Shaded Stories: A Study of the Relevance of Feminist Principles in Today’s World
Authors: Kabita Chiring
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In spite of the apparent equality of women in various sectors in the present world, the fact remains that women from various strata of society continue to be discriminated against in various ways. This paper, therefore, is an attempt to assert the relevance and necessity of feminist principles in the present world by debunking five common observations made about feminism. The first observation is that since women are enjoying equal opportunities in education and employment, there is no need for feminism. To counter this observation, this paper explores the persistence of sexual division of labor that leads to women’s labor being unacknowledged and unpaid. The second observation is that feminism is redundant because women “create” their own problems. In this context, the paper asserts the importance of equal access and equality of risk that can counter the prevalent trend of blaming the victim in cases of sexual harassment of women. The third observation is that since women sell their own bodies, there is no need for feminism. In response to this observation, this paper asserts that instead of delivering moral judgment on sex/sexualized work, the more important need is that of prompt redress of any complaint pertaining to workplace exploitation of women as well as of creation of adequate employment opportunities for women from all strata. The fourth observation is that women are the worst enemies of women and hence feminism is redundant. Countering this argument, this paper asserts that the exploitative nature of virilocal, heterosexual, heteronormative families is the root cause of female oppression and “enmity”. Finally, the last observation this paper critiques is about the “misuse” of women-centric laws. In this regards, this paper asserts how in many cases, “misuse” or its possibility is constructed, which in itself is a reflection of patriarchal ideology. On the basis of these five observations and their critique, this paper concludes with an emphasis on the relevance of feminist principles as the route to an equal and just society.