Misuse of Feminism

INTRODUCTION

Women are the most beautiful beings in this world.They deserve the fullest amount of respect not only because they are strong but also because they possess many characteristics that men don’t possess, which eventually helps them in playing the toughest roles in humanity.[1] They play role of a mother, a sister, a wife, a girlfriend and many more. They should be respected in the best possible ways. But will the next generation get many women left to be shown huge amount of respect? Or the numbers of respectful women are falling day by day.

Feminism means the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.[2] It supports equality which is the best thing that can happen in order to get this struggling society developed and beautiful. But are the issues and happenings or more particularly habits that few women nowadays practice and demand truly satisfy feminism? Well, they call themselves feminists, but can they be considered as feminists?


IS THE CONCEPT OF FEMINISM MISUSED?

The wife returns home drunk and the husband can’t change this habit of hers. Is it feminism?[3] Because they say that when men do the same they are not judged.Well it is true up to certain extent that men are not judged always. Is consumption of alcohol injurious to health of men only? Because they say they shouldn’t be judged as the males are not judged. People judge women when they smoke. Well that is wrong.But is smoking injurious to health of men only? If men are not judged when they use slangs publicly then why the women should be judged? Well that is the bad habit of men to misuse the literature. And why they think that men are not judged because of their bad habits? They are judged, they are hated, and steps to change them are practiced. Few never change, but that is the problem of theirs only, but not all men are same. Is it the time to consider all men same? Or is it the time to protest together (both men and women) against those men who don’t qualify to be men? History says, there were men who protested and stopped the society from many cruel deeds against women and that proves all men are not same. And to fight against those few who don’t possess the backbone to be a man we both (men and women) should take necessary steps. Is practicing the worst habits of men a step towards bringing feminism in society? Well somehow it is nowadays. But I doubt that kind of feminism.

Well, there are many more misdeeds that few of them had started practicing in order to fight against the male-dominated society[4]. But are those the right ways to fight? Will there be equality everywhere in the future if everything continues in this way? Are all cases of judging women truly backward approaches compared to modern society? Or the approaches are matured and strong enough to remove the camouflage of a different kind of feminism that few females brought. If this continues in the future will the world judge both genders equally? Or the bonding between both these genders will decrease to that level that they will soon start practicing deeds that may harm themselves as well as the opposites. Will that be the most matured and the best strategy to bring equality in society? What about them who don’t support these? What about them who still belong to the category that few illiterates call backward? Will the happy families that exist now struggle for their existence in the future, in a new society? A society , that will fake to stay together, that will fake selflessness’s, that will fake morality, that will fake humanity, [5]that will fake justice, that will fake bonding between siblings, that will fake bonding between couples , that will fake bonding of marriage, that will fake the bond between best friends. The new society where they dominate (who misuses feminism).


Or the best things that can happen are:-

Where people will judge both men and women for practicing bad habits publicly, where people are comfortable with all sorts of dresses that women may wear, where there will be no fear on roads when a woman returns late at night, when women will not be answerable to any kind of matters that they consider as private, where they will be treated equally with men , where both men and women will be answerable to any misdeeds, where both of them gets justice of any kind as quickly as possible, where the rapists, when proved to be wrong, may not get a chance to live anymore and gets a death sentence as soon as possible, where the criminals will be getting punished irrespective of sex, profession, caste, creed, religion, etc. There are many more that should happen. And then, we can dream of building a beautiful world in the future. These are the ones we (both men and women) want. Ain’t they? So, to remove them who are practicing wrong deeds daily, we both (men and women) need to fight. Not amongst ourselves. But with them who are responsible for creating the situations whereby mistake women may misjudge good men. So, let us change ourselves. We (men and women of this generation) will be held responsible for whatever the world becomes in the nearest future. [6]It depends on us to decorate this motherland.Before practicing feminism we all must learn what it is actually. If we become successful in understanding feminism properly and start practicing it everywhere, then we may build a different world soon enough. But misusing it will kill all our dreams eventually.


HOW DO WOMEN MISUSE THE CONCEPT OF FEMINISM?

There are some points on how women misuse the concept of feminism:-


Ø Seats – Although in public transportation some seats for women are already reserved still women misuse the laws and make man stand from the seats which are not reserved in the name of feminism even when she is fully fine and able to stand.


Ø Women using feminism to hate Men[7] – These days women use feminism to hate men or to scare them, women themselves do the wrong and then even go to the police station and file a fake complaint as they believe that they can do anything as they are women. The word ‘feminism’ is being a threat to society these days. Example- Amity Noida case.[8]


Ø Social Media – Women even use the laws incorrectly to get attention on social media platforms or to be popular.



