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Conceptualization Of Feminism And Its Relevancy With The Law


Introduction and conceptualization

The word "FEMINISM" came from Latin word fēminīnus which means the promotion of women's privileges on the ground of the fairness of the genders. The concept of feminism came into the play, when M/s Sojourner spoke about the women's rights & liberty in Akron, Ohio; where she demonstrated that women equally capable of doing things like men. If we go back to stone age, men used to do the outside work while women used to work of house.

They used to do their individual work happily, so there was no issues. But as the time progressed, the concept of society, border and country came into play. Now to protect the society , the state required army , soldiers and ministers, so men power was needed as at that time women were preferred to be in home. Now to protect the state, war was natural thing in which thousands of man dies.

State required armies in big no.s for war so to make that happen kings, minister, even soldiers used to have 2-5 wives so that they can give birth to ones who can fight for them in future in war for state which also gave rise to polygamy. Women were used to considered to be as 'factory of babies'. In 20th century , an American tobacco company was having loss in the sale of their cigarette so to increase their sale they used the concept of "feminism". They told " cigarette is symbol of power and male dominance; women should use cigarette to break the dominance of man".

Later it was seen in the new York eastern parade that women are smoking cigarette and in the media it was also portrayed that some girls are holding the freedom of torch (cigarette). During world war 2 ,army was needed in a huge no.s ; the participating countries offered trips and many things to all the people who will participate in the war. So there was deficiency in the no.s of man labourers in factories. There again comes the concept of "feminism". Factory owners used the concept of feminism to increase their work production. They told " women are not less than man, they should work , they aren't born to stay in kitchen". Again the concept of feminism is used to boost up the economy of country (if work production increases , it will help in increasing in the economy of country).

Now in this modern era the concept of feminism has been played very smartly. It works in supporting women .It only ensures on the rights of women and their privilidges .But from here the problem starts.The actual meaning of feminism is ensuring public ,social & personal equal rights to all genders irrespective of cast, creed ,religion which is can be called equalism referring to Article 14 of constitutionof india which ensures no gender discrimination.

There has been lot of misconception about feminism. Misconceptions are mainly caused due to misrepresentation & stereotypes. In an advertisement of feminism lead by famous actress Deepika Padukone,she told many things in a perspective of independent women. She justified the freedom & independency of women by saying " I can have sex outside marriage #mychoice".In film "jab Tak hai jaan" starring srk,k.kaif.A.sharma; K.Kaif 's character was portrayed as modern independent women and a feminist where she told " I want to have sex with men of every nationality"

This dialogue was justified by many feminist as symbol of freedom of women ; now here the problem lies. If any men says " I want to have sex or want to sleep with women of every nationality , he will called pervert,sex maniac, nympho. There is a misconception about feminism is that gender stereotype like if feminist is middle aged women she will wear half blouse, wisky glass in hand ; if feminist is young girl , she would have lots of tattoos in her body , wearing short dresses; &if feminist is man ,he will wear pink dress ,with a touch of lipstick in lips drinking only breezer.

Actually Feminism has nothing to o with dress code, neither with gender. Its completely gender neutral which many people doesn't get. True feminist are those who works in upliftment of women like Javed Aktar, Swara Bhaskar, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Vidya Sagar.

They are the actual brand ambassadors of concept of feminism who worked for quality of both genders. According to survey of UN, women's economic equality contributes in the country's GDP. The concept of feminism is also related to law i.e, 498A which ensures the security of married women from their husband and husband's relative.

But it prove to be fatal for many husbands as many women has used this provision to bring their husbands and relatives behind bar & which is one of the major reason for the suicidal attempts of husbands.once SC told " 498A can be used for legal terrorism". So it becomes very important to understand the concept of feminism.It becomes very important for true feminist have a talk or conversion with confused ones. Feminism actually means having the choice of being anything without discrimination. It also having independency without being dependent on others. We as responsible citizen need to understand this basic things very clearly then only we can take the nation in the right direction.

