Feminism- one of the most talked about topic over the past decade. Women have gone from being submissive homemakers to outstanding workers in all fields possible. Yet there are challenges. Equality is still a struggle and sexism very common. The society continues to be male dominated and feminism is an arising ideology. Many confuse the definition of feminism. It is in simple words a belief that men and women should have equal rights in all aspects. When one says, “I am a feminist” it does not mean the person is a female. A male can be a feminist too. Behind every man’s success, there lies a woman, so the saying goes. Why can’t there be a man behind every woman’s success? Here are some practical ways men can support feminism.
- Do 50% of the household chores.
Equality should start at home. Men are raised to think women are the ones who are responsible for maintaining the house. That belief might have worked a decade back, but not in our current scenario. She has studied as much as you probably have, makes money just as much as you do. So how is it fair that when you get to lounge lazily on your sofa, she has to run around cleaning and cooking? Men should learn to help around the house be it their mother, aunt, wife or a friend.
- Do not take her efforts for granted.
Women have more difficulties to handle than men do. She has these horrible 7 days a month where Mother Nature decides to be cruel to her. She is the one who has to deal with the agonizing 9 months of pregnancy and struggle with morning sickness, weird cravings and other scary dilemmas. Yet they manage to maintain the house and work a job. This is a lot of effort. Appreciate it.
- Be an equal parent.
It is your kid too. Going to parents teachers meet, picking your kid up after school and teaching them their subjects are your responsibility too. Learn to be an equal parent.
- Do not underestimate her intelligence.
Women are capable of making wise decisions and voicing out solid opinions. They are intelligent beings. Converse with them and engage them in discussions. Ask them their opinions on all matters. You may agree to disagree on a lot of things, but that doesn’t make her stupid You might be surprised on what women can plan and accomplish.
- Do not use your strength to prove a point.
Women maybe physically less strong, doesn’t give you license to bully them. That also does not make them inferior. Using your strength to prove a point only makes you less of a man and more a bully. Oh and remember, there are women who are kicking ass. (pssst psst! Mary Kom)
- Consider her insecurities and give her space.
Unfortunately, most men haven’t given a sense of safety for women.If you don’t want to fall into the “most men” category, understand this and give them space. For example, in a bus sit next to a man instead of a woman so she feels safe. Do not invade her personal space when you are walking on the streets. Do not hit on her or ogle her. There is difference between noticing her and shamelessly checking her out that it comes off as you being creepy.
- Interrupt sexism whenever encountered.
You understand the value of women make sure others do too. Make your friends and family aware of feminism. Have courage to interrupt sexism anywhere be it your friend running his mouth about a girl or your father criticizing your mom.
- Be equally responsible for contraception.
It takes two to tango. You are just as much responsible as her when it comes to contraception. The consequences otherwise are more severe for her. Be empathetic and take precautions.
- Take in her consent when it comes to any sexual relationships.
Although marital rape is not considered as rape in India, it is rape by any definition to all women. Once again, I would like to remind you that using your manliness to get what you want just makes you a bully and less of a man. Make sure she wants to engage in any sexual activity. Get her full consent.
- Let go of your ego.
Many a times men get offended when women do things better than men. For example, a man tried to overtake a car driven by a woman the other day. His argument was she was driving faster than he was. Why can’t she? Be it at work, at home or any environment do not let your ego get the better of you.
- Be supportive of her success and failures.
Women have hardships thrown their way in all aspects of life. Society loves to comment on how they dress, how they socialize, whom they socialize with or what they do as a career. Despite all this, women come out determined and are striving to prove themselves. As her husband, father or friend be supportive of all the little things they achieve. Encourage them on their dreams. Lend a shoulder when they encounter failures.
12) Watch it’s a man’s world :
Sometimes, it is hard to imagine being in another person’s shoes. But then, they have brilliantly showed it in this short film. Do watch it.
Feminism is a revolutionizing ideology. These are simply some ways I think men can support feminism. If you find any point controversial, get back to us and we will discuss. If you any point you want to add, do let us know.
KAVYA PRIYA SETHU