An unfortunate thing about oppression, besides the fact that it facilitates the mistreatment of large groups of people, is that it is quite often not very tangible to those who are not directly affected by it. And when people, who are and have been for the most part of history been in a privileged position, remain untouched by oppression, they start denying its existence all together.
In a recent conversation with a close relative of mine, somewhere in between talking about nothing, we started talking about political movements, especially feminism. This relative was of the opinion that feminism has become irrelevant today because women are treated equally everywhere and that the few restrictions that are created are merely due to the biological differences between men and women. This opinion is not alien to my ears, many people who have been brought up in relatively egalitarian conditions believe that movements like Black Lives Matter and Feminism are antiquated and just a “waste of time”.
But what they fail to realise is that just because you don’t face a certain kind of oppression does not mean that it doesn’t exist. Women are still very much maltreated and deprived of basic human rights in many parts of the world. Female infanticide and marital rape are prevalent in many countries. Safe and affordable healthcare to women is still a distant dream in almost all countries, including the US. In senates all across the world, majority of legislations dealing with issues relating to birth control are decided by overwhelmingly male legislatures.
There are still many issues that need to be addressed before we can firmly say that feminism is not required in the world anymore. We must use our position of privilege to speak for those being oppressed instead of blindly denying their oppression.
- The reader is a student based in Dubai