Relevancy of feminism with law

"Feminism" and "law" are two terms which are very similar to us. Both of them plays a vital role in our life. But most important fact is that they are inter-related. Both works on ensuring equality in a social, political, economic, status among the genders. Lets first understand what they actually mean.. The "feminism" can deined as the choice of being anything without discrimination.

Now if we define "law" in simple terms, we can say it's a body of rules of action or a conduct which is prescribed by controlling authority, having a binding legal force. The main purpose of law is to maintain law & order, resolving dispute and protecting rights and liberties. It may come into a surprise that concept of law has come from jurisprudence which came from Latin word " jurisprudential" which means 'knowledge of law' or ' skill in law'. Jurisprudence is actually the theoretical study of law . In earlier days law didn't exist ; people used to work or judge with sense of moral values and ethics also is a source of law. According to great juris ,Salmond Philosophical legal theory is the common ground of Law and ethics.

Feminism and jurisprudence (source of law) has worked together in a same concept which is known as equalism referring to section 14 of Indian constitution. There are numerous theories in the jurisprudence among which one is " feminist jurisprudence". Feminist jurisprudence is a philosophy of law based on political, social equality of sexes. Its based on the belief that law has been fundamental in women's historical subordination. Feminist jurisprudence or feminist legal theory is twofold.

First, Feminist jurisprudence seeks to explain ways in which law played a role in women's subordinate status . second, feminist legal theory is dedicated to changing women status through a rework of law and its approach to gender. Feminist jurisprudence is a fight against traditional law which are mostly patriarchal in nature. It challenges the existing legal status by focussing on kind of institution and laws which are necessary to redress the imbalance against women in society. Feminist jurisprudence holds many debates on sexual & domestic violence, inequality in workplace , & gender based discrimination.

Through various approaches feminist have identified gendered components and gendered implications of seemingly neutral laws and practices .Laws affecting employment ,divorce , reproductive rights , rape, domestic violence , sexual harassment have all benefited from analysis and insight of feminist jurisprudence .Many feminist believed that history was written from a male point of view and doesn't reflect on women's role in making history and structuring society .Although feminist jurisprudence share common commitments to equality between men and women , feminist jurisprudence or feminist legal theory is not uniform.

Unlike the western world, the feminism in India was actually initiated by the men .The abolition of sati by Raja Ram Mohan Roy & William Bentick ,widow remarriage by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was first step towards feminism. Post independence of India, although our constitution spoke about equality but still it wasn't not into the act of people but with the increasing globalization and rise of  " personal rights "feminism took a new shape. In the India's National freedom movement , the leaders like Sarojini Naidu, Begum Rokeya ,Captain Lakshmi Sahgal, Kittur Chennamma, Manikarnika, Kamini Roy, Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi Played a vital role in the rise of feminism .

Many feminist writers criticized the theory of Austin, Hart, Kelsen. Writers like Carole Pateman, Catherine MacKinon, Carol Gilligan, Margot Stubbs challenged the theories of Austin, Hart, Kelsen. Issues like child marriage, not educating the girl child, unequal payment of women with respect to equal duration of work and designation has lead to need of feminist movement or feminism.

Acts such as:
  • Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956;
  • The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, (Act No. 28 of 1961);
  • Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986;
  • Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987;
  • Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005;
  • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013;
  • The Women's Reservation Bill or
  • The Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, 2008

Are the best results of feminism. Cases such as:
  • Kerry Ellison v Nicholas F. Brady, 924 F.2d 872 (9th Cir. 1991);
  • General Elec. Co. v. Gilbert, 429 U.S. 125 (1976);
  • McCourtney v. Imprimis Tech., Inc. - 465 N.W.2d 721 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991)
Has also contributed in rise of feminist movement and maintaining law & order and maintaining equality among genders. So we can say law did play vital role in rise of feminism .

Conclusive remarks
Lastly I want to say that this article not only to discuss about the role of law in the rise of feminism but also to celebrate the milestones achieved by a change in law due to feminist jurisprudence &radical change in mind-set of people due to feminism.

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