• Changing my surname to Mohan after marriage doesn’t make me less of a Sahgal

    I consider myself a feminist. I raise my banner for the equality of women in all walks of life and I clapped while Emma Watson delivered her memorable ‘HeforShe’ speech at the UN headquarters in 2014. President Barack Obama’s recent essay on feminism published in ‘Glamour’ magazine had me praying he comes back for another term.

    But I am vehemently opposed to those who make a mockery of the true idea of feminism by subscribing to ‘pseudo-feminism’. This entails the rigorous and often ridiculous advocating of ‘anti-male’ behaviour and casts an ugly shadow on our societal values and traditions.

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    I have had numerous squabbles with such individuals. Some of the things they seem to advocate persistently, sometimes to the extent of forcefully demanding them from their peers, include boycotting the idea of Karvachauth, boycotting the idea of changing one’s family name after marriage, criticising women who choose to marry or become stay-at-home moms, promoting the idea of women being superior to men, and savagely pushing for supremacy over equality. ‘Feminazis’ is an appropriate word for them, I read somewhere.

    Feminazis have even gone as far as to say that women who indulge in what they perceive as their idea of anti-feminism are ‘oppressors of women everywhere’.

    I strongly object to this accusation.

    When I got married six years ago, I chose to change my family name. It was a choice I had, not an obligation. I could have included SAHGAL before MOHAN but I chose not to simply because the name in its entirety didn’t sound great. Feminazis are up in arms about this, refusing to acknowledge the one very basic thing that they are clearly too blinded by their obsession to see – it’s MY choice. Demeaning the act of a name change, for example, only embitters the Feminazis further towards their male counterparts.

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    Changing one’s family name after marriage is a choice every woman has and a decision every husband and wife will take in the confines of their own four walls. A male-bashing, oppression-beating fanatical Feminazi has no say in anyone decisions but her own. There is a fine line between what is misogynist and what is anti-feminist.

    I have also chosen to keep the Karvachauth fast once a year. Another custom that has the pseudo-feminist’s knickers in a twist. How dare these ‘women-oppressors’ not eat or drink for a whole day for a man?? Many an article has been written and many a social media page has been doused in such tomfoolery.

    It is high time that we live and let live. It is high time that those who are against such traditions and customs accept the fact that everyone has a right to choose for themselves and, being Indians, might actually enjoy some of these age-old customs.

    The heights that feminists can achieve today and the difference they can make to the lives of people and communities is unprecedented. With the right intentions and the right resources, we can be a part of a large and very important phenomenon that is already in motion around the world. But first, it is very important to understand the true meaning of feminism and not drag it in the dirt by advocating a hate-spewing version of it.

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    I am proud to be a ‘Mohan’ today but I will always be a ‘Sahgal’ too because I was born a Sahgal. A mere name change cannot change that.

    What does need to change is our outlook. It’s high time feminazis become feminists too.

    Feature image credit: Pintrest.com

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