MISUSE OF DOWRY LAWS AND FAILURE OF THE SYSTEM

The Supreme Court directed in the last week of July that no direct and immediate arrest shall be made under dowry harassment laws.[9] Some three years ago it was observed that anti-dowry harassment laws were being used by disgruntled wives as weapons rather than as shields. What is of concern is that the Supreme Court has virtually endorsed and legitimized the stereotype that women exaggerate and fabricate stories of violence in order to seek vengeance against their husbands and matrimonial families, thereby giving a handle to some people to bank on the Supreme Court to prove the point of view that women misuse the laws.

The verdict of the Supreme Court in Rajesh Sharma & Ors.[10] V. State of Uttar Pradesh needs to be analyzed because it holds victims of violence guilty of misusing the law. Did the Supreme Court have the jurisdiction to brand women in distress as wives who misuse the law? To my knowledge, while exercising appellate jurisdiction, the court is required to examine whether the court below committed an error that resulted in the misuse of the process of law. In Rajesh Sharma, the court has not indicated any specific error committed by a court below. Instead of identifying the errors, the court mentions that “there is a tendency to rope in all the family members”. The court mentions the statement of the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) that there is a growing tendency to abuse the provisions of the law and mentions data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to create a foundation that there is widespread misuse of the law.

In Som Mittal vs. Government of Karnataka (2008 (3) SCC 753), it was held that an appellate court shall sit in judgment over the correctness of a decision of the lower court, and not travel beyond that. “The subject matter of an appeal, whether civil or criminal, is the correctness of the decision of the court below. There is no question of [an] appellate court traveling beyond and making observations alien to the case.” I doubt whether the court was justified in framing the guidelines intended to check the misuse of the law without even mentioning which misuse (in the case before it) impelled it to frame the guidelines.

The Supreme Court generalized the facts as it observed that a large number of cases continue to be filed under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code alleging harassment of married women, and many such complaints are not bona fide ones.[11] The observation is not based on any empirical data. The Law Commission’s 243rd report (August 2012) on Section 498A (that came after the directions from the Supreme Court in Preeti Gupta to review the law), observed that the misuse (the extent of which is not established by empirical data) by itself shall not be a ground to denude the provision of its efficacy, keeping in view the larger societal interest.


CAN LAWS BE MISUSED?

While norms can be misused, it’s too much trouble to actually do so. “In July 2017, the Supreme Court issued a new set of directions to prevent the misuse of Section 498 (a) of the Indian Penal Code [dealing with harassment and abuse of married women].[12] It was accepted that there is a growing tendency to abuse the said provision to rope in all the relatives, including parents of advanced age, minor children, siblings, grandparents and uncles on the strength of vague and exaggerated allegations without there being any verifiable evidence of physical or mental harm or injury,” Vishakha said.

However, to abuse, the law is not that simple. “I think to abuse these norms takes a lot of guts, takes a different kind of vendetta or agenda in one’s mind, and in most of the cases really, the amount of people who are even willing to go and write a complaint is very, very few,” countered Zia Mody, co-founder, AZB & Partners.

But it’s no case for them to not exist

Even if there are women who have misused dowry laws, it does not mean that the countless women who suffer harassment because of dowry demands should not have a mechanism that can help them.

“I think that rather than concentrate on the relatively smaller number of women who could be taking advantage of this statute to further an agenda, you really have to empower women through the statute even further, because what’s going to stop this, what’s going to stop it is, frankly—scared men. Why is this going to stop? Because the consequence of being stupid in your workplace is now going to have repercussions because earlier you didn’t even think will happen in your life,” said Mody.


PSEUDO FEMINISM – DANGEROUS FOR SOCIETY

We are living in the 2018 and 21st century and the world is progressing rapidly. Human beings are going places with innovation, technology, and science.[13] The very idea of humanity is witnessing a huge shift and this time is about equality, gender rights and justice for all. The age-old debate between sexes is still going on and we are still fighting over superiority between men and women and recently the atmosphere has been vitiated by certain events and incidents.

The recent debate and topic about feminism intrigue me. By all accounts, any common and civil man knows the definition of feminism and he respects and supports it wholeheartedly. This generation is aware of all the issues and is quite adamant that women are as good if not better than men and we are seeing the change happening right in front of us.

Women are becoming presidents, prime ministers, chief executives all around the world (ironically America still doesn’t have a female president) and the glass ceiling has been broken and shattered. I get the point that women over the centuries have been a victim of misogyny, sexism and downright crude and unjust behavior and often been treated like a second-class citizen and gotten a raw deal in every sphere of life.

The mighty men’s cause has not been helped by people like Harvey Weinstein and US President Donald John Trump, who has by being in power, have behaved like bullies and are responsible for murdering the soul of a woman even when she is alive. But, for every Weinstein and Trump, there are millions of men around the globe who are respected, looked up to and believe in justice and equality. Just because men don’t scream and shout from the rooftop about #MeToo campaign doesn’t mean that they are perverted or bad people. Humanity is still alive and many humble men will die to protect the honor of a woman and will always stand up for genuine women’s causes and suffrage.

