Yuva - India

Feminism and Capitalism

Very often we come across many bodies related to feminist struggles voicing their opinion boldly against capitalism. Many activists too, involved in these fights and struggles are seen taking a stance against capitalism and even industrialization at times. These are also active faces in pro-Marxist and Socialist movements. This often makes one wonder whether it is just a co-incidental subjective opinion of these that they take such stances or there exists any link between the ideas of Marxism, Socialism and Feminism.

Firstly, feminism has various shades be it ‘radical’, ‘liberal’, ‘post-modernist’, etc. All these, though having differences in their approach ultimately aim to break the shackles of patriarchy. These took to rather very creative or new ways to attain equal positions in the society. This included criticism of heterosexuality that is seen to subdue women by men by prescribing her with gender roles. Similarly, linking capitalism to the condition of women also is an idea that gained momentum way back around the 19th century.

This idea can be seen in the theory of Friedrich Engels, a German philosopher. He argued that earlier the society was egalitarian with the women playing a dominant role. But with the coming up of private properties, controlled mostly by men, women became subordinates working for their husbands. Also, as workplace and home did not remain the same, the latter became places for reproduction, a consequence of heterosexuality. This explains well, why the feminist bodies are standing in opposition to the ‘Farm Laws’ that intends to introduce the option of private markets to the farmers for their produce.

Though legitimate and much needed these ideas were in a world where imbalance of power had corrupted many, is it relevant today? Also, does this justify the role of bodies like ‘Pinjra Tod’ in Delhi riots, many of its members judicially pinned?

One thing that anyone could see is that the society today is more burdened with class differences than any other like gender, caste, religion, etc. Also, anyone better off, including many activists, desire for a better lifestyle. Thus, striving to pull more women towards education, jobs, etc. will serve better than killing business and industries altogether. Social justice and economic prosperity can go hand in hand instead of one over-shadowing the other.

Above all, though India too has a lot of gender discriminations, we also have a heritage built by legendry women who set the bar of women empowerment quite high. Be it the agrarian pre-Vedic period, the period of monarchy or democracy, women of this land have always left a mark. This, moreover, was done not by subduing other genders or ideas but purely on merit and nobility. Be it Gargi, Savitribai Phule, Rani Didda or Rani Chinnamma, Indian legends showed how the true and uncorrupted culture of this place genuinely beholds ‘Nari tu Narayani’. This idea shows how India always had place for the deserving, no matter how drastic a change they bring, unlike the west where all revolutionary ideologies were packaged in one ‘-ism’, intending to dilute their effect- ‘Feminism’ being one.

Shobhna Dheemati

Intern, Goa Chronicle
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