“You can’t handle the truth!”, shouts a dreadful looking dead-eyed Jack Nicholson in the infamous court scene monologue of, ‘Few Good Men’. I remember watching it last night and drawing parallels to a feminist’s pursuit in this world full of Qs and As when something from the ‘trending’ cortex (or some brain parts) of my brain constrained me into writing this piece. This is about a new flash card ‘Pseudo-feminism’ being tossed around these days by some wolves hiding in sheep skin.
I knew I had observed it quite a few times within vents and debates bursting over random pictures by pages who often have hardons for feminists. But there are different connotations to how the term is being used and squandered and eventually, by the grace of logic, ending up in the trashcan. Here are the kinds I came across.
1. I came across articles, posts, comments that were screaming “Hey welcome to patriarchy-land!” while putting up mansplained opinions, victim blaming “advices” and latent sexism encrypted with sentences like “I support feminism but..” or “I’m for gender equality but you have to understand that..”.
2. I recalled a woman being booed as a pseudo-feminist by a group of “life-enjoying” marmalades after she angrily called out the sexism in a “funny” post. We have all been witnesses to this scenario as it happens all around the social media, in fact there are pages dedicated to defy the movement as a wrong attempt towards gender equality.
As much as we’re all familiar with the intention of placing the word ‘pseudo’ before any other word to describe a hoodwinking pretender, we’re also bound to overlook it as nothing but a precise representation of the opposition. Such is the case with feminism. When a person is being what folks call a “pseudo-feminist”, he/she is being patriarchal and not a dysfunctional follower of feminism. There, I said it. After overgrazing on a series of brain pickings and internet boo-hoos these people are just trying to portray their same old outlooks that are strictly patriarchal but coated with vanilla icing and crushed Oreos. That also marshals together all those “progressive” filmmakers creating deceivingly strong female characters, those TV Ads showing an overenthusiastic back-patting husband cooking on a Sunday morning to surprise his wife, those clickbait Menxps on social media with one article about “why men need to embrace feminism” while the other reading “10 reasons how women have ruined it”. Well, here are a million reasons why this receptacle of media reptiles do not deserve even to be seen around the word feminism, let alone a ‘pseudo’. This is patriarchy in the modish structure- patriarchy in jeans and goggles.
Even when it comes to forums like the Femitheist divine which is publicly illustrated as a clear pseudo-feminist by the urban dictionary, there is no notion as to what parts of feminism are wrongly described but the absence of what feminism actually is (In fact, the owner of the page herself claims, she is far away from being called a feminist, in her bio). That’s really all there is to the term because it makes zilch sense when put under introspection of a rational mind. We don’t need it!
But let’s give it a fair chance, everybody deserves it right? I’m in a good mood. Let the words fly around, let people use it to push their inherited social justice lexicons, let them use it to set differences and point out the logical fallacies that exist even in renowned feminists. Let them evolve discussions.
Hold on! what! What is that? Did that guy just use, pseudo-feminists and feminazis in one sentence? That joker face Sheldon on Facebook who claims to be sarcastic but spews everything other than sarcasm? Oh again! Look, another guy just dissed this woman condemning her tone of voice WHILST talking about feminism. You know how that sounds right? Allow me lay it out for you in points (Teacher ne kaha hai point me likhoge toh zyada marks milenge)
Here is what you must have heard:
“Oh, I know your gender has endured centuries of physical and mental torture, but I didn’t like the tone of your voice right now, it’s not feminism, it’s pseudo-fewmewniwsm”
Yes, it sounds exactly like it reads. There are these well-brought sahibzadas who have been showered their whole lives with rose petals of male privilege and will ask you to lower your voice because it’s them you’re speaking to, albeit it’s about how you got sexually assaulted. They will search their big bag of classiest vocabulary, clinch on the term pseudo feminist and fly-kiss it to you just like the Bollywood heroes used to do in the 90s while stalking their college crushes. Ugh. Sometimes, women unaware of something called ‘tone-policing’ do give up and confusingly admit they might have been talking over their voices, which is even worse.
Here is the second genius-
“You’re such a pseudo-feminist. You should be caring about the women in middle-east, or women who get raped on a daily basis in poor countries, African women. You just care about burning bras and workplace sexism, seriously grow up. Third wave is such a wannabe.”
What you read above is not a concern, it’s boredom. This person is actually setting a bar within the facets of oppression, as to which one is more thrilling so he can, not care about it because he does live in a first world country, derail the movement by deceiving people in their own fights before disappearing into the imperceptive clouds of prerogative comforts where he can continue harassing his female co-workers, because if he doesn’t see the wrong in it, he probably does it too.
Saying no more I will allow this cut-throat tumblr screenshot to take the stage –
There is a third one which often goes on targeting feminists as ‘pseudos’ who try to care about women wanting to exert their religious norms like wearing hijabs or entering worship places. The argument calls out the hypocrisy as to why would a feminist help someone fighting to conform to a role devised by the patriarchy. Well, there is a reason why feminists do that. When you imagine a desolated refugee woman walking down the street of a first world country, already scared to her toes and still traumatizing of the horror she escaped, harassing her on the street for wearing a burqa won’t do any good, right? When it comes to controlling what women wear, burqa would probably win a gold medal and there is no doubt in its wrongness but why not let her decide what she wants, how about giving her some time and space to, I don’t know, understand this new world she has been denied of all this while?
Another one down the drain.
There could be numerous reasons as to why atrocities against women aren’t taken seriously, like patriarchy, patriarchy, or patriarchy maybe? But there is also a more appalling glitch these privileged bummers try to play out when they deliberately collude feminism as pseudo-feminism, trying to save guess what? Yes, you got it, patriarchy! It’s a maze embedded into knotted paths finally revealing to one single opening.
Putting it another way, behind ever Brock Turner getting released after doing half of his baby-time in prison for raping a woman, is a group of obnoxious plantheads shrieking “pseudo-feminism” and “feminazis” to degrade the significance of women’s issues in order to support a baseless sexist meme. Yes, it all sums up and if you are one of those “but how can a joke help increase rape” people, you’re a part of it too.
The story of this infant term ‘pseudo feminist’ trying to get a life around here is not a happy one. It ended up getting involved with the thugs and cool-dudes of patriarchy, completely forgetting its purpose and now it’s not entailed. If it takes a feminist to set a breakthrough in these obdurate lives of women, it also takes a feminist to care about issues circling the male gender. But when you “pseudo” the everlasting movement of struggle to fit your farcical beliefs & arguments you’re just making Colonel Nathan Jessep (Jack Nicholson)’s case stronger-