Dimensions of femininity

… The title was meant to scare the narcissists and nothing more!

Most of the times in B-schools the lessons are learnt outside the class. But for a change, not often, professors surprise us with a different experience.

The other day in a session on “Organizational Behavior” we were asked to list down the names of leaders we admired. We were 60 in the class and we could hear a lot of names – “Tata” “Murthy” “Premji” “Mandela”, “Steve Jobs”, “Bill Gates”… And it went on for 5 minutes before the prof asked us to stop. Sadly, Mark Zuckerberg didn’t make it to the list. While we were calling out the names, he wrote them on the board. But the surprising part was – when we were done – he point out an observation. That startled me more than anybody else.

There was not a single woman’s name.

Sure, now that he pointed out. I could name a few. But that it still wasn’t an instinctive response! Being slight tilted towards “Feminism”, I started to question my belief. But being a human, I liked to blame others. So, I questioned the society itself.

In one other occasion, we were asked to list down swear words. This time our class was pretty vocal. Given that, nobody will get a chance to show their prowess, people stretched their imagination and came up with “quite a lot” of swear words and phrases. Again after 5 minutes of so called “brain-storming” our professor stopped and asked us to take a look at the list. And asked the question.

How many of these were intended towards women?

More than 75% were. Again. I was stumped.

I questioned the society. Again. It’s they who imposed these words on us. It’s the society who didn’t do enough “branding” on feminism. In fact, they did the reverse and made the word “feminist” a taboo. “I am not to be blamed. I am not.” said the voice in my head.

As I retracted my defense shields, I realized the mistake was mine as much as it was the society’s.

I recently read a book called “Lean in” by Shreyl Sandberg. I couldn’t stop talking about it to my female friends. Yet, I haven’t told a single male friend about it.

I don’t send my female friends in an auto without the company of a male friend.

I tell my male friends that I can’t come to the party because I am sick but in reality I have menstrual cramps.

I still use the phrase “man up”.

I still wait for the guy to take me out. When I could call the shots myself!

I still would like to call “Steve Jobs” my idol even though I secretly worship Sara Blakely!

I watch ATP world tour more than WTA world tour.

….

….

The list goes on.

So, here I ask myself the question. Am I a feminist? Or is it just a label?

There are so many things that goes unnoticed that forms our behavior in the most subtlest forms. Though I am knowledgeable enough to tell the difference between right and wrong, the behavior is so instinctive that I didn’t have to tell the difference.

Yet this makes all the difference.

A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men
She couldn’t be more right.

What am I calling out for? I don’t know. But I know, whatever that is right now is not right.