Is Feminism Dismantling Indian Society? Insights from Dhruv Rathee’s Video

33 Min Read
Credits: Dhruv Rathee

Introduction: The Debate on Feminism and Patriarchy

Hello, friends! Recently Dhruv Rathee made a complete video on the Animal film, in which I called it a cancer for society. After reading it, some people asked, ‘What about toxic feminism?’ Are feminist films not bad for society? So, in this article, let’s learn about feminism and patriarchy in-depth in detail. What is Feminism? How does feminism impact our society? And how are men suffering because of it? “Feminine gender, masculine gender, neutral, in Hindi, it is known as ‘Streeling’ and ‘Puling,’ those words have now been given a new meaning.” Often on social media, whenever we talk about topics like masculinity, patriarchy, and feminism, you must have heard people saying that these girls, these women, or these boys are always like this. Such arguments are raised a lot that girls are at fault in many instances, that women do this and that. It’s as if a Team Boys and Team Girls are opposing each other. All the men are in one team and women are in the other team. Think about it, is it not strange?

Clarifying Gender Stereotypes 

Males and females are always divided into two different teams. Every house has a mother, a daughter, a sister, or a wife. So while using such arguments, how can we say things like, “Girls are always like this” or “Women are always like this.” On the other hand, it doesn’t make sense to group all men into one team. Some men throw acid on girls if they refuse them. Would you like to be in the same team with them? The real division that exists here is between patriarchal people and feminist people. What do these words mean? Let’s take a look at the dictionary. Patriarchy is a social system where men have control over women. In Hindi, patriarchy can be called Purush Pradhan Samajik Vyavastha. [Male-dominated social structure] A system where all power is held by men. So what is the definition of Feminism? Does Feminism mean a society where the power is in the hands of women? No. The definition of feminism is something else. Feminism is an ideology that believes that there should be political, economic, and social equality between men and women. Women should be given equal rights and opportunities as men. So even though the word Feminism is derived from the word Female, it doesn’t mean that women are given more power than men. There’s another word for that, Matriarchy. 

Credits: Dhruv Rathee

This is the equivalent of Patriarchy. Where men are considered superior to women in Patriarchy, in Matriarchy, women are considered superior to men. But Feminism means that there is no discrimination between the two genders. Now you must be thinking, does this mean that a man can also be a feminist? Absolutely. Any rational and sensible man will be a Feminist. Former US President Barack Obama once wrote an essay in which he called himself a Feminist. When the legendary author Salman Rushdie was asked if he was a feminist, he replied, “Yes, what else is there to be?” Either you are a feminist or a fool. These are the only choices. When Hollywood filmmaker Darren Aronofsky was asked the same question, he replied, that it was a stupid question. Of course, he is a feminist. Indian actor Rahul Bose had a similar answer to this question. He said, of course, he is a feminist. Anyone who believes in humanity, naturally is a feminist. Several famous male celebrities openly call themselves Feminists. Hollywood actors Chris Hemsworth, and Ryan Gosling, in the Indian film industry, Farhan Akhtar, and Aamir Khan. Often they have talked about the issue that men and women should be given equal rights. But the next question is can women be patriarchal? The answer to this is yes. There was a documentary called The World Before Her. I would like to show you a clip from it. Vishwa Hindu Parishad had organized a Durga Vahini camp for women. The instructor was a woman. She is asking the girls, if is it really necessary for them to leave their houses. Make a career? Is it truly necessary? 

