What’s holding women back?

Recently, I have been accused of being jealous of the “success of another woman”. Jealousy is something almost all women and men would have experienced and been accused of, so it’s really not that big of a deal. However, I believe that the rationale behind these specific accusations reflects a very harmful trend that currently prevails, both among men and women in India. Artificial, imagined and imposed standards of success, which form the main basis for these accusations, are also the prime reason that today holds many women back from enjoying the simple, natural pleasures of being a woman, a mother and a human being.

 

Just to give a background, I have a pretty good academic resume, with educational accomplishments in India and broad. I have many natural talents and skills that have come of use to me at different points in time. I have a lot of resilience, which helped me during the toughest times in life. I have received more public and media attention than most people I personally know, and more than I had ever needed or asked for. I also hold the distinction of navigating and freeing myself from the clutches of the criminal justice system in India in record time, without compromising on any ethics. I am also known for my contributions to bigger causes which attempt to make the society a better place for us and the next generation.

 

What makes me most proud though, is the fact that despite all the feminist propaganda I was exposed to when I was younger, and despite all my unfounded doubts and fears, my intelligence served me well (and luck favored me equally) to ensure that I didn’t miss the bus. What gives me the greatest joy and satisfaction is being the wife of a fantastic man and the mother of a sweet child. Yes, “wife” and “mother” and the two titles that make me most proud and happy.

 

Compare this to a  woman who barely has any academic accomplishments to speak of, who settled criminal charges against her for money, whose sense of self-worth is determined by the number of likes on her (selfie) profile picture on social media (which must change at least every fortnight if not more often), who chases pleasure and fame by selling other people’s tears in name of social service, and most importantly who is past 30, single and childless.

 

I know that a lot of people don’t want women to be judged anymore by their marital status and whether or not they have children. However, a lot of men and women now seem to be doing the exact opposite. They are inadvertently caught up with money and fame as universal measures of success, and worthy of envy. They seem to not only chase money and fame (often at the expense of everything and everyone else in life) in order to be considered successful, but they also expect everyone around to care about their imagined “success” just as much as they do. They ignore and deny women who derive the most joy and satisfaction from family.

 

I cannot speak for men, but I am quite certain that this attitude has been holding many women back from living fuller lives. It holds them back from putting family first, from fully experiencing motherhood, and from loving and giving unconditionally. It holds them back from being empathetic to other human beings. It holds them back from upholding important human values and responsibilities. These false measures of success are eroding the self-esteem and dignity of women, and pushing them into living suboptimal lives.

 

I will not pretend that I am immune to jealousy, but there is nothing to be jealous of what I personally consider a suboptimal life. If you show me a woman who had married sooner, has a bunch of children, is spending more time with them, and playing with them more than I am with mine, yes, I will be jealous, and nothing will hold me back from admitting it.

 

 

On “The Red Pill” and the feminist filmmaker who took it

On “The Red Pill” and the feminist filmmaker who took it

– Uma Challa

 

I had heard of “The Red Pill” even while it was being made, and have been aware of all the difficulties Cassie Jaye had to undergo to complete her project. I had been very curious about the film because the filmmaker was a feminist, and she was covering some of the veteran MRAs whom I consider my distant mentors.

 

On Sunday, I got an invite from a fellow MRA to watch “The Red Pill” at his place, and it was hard to resist because I had just published a piece on an Indian documentary, which some people have (wrongly) been calling the counterpart of “The Red Pill”.

 

I watched every frame and every shot, followed every word very carefully, sometimes asking for the film to be rewound a little, when I felt I had missed something. To me, if there was one thing that stood out in the film, it is the honesty of the endeavor, and just for that, I would say the film’s worth a watch.

 

Cassie Jaye traced her long and winding journey, or rather the journey of what MRAs call the red pill, through her system, and one would have to say that she successfully digested it and absorbed it, because at the end of the film, she says that she doesn’t call herself a feminist anymore.

