Until my teens, the inequity of the genders was a hushed possibility. My parents provided me the same opportunities and resources that they did my brother. I had the freedom to choose the important things in life and make my own opinions. But, the undercurrent simmered, revealed through intermittent, patronizing compliments like “you are sharp for a girl” or more blatant diktats like “don’t sit like a man”.
I formally read about feminism in my teens and decided that I am going to adopt it as a guiding principle in life. Like all other philosophies, that tend to get elevated to a religion, Feminism is often presented as a caricature of itself. I believe that the gendered nomenclature of the philosophy gets in the way of understanding it well. A ‘Feminist’ need not be a shark in a pant-suit who loathes men and children and rules half the world. She can be, if she so chooses, but she doesn’t have to be, to qualify as a feminist. She shouldn’t be entitled to more because she is a woman – just the same. I am not a feminist who believes in quotas, only in mutual respect. In fact, a feminist can very well be a man, who believes that lives of all kinds matter equally!
Long story short, my husband and I are practicing feminists. We try actively, in every way possible, to provide T with an environment where she grows up having compassion for and feeling equal to other genders, races or communities. And I am proud to say that I know a whole load of couples around me who are exactly the same, trying in every way possible to erase the unfair gap.
And I do wish I had a son. Or have one in the future. I wish this for each one of the Feminists who is out there. I wish that, in time, we are able to replace the likes of Brock Turner and his father with men who have been fostered believing that all lives are equally important.