This way of thinking goes against common sense. Why would a woman choose to have unequal rights? But the truth is, many women in our country have these patriarchal ideologies. It is all due to Social Conditioning. In this article, the woman tells how her mother slapped her in her childhood when she saw herself in the mirror. She was told that knowing how to read and write is enough. She doesn’t need higher education. There are many reasons for such patriarchal views all over the world. Like, ‘This is our tradition,’ our culture or our religion teaches us this. In society, people often have strong opinions about how an ideal woman should be. While the husband is the incarnation of God. ABP News had quoted Garud Puran in its article that a good wife is the one who follows her husband’s orders. For a wife, heaven is at her husband’s feet. For any woman, her family’s happiness is her happiness. A woman is incomplete without becoming a mother. You must have often heard people around you saying these things. A woman is made up of her sacrifices. If there are 4 slices of cake left and there are 5 people, then a woman would always say that she doesn’t like cake and ask the others to go ahead. What else is commonly said? If a girl studies more, she will get out of hand. It doesn’t look good for girls to laugh loudly. 

Credits: Dhruv Rathee

A girl should be homely and well-behaved. Such things are very common in our society. And the mass media encourages these. These so-called ideal daughter-in-law characters in Ekta Kapoor’s TV serials. Always portrays regressive thinking about women. Or read Sandeep Vanga’s films like Animal or Kabir Singh. These affect our society many girls want to fit into this ‘ideal woman’ standard and start accepting these views. They do this so that they get accepted by society and their family. In psychology, this phenomenon is known as Normative Conformity. In school, when teenagers often become victims of peer pressure, it’s because of this phenomenon. An example of this on a smaller scale can be if you are sitting in a group and someone is making a joke. Everyone starts laughing at that joke. But you don’t find that joke funny. You don’t want to laugh at the joke. But you choose to laugh so that you can be a part of that group. So that you can conform to the standards of the group. Normative conformity. Many women adopt these patriarchal ideas to gain acceptance in society. 

This is why throughout history, we have seen many women who were protesting against women’s equal rights. In the article on Napoleon, I told you that the left-wing revolutionaries of France at that time were against women’s rights too. They implemented the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen but women were not given rights. A Jacobin politician, Chaumette, had said that men have been given duties by nature to hunt, to farm, to become politicians, but women have been given duties to take care of the house and motherhood. He called it ‘shameless’ for women to be demanding political rights for themselves. “Do they want to be a man?” Many women agreed with this opinion at that time. Even 100 years later, in London in 1908, there was a woman who formed the Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League. Her name was Mary and she told people not to address her by her name, but rather, to address her by her husband’s name. Her husband’s name was Humphrey Ward. So she called herself Mrs. Humphrey Ward. She was not an illiterate woman. She was a best-selling novelist. She was internationally famous. She had promoted women’s education in Oxford. But she was staunchly against giving women voting rights. She believed that only men can solve constitutional, legal, financial, military, and international problems. And then, 70 years later, in 1972, which is only 50 years ago, America was about to pass the Equal Rights Amendment to give equal rights to women and men. But there was a woman who opposed it. An American lawyer, Phyllis Schlafly. She mobilized more women to protest against this law. Even now, where many women have made history in different fields, women like Kalpana Chawla have done space exploration. Women are becoming scientists and mathematicians, but some women still hold on to patriarchal thinking. 

Some women say that feminism is useless. How can men and women be equal? They argue that men and women have different anatomies. Men can’t give birth to children. So how can they be equal? “Feminism is baseless, claiming women are equal to men, there is no need to believe such stuff. That’s my opinion. We are not equal. Only the day men start getting pregnant, will we be equal. We cannot be equal.” These arguments are very illogical. It is true that in male and female anatomy 2-3 organs may differ. But there are at least 70-75 organs that are the same in male and female anatomies. Two eyes, one nose, two ears, it’s the same for men and women. Their gender is indeed different, but it’s not like women belong to a different species. Both are homo sapiens. In English, two words are used here, similar and equal. To get equal rights, you don’t have to be equal, being similar is good enough. “Nature creates diversity, but it doesn’t create discrimination. It creates differences, but it doesn’t create discrimination. Nature creates diversity, but not hierarchy, not inequality. 