 

While I have heard, read and watched MRAs like Paul Elam, Warren Farrel and Erin Pizzey for over a decade now, watching them speak in this film, and watching some of their memoirs brought back many of my own memories from my early MRA days. The circular arguments by many feminists provided an excellent contrast to the articulate presentation of facts by these veteran MRAs. In my opinion, “The Red Pill” should be on the essential “watching list” for every new MRA.

 

The range of men’s issues exposed in the film is impressive, and Cassie Jaye’s dedication to clearly understand every issue is commendable. Her in-depth research, her flowcharts, her video diaries, her candid questions and honest admissions are endearing to me as an MRA, and are bound to provoke thought among non-MRAs who watch the film.

 

I wish that Cassie Jaye’s film is watched by more and more people across the globe. It will not only be the appropriate reward for her work as a filmmaker, but also a great way to spread the information and messages that MRAs have been trying to communicate, to provoke thought and inspire action to end misandry around the world.

 

My congratulations to Cassie Jaye for a film so well-made!

The Red Pill poster

Breaking the silence against imposed “martyrdom”

During the last few months, there has been a wave of praise in the mainstream and social media for an Indian documentary film on IPC section 498A entitled “Martyrs of Marriage”. The filmmaker, Deepika Bhardwaj, has been extolled not only for technical excellence in filmmaking, but has also been elevated as the messiah for men. Recently, there has also been an expected, well-justified and visible pushback from the men’s movement in India, because the movie is anachronistic, it promotes a feminist lie, misrepresents men’s rights activists (MRAs) and undermines the men’s rights movement (MRM), which provided much support, information and content for the film.

 

The perspective of the men’s movement and the reasons for the pushback require a close look at the history, significance and purpose of the men’s movement, and the factual narrative that Indian MRAs have fought to establish over the last 10-13 years. It would involve learning, in depth, about why IPC 498A is a malicious law and not a law made to save lives as claimed by the film. People who are not interested in this academic exercise are bound to look to the documentary film as an authentic source of information, representative of MRAs and the entire length, breadth and depth of the MRM.

 

I would urge everyone to make the effort to know more about the MRM, MRAs and why they would vehemently oppose the only film which claims to give them a voice and show their side of the story; and why MRAs would oppose a filmmaker, who is sympathetic towards a men’s issue, becoming the face of the MRM and the “voice of men”.

 

To this end, I will direct the attention of the readers towards certain crucial but invisible aspects that do not require you to have any background in the MRM, but just require basic human intelligence to understand.

 

Every person who is arrested and imprisoned based on a false complaint goes through a phase where they are dying to scream out to the world that they are not criminals. They are stigmatized in the society, they are vilified by the media, and pushed into a corner so much so that the only thought that dominates the person’s existence is the need to NOT be identified as a criminal. There are many who experience the need to be identified as victims, and they want their personal narrative to be heard by someone, especially by those who hold the power to influence the social and political narrative, such as journalists, filmmakers, celebrities and politicians.

 

However, victimhood is an affliction suffered by but a fraction of individuals who are implicated in false cases. Unfortunately though, individuals and entities that control the narrative do not understand that a need to “not be identified as criminal” does not automatically translate into a “need to be identified as a victim”. As a result, even sympathetic journalists and filmmakers impose victimhood and martyrdom on everyone because victimhood sells, and is seen as the only way to bring attention to problems.  

 

This kind of victimhood is a state of mind, and it does not have anything to do with what life throws at us, false cases included. MRAs who have counseled hundreds of affected men observe that “men carrying victimhood for long periods of time works like an addiction which eventually destroys them. MRAs also feel that fostering or nurturing perpetual victimhood in victimized people is a feminist recipe and does not bode well for any society”. Over the last 10 years, MRAs have worked very hard to exctricate men from this sense of victimhood, to empower them to stand up for themselves, and to take responsibility for changing not just malevolent laws like 498a, but the overall social mindset which sees males as disposable.

legal terrorism

When a person does not wallow in victimhood, it is assumed that they are either culpable or that they do not experience any pain. It takes much time and struggle to gather the voice to deny criminality, to maintain the resolve, and fight to the finish to establish one’s innocence in the courts of law. Every person who has walked out of the court after hearing the words “acquitted” knows the feeling of taking a full breath of air, walking with their head held high, with the kind of satisfaction and joy that the heart does not seem enough to hold.

