We have all heard this over-exposed phrase “Not All Men”. And yes, it is true that not all men are badly behaved or misogynists, so who are these men who concur with the feminist movement and really call themselves one too? To discuss the term “male feminists” and the need for men to join the movement, a manel of feminists joined the Women Writers’ fest.
The label itself is recognition of the privilege that all men have in society – Raheel Khursheed of Twitter on Feminism
Feminism itself is not a very old movement. And for centuries, patriarchy has been the way to go forward in society the world over, Raheel Khursheed, Head of News Partnership in Twitter India, who calls himself a feminist, said, agreeing that not many men have a sense of Feminism’s history.
He said, “Not enough men have a history about anything, frankly. But just the company and the label are both I am extremely comfortable with. And the label itself is recognition of the privilege that all men have in society. And mostly people are not aware of how things are easy for them, which is why most men want to stay away from the label of feminism.”
Rohit Kapoor, Senior Director and Chief Growth Officer of Max Healthcare, also explained his stance on being a male feminist and spoke about the fact that growing up in a fairly gender-balanced state made him choose this way of life. “Sitting in Delhi, the bar of feminists is quite low, but I grew up in Kolkata which is completely different culturally. So in Bengal when you grow up, you feel that the sense of displacement is huge when you shift to Delhi in terms of gender and how basically women are treated in society. And that’s when you realize about your male privilege.”
Prithvi Shergill, Chief HR Officer of HCL Technologies, added to this discourse of male privilege:
“I think the reality is that there is a huge divide in expectation with men vs women by the society itself. What they would expect of a woman is much more intense than of a man. And I don’t think we acknowledge the divide and that lowered expectation is in itself our privilege.”
He explained the expectations in terms of how women are told to behave and act in various situations while carrying on with their daily lives.
Talking about feminism being incorporated by the corporate sector, there is a lot of pressure on the kind of campaigns running around it. There is a lot of pressure on educating the boy child. So the men in the corporate talk about ways in which the campaigning should be done and could make a difference.
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Prithvi shed light on the campaign on how women can be brought in the workforce. He said the changes should focus on what’s stopping men from saying things like maternity leave for women is reducing their productivity and challenges to safety becomes a concern for the company. He inculcated that the way men see these challenges and respond to it should change to really change the campaigning system.
Raheel agreed and suggested, “The framing of these campaigns don’t tend to cut to the bone of the issue. To me, the campaign should focus on the daily life and the differences in negotiations men and women go through.”
The desire for equality is not a fight between men and women. It’s rather a fight together against patriarchy and both men and women need to involve themselves in it. Because as much patriarchy is affecting women, it is also putting a lot of pressure on men with their whole weight of male ego and masculinity.