In 21st century, The buzzword has moved from “armchair” to “hashtag” , but both are not the same when used in context of “feminism”.
Are we truly a generation of “hashtag feminists”?
Instead of long debates, we choose to communicate via hashtags (a superpower of 21st century mortals to be able to express their emotions compressed in hashtags). People should move beyond the negative connotation of the phrase “hashtag feminism”
Hashtags have become like titles of a book that binds pages of individual stories. It has helped spread awareness about the sufferings of women. It has encouraged women to come together and stand up to publicly speak about the abuse they suffered.
#metoo has brought to light the perils faced by all women who have been abused, and this is but a small number. #whyistayed was an eye-opener for many suffering from domestic violence. #neverthelessshepersisted stood for women speaking up, when asked to be silenced. There are so many women who do not have access to social media to voice their sufferings. I’m sure most women have at some point wished for parthogenesis, where only the female of a species exist, like mourning geckos!
The only point where hashtag feminism has failed us is when the society around us doesn’t change .
There was a time, a decade ago, when I could still walk down the street at night in my own neighbourhood. Fast forward to this time , I feel unsafe after dark.
The society is progressing and degenerating, simultaneously.
More women are joining workforce , but they are not equally paid. More women are stepping out of their homes, but are unsafe. More emphasis is on having a girl child, but there is increase in cases of abusing girls.
As women, we feel unsafe. As mothers, we worry about our daughters. As daughters, we worry about our mothers. As sisters, we worry about our sisters. As friends, We worry about our lady friends. As a woman, I worry about all other girls and women out there.
We have seen an increased number of rape incidents and absolutely no effort to curb it. The laws are not stringent enough, and moral compasses are broken.
The three branches of government- executive, judiciary and legislature have failed us. Instead of being a holy trident which can be saviour for women, it is a rusted institution, ineffective to cut out the evil…
Will demanding and enforcing more stringent laws be a step towards actually safeguarding women? Changes in legislation are foundations on which edifices of social reforms are built. India has witnessed that to bring social change, first a tough legislation has to be brought in and an even draconian punishment. However, Laws only act as pointers in directions of virtues, rather than human behaviour auto-correcting itself.
How long can we just blame the government? Is moral policing also a part of civil society activism ? Are moralities not part of family institutions and basic fibre of society ? Do we always need fear of legal consequences to live up to basic moral values ?
Why are women not walking the streets , taking over cityscape demanding justice and protection? Because cities are not safe, but “hashtag feminism” is still slightly safer,if not completely immune to abuses by men.
However, I still call out the ladies , let’s do something to make our society safe. Let’s join hands together. Let’s March forward and demand our place as honourable citizens of this society rather than being treated as commodity that anyone can use?
The blind Lady Justice needs to open her eyes, throw away the scale and lift her sword, demanding justice, and respect