 

Everyday, the mainstream media keeps declaring innocent people as criminals without trial for the sake of political correctness and ratings. To those who have experienced it, acquittal means restoring one’s honor and dignity, even though one may have lost many years, dear ones, life’s savings and all the things one has given one’s life to. It is such a profoundly liberating experience, that the voice, which for many years, wanted to scream “I am not a criminal”, now wants to scream “I won” until the sound of vindication reverberates all over. MRAs have always fought, worked hard to empower and encourage others to fight, to demonstrate that we are real people and not mere numbers or data points in the National Crime Records Bureau. However, the voice of the acquitted is never heard because the mainstream media chooses to be deliberately silent about them.

acquitted cropped

As a fellow MRA rightly pointed out to me, given the status quo, “a journalist independently gaining the trust of people who have been victimized by 498A is difficult, and to make them to open up to any publicity via documentaries is even more difficult”. When a journalist comes along, claiming to want to make a film or write about us, members of the movement are always inclined to project individuals who have won their cases to narrate their stories. This is because a person who is still fighting a trial always fears a backlash from his opposition, the police or the court of law. He or she does not want to take the risk of being disbelieved or ridiculed by others because an individual’s story is not considered credible unless their cases have ended in acquittal.  

 

Therefore, when the documentary filmmaker in question approached the Indian MRM for interviews of affected individuals, she was also directed to meet individuals who had been acquitted some years ago. Revisiting profound personal tragedies, many years after the fact and years after acquittal is an ordeal in itself, and not something anybody would want to do. However, MRAs, who chose to take one for the team, reluctantly opened up to the filmmaker who promised to highlight these stories as those of hope and triumph to inspire others to fight. MRAs unravelled personal details to demonstrate that they are normal people, just as vulnerable as anyone else, and traced their own journey to victory, in parallel with their activism in the MRM to inspire everyone to be “that second mouse”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51lFmdChOA0

 

When these detailed accounts of gallant fight are edited, placed out of context and shown as stories of plight, and the filmmaker uses her film and her public image to promote victimhood, to become the face of MRM and the “voice of men” by lie of omission, one is bound to feel violated. The filmmaker silencing MRAs, by playing the victim card against them is an additional violation that needs to be overcome. Under such circumstances, it takes much time, effort and thought to gather the voice to say “I am not a victim”, and to initiate a meaningful conversation around the important issues concerning MRAs and the MRM. The struggle to deny this imposed martyrdom is just as emotionally excruciating as the one to deny imposed criminality.

 

It is important to recognize that there is little difference between journalists painting us as criminals for TRPs and filmmakers misrepresenting MRAs as victims just to make the cut in their career.

 

In this context, it is also important to look at how different individuals who approach the movement identify themselves in very different ways. Many individuals approach the movement for help, but always remain aloof as individuals, see themselves as unique in their hardships, feel entitled to support and help, look for a quick fix and an easy exit. They are the victims looking for a messiah, preferably in female form. In their myopic view, anybody, even a filmmaker, who can offer them a temporary vicarious experience and fleeting hope for change, is a savior. These victims would be willing to let a whole movement and the collective hard work of all the MRAs who dedicated their lives to it, be sacrificed on the altar of their personal desire for quick relief and freedom. Longtime MRAs are usually glad to take one for the team, but everyone must realize that exploitation of personal tragedies, for any reason, is an insult to the dear ones whose honor we fight and win for. It is an insult to the MRM, which gave us life and that we gave our lives to.  