We live in times where male bashing has become a norm and we generalize every man as some sort of animal, who will pounce and destroy woman’s dignity. Let me assure you that majority of men have never teased, assaulted or taken advantage of any female and this gross generalization has to stop. We all know that our society is not perfect and fair and it has always been skewed in favor of the other sex and time has come for this to sink in and make the requisite changes.

Feminism is a concept that is accepted by all rational and educated men all around the world but when women in the garb of feminism attack men and indulge in character assassination than it is not a level playing field. In Indian culture, many goddesses have been women and we pray and look up to them in times of difficulty. I believe in equality, gender justice and am a proud feminist but those who propagate pseudo feminism are doing more harm than good and please, for Christ’s sake, not all men are terrible. There are people who will always rise and stand up for championing the rights of women and women have to accept that to make a change in society. First, they have to realize that men are not evil and the universe also has a tiny amount of good people.

Feminism is a birthright and nobody can take it away from women. If we want to live in a peaceful society, then women will have to be given their due. And, when I say this, I don’t become a feminist but a human being.[14]


CONCLUSION

Feminism was the belief that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men and therefore some laws were made to bring women equal to men with respect to status and authority but these days the concept of feminism is changing its meaning and is getting misused. Women are using feminism to hate men which should be accepted. It is even violating the rights of men.

Definitely, feminism is a requisite to the promotion of women’s rights and opportunities as an individual being. However, making unfair use of any authority will only lead to a more biased and unjustified scenario.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Ø Misuse of laws - Women misuse the laws made for... - Google Scholar

2. Women using feminism to hate Men - Google Scholar

3. Men Doing Feminism - Google Books

4. We (men and women of this generation) will be held... - Google Scholar

5. Wife returns home drunk and the husband can’t change... - Google Scholar

6. Women are the most beautiful beings in this world... - Google Scholar

7. Why (pseudo) feminism is dangerous for the societywww.freepressjournal.in

8. The 'pseudo'-feminism problem: Why people are compelled to brand others as fake and turn ideology into a skill - Firstpostwww.firstpost.com

9. The internet is full of men who hate feminism. Here's what they're like in person. - Voxwww.vox.com

10. The biggest threat to feminism? It’s not just the patriarchy | Finn Mackay | Opinion | The Guardianwww.theguardian.com

11. The biggest threat to feminism? It’s not just the patriarchy | Finn Mackay | Opinion | The Guardianwww.theguardian.com

12. Misuse of the Sexual Harassment Act won’t be tolerated: Manisha Gulatiwww.thestatesman.com


FOOTNOTES

[1] K Seccombe, D James, KB Walters - Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1998 – JSTOR, (17-10-19, 5:00)

[2] S Sievers - Journal of Women's History, 1989 - muse.jhu.edu, (17-10-19, 5:30)

[3] J Baumgardner, A Richards - 2010 - books.google.com, (17-10-19, 6:30)

[4] GJ DeGroot - International Peacekeeping, 2001 - Taylor & Francis, (17-10-19, 7:00)

[5] U Beck - Security Dialogue, 2003 - journals.sagepub.com (18-10-19, 6:00), https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/09670106030343002

[6] FW Nietzsche - 1989 – Vintage, (18-10-19, 6:28)

[7] MS Kimmel - Men doing feminism, 1998 - books.google.com, (18-10-19, 7;00)

[8] PL Crocker - Harv. Women's LJ, 1985 – HeinOnline, (18-10-19, 7:30)

[9] Jyoti Kalra, misuse of dowry laws and failure of the system, (17-10-19, 6:00) https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/misuse-of-dowry-laws-and-the-failure-of-the-system/article19435399.ece.

[10] Rajesh Sharma vs The State Of Uttar Pradesh on 27 July, 2017, 1265 OF 2017.

[11] Jyoti Kalra, misuse of dowry laws and failure of the system, (17-10-19, 6:00) https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/misuse-of-dowry-laws-and-the-failure-of-the-system/article19435399.ece.

[12] Arnika Thakur, Fortune India, Are harassment norms in the workplace misused? (18-10-19, 9:00).

[13] FPJ Web Desk, FREE PRESS, Why (pseudo) feminism is dangerous for the society, (19-10-19, 12:00 p.m.), https://www.freepressjournal.in/cmcm/why-pseudo-feminism-is-dangerous-for-the-society

[14] FPJ Web Desk, FREE PRESS, Why (pseudo) feminism is dangerous for the society, (19-10-19, 12:00 p.m.), https://www.freepressjournal.in/cmcm/why-pseudo-feminism-is-dangerous-for-the-society


Submitted by,

Anushka Saxena,

Year II, B.A.LL.B.,

Indore Institute of Law.



(Image used for representational purpose only. Image Courtesy: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/shenomics/5-uninformed-ideas-that-make-feminism-a-bad-word-in-india_a_21628411/ )

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