The above poster is more than enough to explain everything that is wrong with feminism. The problem can be described in one word-entitlement. The entitlement of the entitled middle class princesses.
But for the rest of the article, lets forget about entitlement and analyse some of the problems in India and see whether feminism can be an antidote for any of them. Whenever the lunacy of feminism is pointed out, the feminists often fall back on the poverty and difficulties faced by the poor women in India to justify their existence. They are not contended with the broken families in western world that they have now turned their gaze on India to make it equally desolate and bitter place. This myth of uplifting poor through feminism is so popular that even the otherwise anti-feminist and non-feminist people of India buy it and say that feminism needs to exist in India to save the girl child.
The often cited reasons for the existence of this lunatic movement are: gender gap or poor sex ratio, poor child education rates, practice of dowry, etc. However, if one takes a closer look at these issues, without the lunatic lenses of feminism, one would find that all of these issues are result of poverty and not really misogyny as claimed by the feminists. In fact, feminist hysteria on these topics has only worsened these problems by producing wrong analysis of the underlying issues. But think of it this way- if you are a hammer everything seems like a nail to you. Similarly, give any issue to a feminist and he/she will spin a misogyny or oppression story around it.
Poor sex ratio or female foeticide
This is the first example for an urban middle or upper class feminist on why women are oppressed and why feminism is needed because it fights misogyny and helps the female foetus and hence they, the urban middle class and upper middle class women, are victims and need special treatment. However, this is not the ground reality. While female foeticide is massive problem in India and must be rooted out for the betterment of society and is the right thing to do, fixing the issue of female foeticide is not possible unless the root cause of the problem is addressed and fixed. Btw, don’t forget to notice that two issues on Kalki’s poster above are same and related to female foeticide problem.
So what is the root cause of female foeticide? The first impulsive answer will be to blame it on misogyny of Indian people (and Chinese people where this problem is even worse) who hate women and kill their female offspring. However, this is not true. The fact of the matter is, female foeticide has its origin partly in poverty and partly in female privilege. India is a traditional country and as such, parents live with their children in old age, when they can no longer work. For the majority of Indian parents, it usually means living with their sons, as only sons are expected to take care of their parents. This is specially true in the semi-urban and rural areas where parents still live with their parents. Given the near absence of any kind of social safety net in India, this is the only option available to a regular person.
So in this climate, when the Congress led government of India had been running massive propaganda against population explosion and dangers of large families, which it blamed for the lack of economic growth to hide it’s incompetence, if parents are forced to choose between a male or a female child, they would obviously prefer a male child. From the point of view of a poor parent, it is logical choice given that the male child is expected to take care of them in the future while the female child will just leave them and live with her husband and hence have no way to help them directly.
In the past, having large number of children usually meant that female foeticide or infanticide was never a problem as children were seen as wealth and not as a burden like how today’s society has been made to believe due to their “me me me” narcissitic culture. So the parents used to have many children and one or two usually ended up as male children among several female children and hence the gender balance was pretty good. But then the Congress government launched the propaganda against population to hide its incompetence in governance and the result was that people decided to have fewer children. So when they were forced to have fewer children, they decided to select male child at least per family which resulted in female foeticide and infanticide overdrive. But this propaganda against over population need much more investigation as highlighted by a piece on Indiafacts, according to which GoI took support of Ford Foundation, the same organization which now trumpets feminist causes, to help abort female foetuses. Also it is the same problem with China where it’s one child policy resulted in a sex ratio worse than India by a huge load.
As one can see, the prime reason for female foeticide and poor sex ratio was/is not misogyny as the urban lunatics like to claim but rather the female privilege of not having to take care of old parents. Thus, it is completely baseless to pin the blame for female foeticide in the last four-five decades on the Indian society and culture. It was a reaction to the changed circumstances under government propaganda. Male children were preferred simply because they were expected to work and take care of their parents in their old age. So doesn’t this act of forcing male children to take care of their parents amount to misandry by feminist logic? Of course not, some body had to take care of the parents and it was usually the sons who went to work and earn more because women were tied up in child rearing and bearing unlike the modern times and hence it was logical that sons were made to take care of them. It was the social reality of that time. So any effort to fix the problem of sex ratio have to fix the privilege of female children to not take care of their parents.
This is the reason states like Tamil Nadu are doing better on sex ratio statistics – because the notion that only sons will take care of their parents has largely changed, though not completely. Many sons today don’t take care of their parents properly, partly because of their narcissistic wives who think their father and mother in law will destroy wealth and their freedom and partly because the sons by themselves are pathetic today and want freedom from their parents, driven by individualistic narcissism as seen in the west. At the same time, many daughters convince their husbands to take care of her parents and many parents in Tamil Nadu today can be seen living with their daughters and son-in-law. This is one of the main reasons for massive improvement in sex ratio figures for Tamil Nadu and why the trend will only go up from here.
Choices of people are based on ground realities and as shown above it is true even when it comes to the decision of having children. Blaming female foeticide on patriarchy will not solve this problem. The only way forward to solve this problem is by removing the stigma/propaganda against big families so that parents can naturally have few kids and don’t resort to selection of offspring. Or by creating awareness that daughters can and should take of their parents just like sons, thereby giving up the privilege. It will have the maximum impact on parent’s decision to have female child. Screaming patriarchy or misogyny at them is not going to solve any problem nor would the parents give a damn about what the feminist lunatics with nothing better to do in their lives screech at their ears.
Dowry is another least understood topic amongst feminists, who have made dowry a favourite punching bag by completely ignoring the ground realities. Dowry has been one of the ways to share paternal property with the daughters, a fact which has been completely ignored in these debates. Our previous article on dowry gives nuanced details on this topic and explains why absence of dowry will not improve the life of female child in India.
Read Part 2 here.