• Antara Basu


The last girl who dreamed of growing up a writer, one day found her diary kindling wood, whilst her hands were coated with henna. The vermilion of her forehead stirred in her tears as the blushing bride cried of not her departure, but a girl lamented a life of capture.

One in three of the world’s child brides live in India. Of the country’s 223 million child brides, 102 million were married before turning 15.

The last time she screamed at those who preyed, sounding the taunts of the street. She just wanted them to stop, but never did she think of the charred skin and disfigured face that would silence her scream of courage with roars of hopelessness.

India Today Data Intelligence Unit (DIU) has found that between 2014 and 2018, there have been 1,483 victims of acid attacks in the country.

The first time she bled on wood shavings and ashes, she cried out for her Maa’s soothing. But soothing found no place as she lay writhing in pain in the small Gaokar on the outskirts of her community. The red of her legs painted the confluence of shame and indignity on the canvas of the mud floors. Whilst her mother’s words croon in her mind, “You’re impure.”

Taboos like these were held even in the time of Pliny, the Elder (death 79 CE). He believed that, “…bees will forsake their hives if touched by a menstruous woman”

I stand with today’s feminism because the three instances above do not even make up an inch of what we call the tip of the iceberg. And I don’t know what to feel when I hear privilege talk about how we have achieved basic equality because trust me I’d love to live in that non-existent world. Privilege boasts of how “Aaj gareeb se gareeb ghar ki ladki bhi IAS banne ka sapna dekh sakti hai.” But that is exactly the point, they can dream of achieving success but can they actually do it given the innumerable constraints that they face, from early marriage to discontinuation of education to not being allowed to work. And feminism has been fighting for a reality where they don’t have to dream, but they can live it.

I stand with today’s feminism because privilege doesn’t understand logic, privilege doesn’t understand hypocrisy. Changing definitions doesn’t change reality and feminism concedes. In recent years there have been many who have deviated from the true purpose of our movement, and that is why the concepts of misandry and pseudo feminism came up, to distinguish them from feminism. To ensure that people do not taint the resolution of feminism. To make a difference between what feminism doesn’t advocate and what it does. So, yes changing definitions doesn’t change the reality because the way privilege distorted the definition of feminism, does not change its solidarity to equality.

I stand with today’s feminism I’m appalled by seeing privilege comment that, “Rural aurato ko pata bhi nahi hota aisa kuch hota hai.” So, feminism here is fighting to exterminate patriarchy that is so internalized that the rural people, they do not even recognise abuse or violence, and just pass it off as normal, as something that isn’t a problem. It is so deep-rooted that they don’t identify the condition they’re living in as horrific. While privilege here advocates such low standards for rural women, that they ought to be happy just the way they are, with the very basic necessities of life – “Roti, Kapda, Makaan.”

I stand with today’s feminism because I do not understand what to say to those who have access to technology, to education, and yet they simply misuse them to validate the false notions of an entire community of people who’d like nothing better but to keep continuing in this patriarchal world. Who don’t bother taking out a minute to educate themselves about the deep disparities in and around us, rather they offhandedly comment about how basic equality is a thing of the past.

So, thank you Privilege for your beautiful insights but I stand with today’s feminism and I hope the pin of societal inequalities pricks your bubble of ignorance. Perhaps one day you’ll too stand with us.

Note: To understand the context of this blog post, kindly go ahead and watch the video recently posted by a girl explaining why she is against feminism.