I had a chat from a friend this morning. His wife is a staunch feminist, and he loves her to bits and gives her total freedom, but takes a dim view of feminism as a whole. Some Twitter conversations in the morning had led to my updates on my Facebook about feminism, and conversation veered in that direction.
Here’s a gist:
[Let us call him Sam]
Sam: I read your update on Facebook today about feminism. Why do you get into all this?
Me: All this?
Sam: You know, this anti-men thing. You aren’t like that.
Me: Uh… I don’t understand you. You are saying I am into feminism, which is anti-male which is not what I am? What does that mean?
Sam: You are one of us, yaar… you aren’t so combative. You shouldn’t get into these things.
Me: I am not combative? 😀 Why, thank you! Maybe feminism is good for me?
Sam: If you continue like this, then you will not remain like this.
Me: lol. If I continue like this, I will not remain like this? Sam, you aren’t making sense.
Sam: I mean, there are so many things that are worth fighting for. Important things. You speak so much about women’s rights. Children’s rights. I read the articles you post. They are meaningful. Then why you want to waste time bashing men?
Me: Who told you feminism is about bashing men?
Sam: It is opposite of chauvinism, right? So what is the opposite of MCP? WFS?
Sam: Woman Feminist Sow 😛
Me: Feminism isn’t exactly the opposite of chauvinism, the way I understand it. It is more of a response asserting the rights of a woman that get trampled by chauvinism :p
Sam: Ok. But see that is not good. It is dangerous for society.
Me: How is it dangerous for society?
Sam: If women get angry, and men get angry, then there will only be fights. Society will become intolerant. I saw on twitter also, some people told you that feminism only encourages chauvinism.
Me: Really? Are there enough feminists that all the chauvinists have met them enough to be chauvinists because of them.
Sam: See, every society has its problem people. I am not saying that feminism is the only reason for men to do wrong things.
Me: But you seem to be saying that if feminism is there, then that is the reason, otherwise there are other reasons? Some people become chauvinists because of feminists when they aren’t before?
Sam: No, not like that. They increase their chauvinism, because feminists resist them.
Me: So society will be better if they are not resisted?
Sam: you are twisting around everything I say. They should be stopped, but not by feminism. These ideas Seema has are also like that. She fought with our maid’s husband because he took her salary and opened a bank account for her. What is the use? After she goes, it is same thing. She only made him angry.
Me: So why did she do it?
Sam: because the maid didn’t want to give him the money because he finishes it all she said, but I think he drinks. His acting was like that. But this is their personal problem. If we interfere, it will unnecessarily become a big thing.
Me: Big thing like what?
Sam: What if he beats her or kicks her out of the house tomorrow? Will Seema bring her home? How many women will she bring home?
Me: So you are saying that you know she has a problem, and you will not help because it is inconvenient?
Sam: Not inconvenient, impossible. You don’t know how these people are.
Me: So tell me
Sam: These people who live in slums, you can’t do feminism with them. You will have to create an NGO for all their wives. They all treat them badly. They all take their salaries. How many will she fix? And what about us? She wants to save all women, she hates all men, then what do I tell people?
Me: Who are we speaking about exactly? The maid or Seema?
Sam: Both. What do I tell people? My wife hates men?
Me: aren’t you over reacting? Where does your wife hate you? Where do I hate you? What makes you feel that?
Sam: If you hate men, and I am a man, then it means you hate me too indirectly.
Me: Okay, so say we stop all the feminist garbage. Seema stops it, I stop it. Is it a crime to help that maid?
Sam: No, but she can take my help. I can protect her. I can speak to the maid’s husband as a man and explain things to him.
Me: So you want us to stop being feminists and you want to become one instead?
Sam: No, no! I will only tell the husband that he needs to respect his wife and both of them should contribute money to the home instead of him taking her money.
Me: Isn’t that what Seema was saying?
Sam: But she is a woman. She should not challenge men like that, like a feminist.
Me: lol. Of course! She should order her husband to do it for her instead. Hahaha… feminism by proxy. One min. N wants me.
Me: Back. So tell me, Sam.
Me: Do you give Seema complete freedom?
Sam: Yes. Total. You can ask her.
Me: I’m asking you. I trust you, ok? Why do you give her the freedom?
Sam: Because if I don’t, and she disobeys me, then society will talk bad about her.
Me: But you don’t really want her to be free?
Sam: Come on. You know us. You think I can make her free or not free? I can’t even stop her from picking fights with dangerous people.
Me: So what does society say about that?
Sam: My family doesn’t like it. But I don’t allow them to say anything to her.
Me: Your property? No one else can correct?
Sam: You and your feminist nonsense. She is her own person. I don’t want people to stop that. I would have done the same for you.
Me: Why? I can’t protect myself?
Sam: You can, but why should you if I can help?
Me: Listen to yourself Sam. You are talking like a feminist.
Sam: I am talking like any person with a conscience. I am not against anyone.
Me: What makes you think feminists are?
Sam: because of the things they say.
Me: They speak of the things they come across. You spoke of speaking with the maid’s husband, preventing anyone from questioning your wife’s or my freedom? That is what they do with people they come across, no?
Sam: Then they are just social workers. Not real feminists. And now I must go to office before you make me into a feminist like you people.