Interactions suck! Even virtual interactions for that matter, especially when the person on the other end is highly informative – providing you with little-known snippets and trivia that you’d never stumble upon by yourself. Like this middle-aged gentleman, I ended up “talking to” via Facebook, who shared with me not one but four trivia about Feminism –
- The internet is the birthplace of the term.
- And it’s a term still because the issues it touches upon are not grave enough to give it the status of a movement.
- Feminists (my term, his was khali aurte) are women who either have rich fathers or husbands funding their lives because any woman who has actual work to do will not waste time bickering on the internet.
- The biggest achievement by Indian feminists has been Deepika Padukone’s, “My Life, My Rules” video but obviously, the messaging is flawed. Because a woman’s life is never her life. Her family, husband and children have a right over her life. When the life isn’t hers, how can her rules apply?
Obviously, by the end of that discussion, I could imagine Simone de Beauvoir turning in her grave and all a khali aurat like me could do was stare at the laptop screen blankly.
Lessons Learnt –
- Driving sense into people is difficult, it’s worse when you have to do it on the internet.
- As Mark Twain had professed, DO NOT argue with dumb people. They will draw you down to their level and then defeat you with experience.
This solitary conversation though a notable one wasn’t the first or the last of such conversations. Based on my experiences, I have prepared a listicle of all that you’ll be at the receiving end of if you are a woman trying to express your opinion on the internet.
- You’ll be asked to stop ranting about male privilege on the internet. The fact that you get to use the internet is a privilege in itself. A lot of women don’t even have access to it. (Oh, so the internet is a privilege I’m enjoying. Thank you random person on the internet for pointing that out.)
- You’ll be told you’re not a true feminist. And will be compared to real feminists who work on-ground. It has also been mentioned that all you’re doing is pointing out that someone’s sense of humour does not match yours. (Could you please define real feminists?)
- Now you know who a feminist is. In addition to being called fat and ugly, they get ‘it’ from none. And if there is any guy in a picture with you (doesn’t matter what the deal is between you people), he will be called a wimpy ass, who lacks the guts to ask you to shut up.
- Obviously, you’ll be called an over-achiever who’s only attempt at bettering herself has been by pulling men down. (Because trying to break stereotypes is not a thing. It is just a ploy to pull people down. Also, I’m in this to get raped)
- You’ll be called an attention seeker. (Yes, I am THAT sad.)
- Every issue that you talk about will be termed as less important. So when you talk about misogynist jokes, you will be asked to talk about gender stereotyping in the real world, when you talk about gender stereotyping in household set-ups where both men and women go for work, you’ll be asked to talk about women who don’t get a chance to work in the first place. When you talk about that, it’ll be said you’re missing the more serious problem – girls’ education and when you talk about that you’ll be asked as to why you are ignoring female foeticide. Basically whatever you say isn’t enough.
- Every day you’ll meet one of those virtual friends, who ask you to lighten up a bit – “you should learn to appreciate jokes without pointing out the misogyny in them.” (I would appreciate the humour in this tweet, if I could find it.)
- Also, there’s always this one annoying person, who’ll pick up one of the million issues affecting women and say –“Where are those so called feminists now?” (Hi, there)
- And then there are those who are always out to prove that they are the informed feminists and everyone else is a pseudo. The moment you make a point, out they’ll come saying, “actually if you read Gloria Steinem’s ‘Revolution from Within’, you’ll know that the problem is ingrained into the very structure of the patriarchal society blah blah blah” (Look I know my shit, just don’t like bombarding people with quotes and references all the time)
- After a point, you’ll really question if logic and rational thinking exist at all – because you’ll try telling people that slut shaming Melania Trump makes no sense. And there’ll be people telling you that she deserves it for the kind of hatred her husband is spreading without realising that in doing so, they fall back into the same category as Donald Trump himself.
- And finally, the one time you actually happen to find a joke funny, there’s always someone condemning you for it. Because as a woman and a feminist at that you have no job finding that funny. So before you laugh at any for your friend’s joke made with zero intention of insulting you, remember you have an online reputation to manage.
Since I started off with trivia shared by a middle aged man, I should end with some quips by a middle-aged woman to maintain the equilibrium. I was once engulfed in another of these heated discussions when a lady just butted in and delivered these golden words –
“If you want to be an –ist, be a misanthropist(sic). At my age beta you will realise it is not about men or women, the problem is with humans. Humans are bad beta. Beware.”
I rest my case!