The diversity created by nature is transformed into discrimination and inequality by society.” Women give birth to children, so they get maternity leave. But when women work in the office, they should be paid equally to men. How is there any sort of confusion in this? Yes, men and women are not similar to one another. But a black man and a white man are not similar to one another. A man who can walk on his two legs and a man who is sitting in a wheelchair is not similar to each other. There is a difference between a smart man and a stupid man. But equal rights are given to everyone. Because of these differences, it is not said that certain kinds of men should not get equal rights. In every human being, there are small differences in comparison to other people. But this does not mean that those who can walk on two legs should be given voting rights and those who need a wheelchair should not be. These differences cannot be the reason for not giving equal rights. So, we come back to the same point. The feminist struggle is not a men versus women scenario, rather it is about patriarchal people versus feminist people. This is not just a fight for equal rights for women, but also a fight for the rights of men. 

You heard it right, Men’s Rights. Patriarchy is the reason behind many men’s issues. It may sound confusing, but let me explain it with an example. If I tell you, friends, ‘unemployed youth,’ imagine a picture of a jobless person in your mind. What picture did you imagine? You must have imagined a jobless man. You must have imagined a jobless boy. Not a girl. This is because, in our society, we often see that if a girl is jobless, she can still get married. She can become a housewife. But if a boy is jobless, that becomes very problematic. The pressure of not being unemployed is much higher for men than for women. The patriarchal ideology says that women will work at home and men will have to earn money. And if a woman is working and earning, then the man will have to earn more than her. Otherwise, what will people say? People will accuse him of living off of his girlfriend. 

They will criticize him as a man. For being a man who lives off of a woman’s money. That he should be ashamed. Taunting him about his wife who earns more than him. And as I told you earlier, many women and girls are victims of this patriarchal mindset. Even they say that they want a husband who earns more than them. They will refuse an arranged marriage if the boy does not earn more than them. And this same patriarchal mindset is also present in men’s height. Tall women like tall men. But short women also like tall men. If by chance, the wife’s height is more than her husband’s height, then people criticise the man for being shorter than his wife. They make fun of the couple. They laugh at the man. All because of the same backward patriarchal thinking. If you are a man, suppose you are in your car with your wife or girlfriend, and a car comes and hits your car. Even though it’s his fault, he gets out of his car and starts shouting at you. So what would you do in such a situation? 

Most people will get out of their car and start shouting at the other person. But Gautam Buddha said, “He gave me abuses, I didn’t take them. So the abuses remained with him.” If you choose to ignore the negativity someone throws at you, the negativity will remain with them. Such thinking makes sense only to a sensible man. But what does patriarchal thinking say? “If someone insulted you in front of your wife and you just left after hearing it, what kind of a man are you? You should have broken his face. You are a coward, what will your wife think about you?” And because of this patriarchal mindset, society forces that man to engage with the one insulting him and fight with them. Will fighting solve the problem? Not at all. Imagine that the other driver is like Ranvijay from the film Animal

A rich man who doesn’t care about the law carries a revolver or a baseball bat with him. What will you do then? Even in frustration, you’ll turn around and apologize to him. Your male ego will be hurt. People will still make fun of you. As a man who was beaten up. Just for apologising. Many research papers prove that men are more likely to get into fights than women. In 2022, the State of UK Boys report was released which showed how violence is normalized and it is believed that when a boy grows up, violence is a natural part of growing up. But the problem isn’t limited to the violence, but also of men’s loneliness. Now you must be wondering, how is this possible? How is men’s loneliness related to feminism and patriarchy? But there is a strong relationship, friends. The patriarchal mindset does not allow a man to cry. If a man cries, society mocks him for being a man who cries. There’s the saying, ‘Boys don’t cry.’ Forget about crying, patriarchal thinking does not let men express any negative emotion. If a boy talks to his male friends about his problems and stress, he is considered emotionally weak. He is told that he is getting emotional like girls. In our society, what are the activities to express male friendships? Boys like to read movies with their male friends, play cricket or party with each other. But women’s friendships are more intimate and emotional. Girls talk more openly with their friends and express their problems. But if a boy does this, society will not accept him. 