 

While the film, which boasts of highlighting human struggle, ironically, undermines the same, there are some who have been foolish enough to believe and say that MRAs are jealous of a filmmaker’s success. MRAs have much to be proud of because they stand up and fight to restore their own honor and that of their families, and also empower others to fight. With no offense intended, it must be said that there is little to be “jealous” about a victim-turned-filmmaker, who has neither experienced nor understood what fighting means, and promotes victimhood among men.

 

Some MRAs have been demonized for saying that the filmmaker did not duly acknowledge the MRM and MRAs for their earnest contribution to the film, and for stating that the filmmaker is undermining the movement through calculated silence. While I leave it to experts to comment on the technical excellence of the film, I propose a thought experiment and ask the reader to imagine what the filmmaker’s reaction would have been, had someone taken all the credit for her hard work, through lies of omission. MRAs have been maintaining a dignified silence about this issue for several months, but when a filmmaker takes advantage of her popularity to undermine a long-standing movement, and becomes the “voice of men” by lies of omission, silence is no longer an option.

 

International Men’s Day – 2016

Captions: Uma Challa

Click HERE for more posters!

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The birth of TEN-India marks the end of gender war

True Equity Network (TEN) India, the youth wing of All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA) was inaugurated on 1 Feb 2010 in Hyderabad, India.

On behalf of AIFWA, I welcomed the guests and reiterated the reasons for starting TEN-India, the principles on which TEN-India is based, and our “TEN Commandments” for promoting harmony between men and women.

I introduced Swetha and Jagadish, our two young volunteers who recently graduated from college, and have worked with me with amazing enthusiasm and energy to lay the foundation for TEN-India.

I then invited Swetha, on behalf of ALL the women in the world to present a peace offering, a “dove carrying an olive branch and the TEN logo”, to Jagadish, who received it on behalf of ALL the men in the world. This was our symbolic gesture to mark the END of the gender war started by the feminists many decades ago.

(See picture at https://sites.google.com/site/tenindiaclub/home/photos-launch-of-ten-india/IMG_0591.JPG?attredirects=0)

Swetha and Jagadish also inaugurated the TEN flyers. These flyers will be distributed across all colleges in Hyderabad until 8 March 2010, the International Women’s Day. Beginning Women’s Day we will spread our campaign to all parts of the country.

(See picture at https://sites.google.com/site/tenindiaclub/home/photos-launch-of-ten-india/IMG_0593.JPG?attredirects=0)

Swetha gave a wonderful inaugural speech which I am reproducing below:

When you ask anyone, especially women, as to what women’s empowerment means, the first thing that comes to their minds is financial independence and freedom.

In my recent conversation with a close friend, I happened to mention that I did not want to pursue a career and that I wanted to be a homemaker. She was quick to ask me as to why I wanted to continue studying instead of just getting married? She quipped that I did not belong to 21st century because I was planning to become another “vanTinTi kundElu”.

Really? Why are women today made to feel that slaving overtime for a corporate establishment is empowerment, but caring for one’s family and looking after our dear ones is slavery? I do understand that in certain families, both men and women have to work to make ends meet. But what of women like me, who have the luxury of making the choice to stay home?

Are all working women empowered and happy? Are all women who chose to stay home powerless and unhappy? Isn’t true empowerment all about the freedom to make one’s own choice?

Women from all walks of life are empowered when they are able to make their own choices in their life. But unfortunately, today our thoughts are more influenced by others and what they think about our choice?

The other sad reality of today is that women are feeling pressured to do ALL the things that men do for a living and a career in order to feel empowered.

Why is that? Are women in any way inferior to men?

Why do we always want to compare ourselves to men when we know that we are different from men, with different strengths and capabilities? Why are women feeling pressured to enter ALL fields which are supposedly “dominated” by men and then asking for preferential treatment and concessions?

Late Smt. Sarojini Naidu once said, “The demand for granting preferential treatment to women is an admission on her part of her inferiority”.

I think it is only fair that women are given opportunities to enter all fields. We do need the opportunity to prove our worth, but does that mean we need to be pampered? Today, when women are given so many opportunities why do we want preferential treatment or lowered standards of performance compared to men?

