Even today, many people, informed or otherwise, consider feminism as a radical movement synonymous with man-hating and anti-nationalism. Nivedita Menon, a professor of Political Thought at Jawaharlal Nehru University, has written a very diaphanous book on feminism – Seeing Like a Feminist.
The book shows us the complex narrative of a society from a feminist point of view. Nivedita writes on issues ranging from women wearing skirts while playing sports, to the now-repealed Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, to dowry, sexual harassment, pornography and everything under the umbrella of gender and feminism.
The book does not give answers – instead, it asks new questions and challenges the current norm of the patriarchal society.
Seeing Like a Feminist lacks detailed answers related to gender identity and the problems faced by the Hijra and transgender people. Another crucial point the book lacks is how men perceive feminism. The book should have expanded more on the role of men and boys in feminism, and it is as vital as that of women and girls.
As Nivedita Menon says in the end, “Our lives are meaningful because of one another.” We can conclude by saying that to achieve gender equality, it is only possible if we all are in this to together.
Seeing Like a Feminist ends on a beautiful note – “It comes slowly, slowly, feminism does. However, it just keeps on coming!” It means that feminism is a concept which is dynamic, inevitable, and all-pervasive.
It is a must-read for every feminist and non-feminist. This book helps us understand the real spirit of the big ‘F’ word and the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the genders. Furthermore, the book deciphers that patriarchy is not as unconquerable as we think it to be.
Author: Nivedita Menon
Publisher: Zubaan-Penguine Jointlist