This is the reason why, men’s loneliness becomes a separate issue. When a boy feels depressed, he is forced to hide his depression. Openly expressing any kind of grief or any kind of emotional problem is not considered acceptable in society. “So much emotional castration, friends, that he is deprived of emotional intelligence.” And what does this result in? If you look at global data for people dying by suicide, then the rate among men is much higher than that of women. Even in India, according to the government’s NCRB data, the rate of suicide among men is 2.5 times higher than that of women. What is the reason behind these problems? Patriarchal thinking and patriarchy. 

That’s why when feminists say ‘Smash the Patriarchy,’ it doesn’t mean that they are against men. Patriarchy is a way of thinking that is destroying the lives of both men and women. When we talk about feminism in India, Kamla Bhasin’s name comes up a lot. 7 years ago, she gave this TEDx talk in which she explained how patriarchy dehumanizes men. “You are not allowed to cry. Your mother passed away. But boys are not allowed to cry. Emotional castration.” If you want to read this entire TEDx talk, I have put the link in the description below. Click on it to read it. Apart from this, these issues have been raised often internationally. Like Cassie Jaye’s famous TEDx talk which has more than 10 million views. A Feminist Talking About Men’s Rights “There is no denying that there are many human rights issues that uniquely or disproportionately affect men.” Angelica Ferrara from Stanford University wrote the book Men Without Men. This book explains how men’s loneliness is a feminist issue. Taking a look at history, we should consider Raja Ram Mohan Roy a feminist because he campaigned against Sati. And Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar who promoted widow remarriage. Our social reformers were not against men but wanted to give equal rights to women. And if we talk about Indian feminists, how can we forget Savitribai Phule? 

India’s one of the greatest feminists. She established the first girls’ school with her friend Fatima Sheikh. She had to bear so much anger from society that people used to throw cow dung at them. She used to take a spare saree with her to school. Was Savitribai Phule against men? Not. It was her husband Jyotirao Phule who taught her. If you want to know more about Savitribai Phule, then this is a great audiobook on KUKU FM. KUKU FM is a great audio-learning platform where you can listen to audiobooks on many topics. Whether it is history, geography, politics, or fiction. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, you will get a special 50% discount in the description below when you download KUKU FM. If we talk about history, feminism is divided into three waves. The first wave of feminism came in the 1800s and early 1900s. This was the time when women demanded to have political rights. Right to vote. Before this, women did not have the right to vote. In the French Revolution, a political activist, Olympe de Gouges, drafted a document, the Declaration of the Rights of Women and of the Female Citizen. She is considered one of the first feminists in the world. 

The second wave of feminism came around the 1960s. This focused on the issue of ending gender discrimination in their households. During this time, a slogan was raised by the famous feminist Carol Hanisch, The Personal is Political. Many legal and social rights were given to women. After this, came the third wave of feminism, which started in the 1990s. This focused on the issues of intersectional feminism. That is, feminism is not only for upper-class white women, rather poor and black women should get the same rights. But do you know what the problem is? The boys who present themselves as alpha males on social media, will not talk about any of these issues while talking about feminism. 

They will make fun of feminism by using these films. Wherever you see, these films are compared to feminism. As if feminism means nothing else, but these films. When I wrote an article on the film Animal, some people asked why critics always criticize films like Animal and Kabir Singh. Why aren’t such films criticized? But if you look at the critics’ reviews of these films, I named two film critics in the Animal article. Anupama Chopra and Sucharita Tyagi. I saw Anupama Chopra’s review of Four More Shorts. She said this for the first two seasons of the show. “I never made it past episode 2 of Season 1 of Four More Shots, Please.” In her review written on her portal Film Companion, she said that this show shows a superficial form of feminism. That it’s a poorly-written TV show. What did Sucharita have to say about Thank You For Coming? This is a largely unreadable film. 

