It all started when Bollywood actress Swara Bhasker wrote an open letter to Sanjay Leela Bhansali a few days ago which touched upon how his film Padmaavat was not exactly feminist.
This ultimately resulted in Vivek Agnihotri, a Bollywood filmmaker, to reply by tweeting:
We have interviewed many ‘ex-naxal’ women in Bastar. Each has gut-wrenching stories to tell, full of abuse, rape and misogyny If they marry, they aren’t allowed to have children. I think fake feminist @ReallySwara must make a trip to understand how the Real Vagina feels like.
— Vivek Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) January 30, 2018
What women need to understand that it’s because of the fake feminists like @ReallySwara that the feminist movement gets jeopardised. You just can’t piss off people and win the most critical war of modern times – the gender empathy.
— Vivek Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) January 30, 2018
While Swara might be wrong in her stance towards the film and perhaps is making too big of an issue out of something incorrectly perceived (I feel), the fact that Agnihotri immediately dismissed her problems as nothing and told her to take a look at the ‘real ones’ in order to understand the difference is what is disturbing.
Thus, one has to ask whether only the rural Indian women are allowed to have problems and the otherwise normal and somewhat privileged girls should just keep quiet?
2 Different Worlds For People Today
It seems that people have 2 different worlds in their minds these days, there is the 1st world of the more privileged and progressive people and then there is the real world, where the real issues and problems exist.
It is correct to assume that most first world problems like not getting enough Facebook likes or your crush leaving you on read on Whatsapp, are not real-world issues. They are superficial in front of the more grave ones like having no food, water or shelter, to live in fear of your life and more.
However, it is also wrong to assume that just because a person is living a slightly easier life, then they have no problems and furthermore no right to have them in the first place.
It is definitely true that when it comes to feminist movements or campaigns, then the women who most need it are primarily the unprivileged category. And thus, completely sensible that the privileged should work towards the benefit and betterment of the have-nots, be it feminists, countries or even individuals coming from different social status or economic background.
Since they have the awareness, access, and luxury to talk about women or world issues and to make a difference, they should continue doing it in the right earnest, with a clear aim to benefit the other section.
However, given that understanding, we cannot take away the fact that even for privileged women feminism is needed and that people who come from well to do backgrounds have their own issues to battle out.
Read the commonly held opinion about this notion here: Modern Feminism Is Only For Rich People, It’s The Poor Who Actually Suffer
Just because they are not living life in extremely distressful situations does not make their issues any way less extreme/urgent in comparison, and should not allow us to undermine their problems.
For a person who is experiencing depression, at that moment this particular problem will be the biggest issue in their life. Does that mean we can neglect it and tell them to look at someone from a more unfortunate place in order to know what real problems are?
Every time a privileged feminist says something she is instead asked to go to the villages and see the life of a real woman. That is uncalled for since don’t you think she’d already know that, and her voicing out against oppression is in a way already helping the bigger cause, which will eventually reach the women who most need it?
It’s primarily influencing mindset; that is the goal here and it can start from any strata of society.
The only exception in this are confused young girls who do not understand the women’s rights’ drive and use it for extremely trivial, stupid issues and personal benefits, which do not have any relevance to equality and is probably their ego that they want to satisfy under the veil of feminism.
In order to further cement the primary stand point of this article, let us take the concept of a woman being part of the will, a concept that is not something that can be seen easily in non-urban areas. But keeping in mind that feminism is more important in rural places and the argument that this is where real issues lie, should that take away the right of the privileged women to fight for a place in their family assets in cities? Because apparently, their problems are not as grave as those experienced by rural women?
The whole idea of a formal legal will is not very prevalent in villages since it is understood that everything will be going to the son only. A strong, independent woman fighting for her inheritance rights will ultimately also affect the Bastar women in times to come, won’t it?
At the end of the day, any and all conversations and steps taken are affecting the overall movement and will ultimately affect the ones that most need it.
So until and unless a person is confusing feminist talk with ego talk, it is not good to put down someone’s problems as not real just because they are not being treated in an inhumane manner on a daily basis. One person’s certain kind of problems does not make another’s any smaller.
Image Credits: Google Images