing to say. Avoid labels, labels are restrictive. I do agree, and quite often having various labels attached to me bothers me enormously. I just want to be myself - I don't want to necessarily have people pre-judge me based on a label I wear, whether that is white, woman, feminist, middle-class, whatever.

On the other hand, I still think that labels are needed. Why? Because there is political work to be done, and because prejudices and oppression exist based on membership in groups whether we want those labels or not. Other people see me as a woman, so they treat me a certain way based on what they think a woman is. Because the world works in this way, as restrictive as it is, we need to have labels such as "feminist" in order to put forward a coherent social agenda and advance change.

so, in order for the world to BECOME the type of place where it is ok to be just who you are rather than part of a group, we need to put on transition labels in order to break down the narrowness of the groups to which we belong. Once we have done this task, we may be able to set down our labels once and for all.