Isn’t empowerment all about self-actualization and the full realization of one’s potential?

TEN-India is a great initiative whose main objective is to free the minds of women from wrong notions of freedom, independence and empowerment.

The event received good media coverage, with a few local TV channels airing news clippings and 5 regional language newspapers carrying excellent news articles.

The following is the URL for the website of TEN-India, which contains our contact information and also contains a link to join our yahoogroup.

https://sites.google.com/site/tenindiaclub/

Please encourage youth to join TEN-India, a movement for true empowerment and gender harmony.

Regards

Uma Challa

President

All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA)

TEN-India, the youth wing of All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA) was inaugurated on 1 Feb 2010 in Hyderabad, India.

On behalf of AIFWA, I welcomed the guests and reiterated the reasons for starting TEN-India, the principles on which TEN-India is based, and our “TEN Commandments” for promoting harmony between men and women.

I introduced Swetha and Jagadish, our two young volunteers who recently graduated from college, and have worked with me with amazing enthusiasm and energy to lay the foundation for TEN-India.

I then invited Swetha, on behalf of ALL the women in the world to present a peace offering, a “dove carrying an olive branch and the TEN logo”, to Jagadish, who received it on behalf of ALL the men in the world. This was our symbolic gesture to mark the END of gender war started by feminists many decades ago.

https://sites.google.com/site/tenindiaclub/_/rsrc/1265025461247/home/photos-launch-of-ten-india/IMG_0591.JPG?height=300&width=400

Press Release – True Equity Network (TEN) – India

Sub: Launching True Equity Network (TEN) – India, the youth wing of All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA).

AIFWA is a not-for-profit organization campaigning against the misuse of protections and privileges granted to women.

AIFWA stands for true gender equality, and demands that civil and criminal laws be made equally applicable to men and women.

AIFWA is pleased to announce, to the media and the public, the launch of its youth wing, the True Equity Network (TEN) – India on Monday, 01.02.2010.

Why TEN – India?

Proponents of the women’s cause routinely attribute traits of low esteem, self pity, vagrancy, vulnerability and helplessness to women and girls.

Champions of the women’s cause have pushed, arm-twisted and bullied the Government into passing many anti-male, anti-family provisions and policies in the name of women’s rights and empowerment.

Women’s rights activists have convinced the society that in order to compensate for all the real or perceived disadvantages and sufferings endured by women in the past, present day women should be accorded special treatment in all areas of life, even if it is at the expense of the human rights and welfare of their male counterparts.

Thoughtless emphasis on pampering women has not only been hurting men and children, but it is also doing much harm to women themselves, and preventing them from appreciating all the joys of womanhood, motherhood, family life, and harmonious coexistence with men.

AIFWA endeavours to:

  • enable young women to discover the beauty of womanhood and the true meaning of empowerment.
  • inculcate self-esteem among young women and encourage them to appreciate true gender equality.
  • help young women understand “Equal Means Equal”.
  • urge young women to reject preferential treatment over men in all areas of life.
  • encourage young women to make use of their strengths and excel in their chosen fields of study or vocation.
  • promote among young women, a healthy attitude towards themselves as well as towards men.
  • promote balanced, self-respecting, hard working women as positive female role models.

TEN-India is based on the following principles:

  • Equal does not mean same; Men and women are different but are equally entitled to constitutional rights and human rights.
  • Equality of opportunity does not mean equality of outcome; Men and women must maintain their self-esteem and earn respect and reward by proving their true individual worth.
  • Equality under law is essential irrespective of gender; Men and women should be given equal protection from and equal punishment for any crime.
  • Equal rights beget equal responsibilities; Men and women must not only enjoy equal rights but they must also shoulder equal responsibilities.