“Thank You For Coming is a film only masquerading as a feminist romp. While mostly being a masculine gaze on how women probably, maybe, live their lives. Though the film pretends to be a feminist romp, it is presented from a masculine gaze. A person who understands feminism properly, for them it is obvious that these films have nothing to do with feminism. Film producers indeed force words like Feminism in more and more films, but what is portrayed in the films, has nothing to do with Feminism. Feminism doesn’t mean that women go out and smoke, drink, or objectify men. This is not feminism. In the real feminist films, there’s no dearth of them in Bollywood. The only difference is that the alpha men on social media don’t relate feminism to those films. Like the film Pink. 

This is a real feminist film. It clearly shows that drinking doesn’t equate to women’s empowerment. But the problem is that when a man drinks alcohol, it affects his liver. But when a woman drinks alcohol, it becomes a character certificate for her. Other than this, there are films like The Great Indian Kitchen, Tumhari Sulu, Queen, English Vinglish, Dor, and Mirch Masala. These people will never talk about such films. Then there are films like Thappad. Many alpha males criticized this film saying that the wife got a divorce just because of a slap, they said that this is not realistic. This can’t be real. And no one should do this. But think about it, if the story was reversed. At a party, a wife slapped her husband in front of everyone. The same people would say that it is grounds for divorce. 

The man should divorce her because of it. Then there is a very popular meme of Neha Dhupia. In an episode of Roadies, when she said that it’s her choice “It’s her choice. -Of course. -Yeah? Nobody gives you the right to slap a girl!” When the boy did something wrong, he was criticized, But in another episode, when the girl did the same thing, Neha justified it and said that it was her choice. Neha was criticized a lot for this and she was mocked. And what she said was very hypocritical. But you know what? Most of the alpha male incels on Instagram, show the same hypocrisy. You must have seen many of these guys showing off that they have girls in Delhi, one in Mumbai, and one in Punjab. And then they use memes like, Boys will be boys, men will be men. But if the girl cheats on them, then they can’t tolerate it. It becomes too much for them to bear. That becomes toxic feminism. But on the other hand, boys will be boys. When boys are in the wrong, boys will be boys. You can see hypocrisy on both sides. And both sides are wrong. But did any feminist ever say that what Neha Dhupia said was right? No one said that. But again and again, feminism is tried to be equated to that statement. It is related to wrong things. 

There was a case in Lucknow where a girl misbehaved with a boy and beat him up repeatedly. It was found that the girl was from a rich family and the boy belonged to a poor family. What happened was entirely wrong. It is not right to beat anyone. But did any feminists show their support for this girl? No one did. But still, what is shown on social media repeatedly is that this is feminism. Why do incels relate feminism to these problematic issues? And never talks about real feminism? The reason is very simple. They don’t want equal rights for men and women. They want to promote the same patriarchal mindset and want to discredit the entire feminist movement. These people spread lies that feminists hate all men. Feminists want women to leave men forever. But the real feminism that I talked about in the first half of this article, will never be discussed. So, friends, I hope this article helped you understand the real meaning of feminism and why Smash Patriarchy is important for boys and men. Because we want to see a world where men and women have equal rights to be free, in terms of equal rights and opportunities. A society where men are not pressured into suppressing their emotions. Now if you want to understand the ideology of equality in detail, how the ideas of liberty and equality were born historically, and how these ideas spread all over the world, I have talked about it in this article, in which I have explained the French Revolution in detail. You can click here to read it. Thank you very much!

Share This Article
By Vikram
"Meet Vikram, the creative mind behind With a passion for blogging that spans over two years, Vikram has established himself as a knowledgeable and insightful writer. Through his articles, Vikram delves into a variety of topics, offering valuable insights and perspectives to his readers. His dedication to producing high-quality content has garnered him recognition and success in the blogging world. Follow Vikram's journey on and discover the wealth of knowledge he has to offer."
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *