Why not a feminist?


Let me pick a thread from yesterday’s blog and continue to wonder why Kamala Das should find it necessary to say that she is not a feminist. If any of you who read it is a feminist please help me in understanding this.

Kamala Das is not the first writer or even woman who has been categorical in saying that she is not a feminist. I have come across a few. Why? Is it because some feel that a feminist is one who hates men? (K seems to think so, see the link in yesterday’s blog). Or is it because feminism is too radical to handle for some? There is a parallel: people also say: I am not a communist. Both these positions seem to make people reluctant to claim though their positions are not different from that of a feminist or a communist.

Perception problem? Is it viewed as something that one’s society wouldn’t accept hence one is better served without such a title? Like in America being a communist, I have heard, is not easy everywhere. In a society like India being feminist requires a direct subversions of the ‘general’ social behaviour.

It is however a sorry affair if people thought that feminist is some kind of a four letter word. It has eight letters (double trouble?). But tell me, oh!, tell me why not be a feminist if one’s political/ ideological inclinations are akin to that of feminism?

‘I dont want to be a feminist as I dont believe in the ideology of feminism’ is understandable. But I want to talk about the inequality meted out to women, want to assert that there should be equality between the sexes, but I don’t want to be termed feminist is a logic that beats me. We may call it hypocrisy and leave it at that. I am more interested in knowing what are the conditions under which one says so, and what kind of a politics does such a position signify?

Tell me, why not a feminist?    

2 responses »

  1. there is something about the negative connotations that the word ‘feminist’ has acquired. There are so many who are in agreement with issues raised by feminists, but are absolutely averse to identifying themselves as being similarly oriented.
    For some it’s a problem of labelling too, which they dont want to take on for various reasons.

    Doesnt she say in the interview though, that she is not a feminist as is popularly misconceived?? in the sense of being a men-hating project..
    What surprises me tremendously though, is her glorification of ‘surrendering’ and completing each other as a hallmark of a heterosexual relationship – as if men and women exist as halves or quarters by themselves – women especially, coz there are a million external influences that supposedly complete her – marriage, motherhood, etc!

  2. Pingback: Shashi Deshpande and Indian Feminism « sotosay

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