The recent upsurge of meninism on social media, when compared to an obviously feminist film like Pink, highlights a vital issue which we seem to have missed out—the question of simple human rights over that of ‘men’ or ‘women’.
“No means NO!” said a make-believe lawyer not very long ago, in a make-believe courtroom in a film. And it was enough to kick-start a storm of debates in the real world. In the recent history of Indian cinematography, a film like Pink perhaps does not give us as many reasons to celebrate feminism as it does to critique it. Nevertheless, it sets up a milestone of sorts. If it were not for Amitabh Bachchan’s fiery performance, would you and I bother to go to a movie-theatre to learn about ‘feminism’ of all things? The answer is no.
Feminism is too complex, too politically misused a term to be given a one-line definition. For simple folks like us, it is safe to assume that it includes the hope of ‘equality’ somewhere within that definition. Meninism, on the other hand, has a much shorter and bizarre history. The internet claims that it began with a group of male allies of feminism who were initially “opposed to all forms of misogynistic behaviour and sexist attitudes.” From there it went rolling down the hill, with #MeninistTwitter being used for all kinds of abuses being hurled at women. The reign of the trolls took over soon. Matters as serious as rape were trivialised through memes and crass jokes. At best, it can now be termed a reaction movement.
The problem, however, is not with rational people. It lies amongst those who actually believe meninism to be a legitimate movement, meant to satirise aggressive feminism. If women can play the ‘victim card’, so can men, is supposed to be the logic. Going by it, there are many who would find reasons to not go to a movie-theatre or waste a bucket of popcorn watching ‘wronged’ women have their justice served. This is also the point where your voice of reason should stand up and snatch that bucket of popcorns.
Long before meninism came into the scene, feminism had had its own set of vehement oppositions. And long before the term ‘feminism’ came to be detested, there was another ancient debate. But the fundamental problem with any debate between the opposite sexes has been, and still remains, in the fact that it is never seen as a battle for human rights. A woman crying out for justice after suffering years of domestic abuse is a human being first, and a woman later. It is an act of human rights violation. It is a woman asking for rights, not a debate to figure out whether women constantly use tears as a weapon to get their way.
In fact just as there emerges a ‘movement’ like meninism, there are numerous misconstrued perspectives of feminism. That is not to say that debates are invalid. But why should the value of a human life be forgotten in debate? Perhaps the greatest lesson you or I could take from Pink is not that it generates an age old debate. Perhaps what it is trying to tell us is not that either of the two parties—men or women—have to emerge victorious in the end. It is equality in the arena of human rights that matters, first and last.
Image Credits: www.buzzfeed.com
By Deepannita Misra