Manifesto

It is with great pleasure and sinister joy, as is typical of feminists, that we come here to say, ten thousand times over, everything that women have been dying to say and everything that will threaten the power and privilege of men.

Everything from our history to the daily news tells us that as women, we are the sickness in mankind that needs to be stamped out, killed, and gotten ride off. They have burned us as witches at the stake, raped us as conquests of war, sold us off like chattel- and then married us and kept us at home to smile, and brew for them the perfect cup of coffee.

As Indian women, we read about women getting raped, mutilated, battered, tortured, and burned on a daily basis- even as the men we work with take extraordinary pains to call us bitches and cunts with a hatred that is consistent with the tradition of their species. These men will have us believe that we are hysterically fighting for something we already have. Some of us will almost be convinced. But every now and then, a friend of a friend who did really well in college will get married off in some elaborate ceremony to a man who will ask her with a straight face to give him a record of all her whereabouts. Every now and then, some neighbour of a neighbour will whisper discreetly about the bruises on her hand that have appeared there overnight. Every now and then, a friend will get drunk at a party and get touched by a man she doesn’t remember saying yes to. It is during one of these moments, that all of us encounter at some point in our lives, that we become aware of the utmost hatred that every word, every language, every institution, and every man, has made us the target of. We think it might not be completely unreasonable for us women to reject the notion that we are deserving of this hatred and to think about it, talk about it, write about it, and when need be, to scream about it.

Every now and then, a woman who has been made aware of this hatred and disgust that the world feels for her, speaks with the conviction that she has the right to be liberated from it. Occasionally she may do so with slogans on the street, but mostly, she does it in classroom friendly terms because she hopes that as long as she is the right kind of woman with the right kind of anger, it might not be completely impossible for her to convince others of her right to be treated as human. Even after all of this, even after having every bit of faith in the men around her, some guy turns around and calls her a man-hating feminazi bitch who is ignoring the fact that men get raped too- and she has to shut up and listen to him. She has to shut up and listen to HIM because he is a MAN and he is tired of women TALKING about their oppression.

We are tired of being told to shut up about our anger and our pain.

Every woman, no matter how brave, no matter how strong, has made herself easier to swallow, has made her rage easier to share. Her movement has been bought by listicle sites, make up companies, and media giants. It is reproduced and sold daily through palatable, non-threatening slogans and products.

We want our feminism back.

In a country where women are still fighting for their basic rights, we cannot do with half-assed positions on freedom of choice, and we cannot depend on our sisters from the west to understand and talk about all aspects of our lives. We need to be able to talk about our oppression, in terms as ugly and real as is necessary, for us to be able to stand up against it. We don’t give a shit about the other side of the story. We don’t give a shit about hurt sentiments, or alienating allies, and we certainly don’t give a shit about sounding like cranky prudes.

We don’t give a shit about anything except what is best for women. And we dare you to interrupt us while we’re talking about it.