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Feminism through the lens of a middle class boy

Being a feminist these days is the new “cool” around my circle of friends. Well, my university mates take part in all sorts of political and social movements, but I think that they don’t really believe in more than half of them. Belonging to a politically obsessed nation, we are left with not much choice, but to follow one or another party. Amidst all this, there is a specific group of male and female fellows who call themselves feminists.

These feminists are very few, yet their arguments are strong. Especially a very close friend of mine, who is very soft yet bold personality, claims to be a feminist. I have had day long debates with her, trying to make her understand that what you believe in is an extremist idea, but never has she stopped and reflected upon my view of feminism.

I do not get what the hype is about. I do not get what rights do women want more? I belong to a middle class family and happen to have two elder sisters. But the most disturbing thought is that even after acquiring good education from prestigious institutions, none of my sisters ever contributed anything to the home chores. The girls from my most primary socialization had all the opportunity to get a proper job and independence, as my father wanted the same. He wanted to empower them for their future lives. Instead, they chose to live with the dream of a prince charming, who would come and rescue them from their home.

In a parallel concept of the universe, I was being brought up with the inculcation of taking responsibilities for the family. I was made to learn that I will have to leave my home and go abroad to earn at the age of eighteen.  I was forced to believe that my sisters are helpless; all my cousins who are girls need a male supervision before leaving the house. I was taught to go out and get anything they want from the nearby markets for everyday use. The society taught me to be a servant more than a little brother, who also needed someone to look after him.

Somewhere in the training of an adolescent boy to a young adult, my family forgot that I had rights too. But that made me realise it’s probably just because I belong to a middle class family? Or maybe it is the consequences of being born the stronger one in the society?

The way feminists see it, men have the freedom to do whatever they want with their lives! The way I see it, being a man is never about freedom.  If a boy is born in a middle class family, his only right to dream is snatched away as his life has already been planned out. So many mouths are already waiting to be fed by his income, so he never gets a chance to take risks, discover himself, and live his life his way. Or the society will say “Behno ka jahez kon banaega” This sentence has killed so many dreams, do feminists ever talk about the sacrifices men give for women? I don’t think so.

I have always seen women around me complaining about not being able to go out without street hawkers and shop keepers staring them. But do you ever see the other side of this story? When a guy dresses up with a fancy shirt and a flashy watch, walks down the street, the suspicious eyes that follow him, end up getting him mugged. Sometimes these thieves don’t even leave you with a shirt on your back! Yes. No feminists ever talk about that. So now when I have to walk till the bus stop in my formal clothes, I take my sister along, because they never do this in the presence of a woman.

Well. I won’t believe in the decorative term feminism, until I have a wife who changes my perspective of women. She treats me as her equal, and not her superior, has a job that can fulfil her wishes and most importantly, not depend on my salary for a living.

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