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  • Writer's pictureThe Honest Critique

Dichotomy between misinformed feminism and appropriated misandry: An Open Letter

What seems to be a never ending abyss of opinions on the gender spectrum, found itself its newest addition when 17 year old Divyanga Trivedi released her views on current day feminism.

Titled “I am against today’s feminism” stars a disgruntled Trivedi aiming at wanting to resolve differences arising from a vague understanding of feminism, and it’s inaccurate representation of the principles it stands for, deeming it unauthentic.

I must say, how unimpressed I was at her desperate attempt at propagating an ‘unconscious bias’ and ‘internalised misogyny’ all in the name of an educated unveiling of “humanism”

The entirety of the video in simpler words can best be explained as a frivolous attack on feminism under the guise of rising ‘misandry’ and ‘pseudo feminism’.

While I'm not particularly someone who would actively engage in a situation like this, her unwarranted stand and response to those giving her feedback just seemed misleading especially to those who may or may not have an understanding on the same.

Before I begin, I'd probably give a disclaimer explaining how this is not a roast, but just a worried response to the widespread damage you insinuated unconsciously.

I think a great way to begin this, would be by assessing the etymology of the word itself. Coined by Charles Fourier, the brainchild of the feminist movement, introduced it ‘as a state of being feminine’ which slowly say itself transform into ‘the belief that women should not be treated in a subordinate or unequal way simply because they are women’.

A condensed history and study of its timeline, displays an evolution of an idea, to a school of thought, to a niche identity only to come across as a full fledged movement that strongly advocates equality for people of any gender. The crux of which emphasises the belief that people should be able to pursue any opportunity and demonstrate any characteristic regardless of gender.

What bothers me, is Trivedi’s callous reduction of this school of thought to protection and security from violence and harassment rendering women helpless and discounting rather heavily, contributions against discrimination in fields of integrity, autonomy, voting, abortion and reproductivity to name a few. Probably thorough research and a deeper understanding of the origins and history of feminism would help go beyond feminism as “ a plea for existential helplessness” as portrayed by her.

What surprises me is how she holds feminism accountable for social difference and division resulting in an unlikely gender division. Not only does this display a failed understanding of various biological and social implications but also loathes feminism, that from its existence proposes the celebration of womanhood at equal pedestals in all walks of life, affirming non judgemental attitudes and values among binary and non binary orientations.

While I appreciate her attempt at questioning the integrity of our prevailing justice system and a strong desire to encourage righteous and justifiable practices, her privileged rant explains a fundamental foundation that challenges this movement. While we may have come a long way from the first wave of feminism, there is much longer way to go. This inflated idealisation of achievement in certain fields often, overshadows the destination, often paving the way for myopic foresight.

The underlying tone of Trivedi’s rant focuses on women misusing their gender orientation to have it easy in most spheres of life, encouraging decisions free of consequence and accountability, while completely overlooking the various milestones celebrating a far more skewed perception of womanhood and adjoining abilities and capabilities over time.

This however seems to be a very hypocritical standpoint, Trivedi assumes, justified in her earlier publication called “Combo of Problems: An Optimistic Approach is a must followed by Legal Assistance”

Upon reading her work, it seems very evident how an anecdote illustrates the act of leveraging respect on feminine privilege.

She writes

“One day I was traveling on one of the busiest roads of Delhi and I got stuck in traffic, got down cursing the system went up to the traffic policeman asking him to do something for I was getting late; and to my surprise he had a boring grin saying
“If you’re so sure of this mess getting cleared so easily, go do it yourself! I was thinking how rude and odd of that policeman that he probably did not know how to address a woman.”

This is rather confusing because while you chose to advocate etiquette not conformed to gender orientations, you are actively, rather consciously seeking respect because of your gender. Strange how while you publicly endorse gender objectivity and impartiality, you exercise morality and righteousness as per your convenience.

Respect that you entitle pridefully on the middle of a crossroad, according to you must stem from a deep admiration of any individual's ability, capability and achievements, has nothing to do by earning a reputable name, position or post. What you expect, however, is a mutual acknowledgement of your existence, and recognition of a minor inconvenience you faced.

What you constantly endorse as a ‘threat to the cornerstone of achieving utopia’, instead aims at redefining the concept by reclaiming mutual respect despite physical, biological and emotional constraints and stereotypes recognised by society.

Kindly explain to me how you chose to out and even belittle the very privilege, that today allows you to create an identity and personality. Your mantras of #humanity, #humanityfirst#humanitynotgenderbias seem to cultivate a far more disillusioned perception of acceptance and acknowledgement, or simply put, a mere reduction to a game of “whose comeback game is stronger”.

The video however felt very incomplete, not giving me a fuller picture of the ideologies that guide such a misguided and misrepresented notion. A deeper dig into the picture, highlighted a resilient denial and an extreme lack of compassion and benevolence to the idea of wanting to look at the other side of the coin.

A strong theme her content shares, is the spread of humanism. What fazes me however is her inability to understand the crux of equality as an interconnected and interdependent entity.

Humanism as a concept values the agency of human beings, that helps in determining moral code and knowledge on the basis of human experiences and rational thinking.

A thorough understanding of feminism would roughly explain it’s core as a political, cultural and even economic affirmation to establish equal rights and legal protections. In simpler words, advocates a sense of equality.

Since feminism aims at wanting to create a level playing field for its participants overlooking the gender spectrum, to me it seems like nothing less than a subset to the celebration of human reason and rhyme we call humanism.

Trivedi seems far more worried about semantics rather than the origin of various ideologies, constantly shuffling between words such as “egalitarianism”, “equalism”, “pro-equality” trying to search for “feminism” in the definition. It's shocking to see your need for a ‘gender neutral word’ when neither creates a disadvantage for the other.

Addressing your troubled identification of the missing pillar in your video, I'd like to say semantics may not necessarily be guiding forces of the principles that an entity exhibits. Because if that were true, then an entity living or alive would be characterised by its identifier, stripping it off its personality that is a result of an accumulation, amalgamation and acquisition of various experiences and impressions. Doesn’t really make sense, does it?

And please for the love of god, do not refer to Nirbhaya as the only comeback a feminist or any entity has to offer when discussing crimes against humanity. Discounting Nirbhaya’s brutal assault to a mere comeback explains how misinformed and apathetic your worldview to such crimes are.

You also mention proudly, how what happens onsite is a much more accurate indicator than its theoretical counterpart, yet you choose to bring up generic facts making no sound observation of current events.

What you Divyangana recognises as a triggered response is nothing more than a worried reciprocation with an aim to correct facts and illustrate feminism more than an act of revolution by the minority.

Your micro understanding of feminism and a macro exhibit of elements of pseudo feminism, choice feminism, misogyny and misandry at your convenience presented as an “exposé of the woman card” garner a rather concerned response from those who have a deeper understanding of this school of thought.

“I’ll respect your opinion as long as your opinion doesn't disrespect anybody's existence”

While I may not advise you “to get a life” or “ to grow up” or even expect for you “to make sense since you always do” Trivedi, I would definitely recommend researching and reading between the lines, referencing and finding a legitimate source for facts which I’m sure you must have no problem doing considering you're an author rather than “just saying things because they sound cool”.

(Authored by Mishika Mittal)

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