A few days ago, I uploaded a photo of myself on Instagram wearing a t-shirt that says “We All Should be Feminist.” I kinda like that t-shirt a lot, and honestly, it attracts ample gazes even though it is just too simple with just a ‘quote’ on it. The photo for some reason kept me hooked for comments and reactions of people. Some people liked it, and the comment on ‘feminazi’ was also there, I don’t know why but somewhere I knew that somebody would have that comment in store.
Moving forward, a few days later, a friend I talk to, not so often, sent me this video of a girl thrashing a guy in the middle of the road at Krishna Nagar, Lucknow. A place nearby to where I live. I have crossed the road a number of times. It is so local to me that at first I was disgusted at the girl’s behaviour but didn’t think otherwise. The larger narrative; my woke mind just somehow missed the (not) ‘obvious’ reason behind her abusive behaviour. I thought the police would take the necessary actions and the matter would be sorted out until the guy asked for my views on it. A secondary narrative to the condemnable violence. A narrative that was unnecessary. A narrative of feminism, women empowerment. Before moving further, let me point out what I replied to this friend of mine — “that it is ill-mannered.” The next day #arrestlucknowgirl started trending on Twitter.
The #arrestlucknowgirl trend with an undated video being shared widely on social media, where a young woman was seen physically assaulting a male cab driver, alleging he drove carelessly. The cabbie is seen asking people to call the police while the woman is continuously slapping him. “Aaplog mahila police bulaye,” he is heard saying in the video. She even raises her hand on a person who came forward to stop her and further slams the driver’s phone.
“She grabbed my phone from the car & smashed it into pieces. She also broke the car’s side mirrors,” Cab driver Saadat Ali Siddiqui said, according to an ANI report.
Now, the matter is of violence and commotion in public, but with two opposite genders in the picture, apart from the woman at fault, the whole movement of feminism has been put under scrutiny. Is it even justified to derail the whole movement over one woman’s actions? Moreover, is it even related to women empowerment or feminism in any way? Why are such actions painted with feminism? If it is not a half baked narrative then what is? If this is not half-knowledge then what is? Which books, feminist talks about violence to showcase her empowerment? I want to know. If not, why are we so scared of feminism that we give it the ‘limelight’ in such cases?
Where does feminism come into play?
This incident has been the talk of the town ever since and undoubtedly I have had a good discussion over it, with friends and colleagues. I wouldn’t hesitate from saying that feminism today has had so many interpretations and is convenient to people. Like moulding this case to feminism so much so that we need to disintegrate the whole situation to understand it and separate the two completely unrelated things. Why only in such situation do our woke minds ponder upon feminism?
I was amazed how feminism and women empowerment narratives are being dragged into a situation where it doesn’t fit in any manner. No person let be a feminist in her/ his sense would advocate the woman’s behaviour in the situation. Is this the kind of empowerment feminists want? What do feminist women have to say for themselves now?
How difficult it is to understand that if one woman’s abuse undermines the extraordinary movement led by thousands of women then we seriously need to introspect. It baffles me to equate the fight for equality, against systemic oppression can be negated with one damn incident. The incident needs to be condemned and the offender should be punished, but the whole brigade questioning feminism and feminist is equally worrisome.
If you say that feminism was a driving force behind her action, a point of view I came across then she needed introspection just like you for derailing the movement because of her action. A culprit calls upon all the tools to prove its case but that doesn’t mean we begin to question it. Call it a boon or a bane, the internet has become a scholarly space and netizens have become scholars, today we want to put our half-baked opinions out there. It has become absolutely mandatory to not consume everything and instead put our mind at our discretion.