We would like to promote gender harmony through following The “TEN” Commandments:

  1. Doing injustice to men is not equal to Doing justice to women.
  2. Oppressing men is not equal to Uplifting women.
  3. Harming men is not equal to Protecting women.
  4. Disempowering men is not equal to Empowering women.
  5. Denying opportunities to men is not equal to Providing opportunities for women.
  6. Penalizing men is not equal to Rewarding women.
  7. Degrading men is not equal to Honouring women.
  8. Undermining men’s lives is not equal to Valuing women’s lives.
  9. Neglecting men’s welfare is not equal to Promoting women’s welfare.
  10. Violating men’s rights is not equal to Upholding women’s rights.

On the occasion of the launch of TEN-India, we are inaugurating a flyer campaign which will continue until 8th March, International Women’s Day.

We will spread our message to as many young women as possible in Hyderabad, and encourage them to become members of TEN-India. We will expand our “movement for real empowerment” to the rest of India in the coming years.

*************************************

“To be a feminist is to acknowledge that one’s life has been regressed. The demand for granting preferential treatment to women is an admission on her part of her inferiority and there has been no need for such a thing in India as the women have always been by the side of men in Council and in the fields of battle…. We must have no mutual conflict in our homes or abroad. We must transcend differences. We must rise above nationalism, above religion, above sex.”

Sarojini Naidu

(at the Fourth session of All India Women’s Conference, Bombay, 1930)



TEN – India INVITATION

https://sites.google.com/site/tenindiaclub/ten-india-invitation

INVITATION

INAUGURAL FUNCTION AND PRESS CONFERENCE

LAUNCH OF

“TRUE EQUITY NETWORK (TEN) – INDIA”

On 01.02.2010 at 11:00 a.m.

Venue: Sundarayya Vignyana Kendram (Mini Hall), Baglingampally

“True Equity Network (TEN) – India” is the youth wing of

All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA).

Through TEN- India, AIFWA endeavours to:

  • enable young women to discover the beauty of womanhood and the true meaning of empowerment.
  • inculcate self-esteem among young women and encourage them to appreciate true gender equality.
  • help young women understand “Equal Means Equal”.
  • urge young women to reject preferential treatment over men in all areas of life.
  • encourage young women to make use of their own strengths and excel in their chosen fields of study or vocation.
  • promote among young women, a healthy attitude towards themselves as well as towards men.
  • promote balanced, self-respecting, hard working women as positive female role models.

Please join us and make our event a success!

TEN-India Invitation

TEN-India Invitation

True Equity Network – India (Being launched on 01.02.2010)

“To be a feminist is to acknowledge that one’s life has been regressed. The demand for granting preferential treatment to women is an admission on her part of her inferiority and there has been no need for such a thing in India as the women have always been by the side of men in Council and in the fields of battle…. We must have no mutual conflict in our homes or abroad. We must transcend differences. We must rise above nationalism, above religion, above sex.”

–       Sarojini Naidu

(at the Fourth session of All India Women’s Conference, Bombay, 1930)

  • Equal does not mean same; Men and women are different but are equally entitled to constitutional rights and human rights.
  • Equality of opportunity does not mean equality of outcome; Men and women must maintain their self-esteem and earn respect and reward by proving their true individual worth.
  • Equality under law is essential irrespective of gender; Men and women should be given equal protection from and equal punishment for any crime.
  • Equal rights beget equal responsibilities; Men and women must not only enjoy equal rights but they must also shoulder equal responsibilities.

The “TEN” Commandments:

  1. Doing injustice to men is not equal to Doing justice to women.
  2. Oppressing men is not equal to Uplifting women.
  3. Harming men is not equal to Protecting women.
  4. Disempowering men is not equal to Empowering women.
  5. Denying opportunities to men is not equal to Providing opportunities for women.
  6. Penalizing men is not equal to Rewarding women.
  7. Degrading men is not equal to Honouring women.
  8. Undermining men’s lives is not equal to Valuing women’s lives.
  9. Neglecting men’s welfare is not equal to Promoting women’s welfare.
  10. Violating men’s rights is not equal to Upholding women’s rights.

ON WOMEN’S DAY, 8 MARCH 2010

JOIN THE MOVEMENT FOR REAL EMPOWERMENT!

Join “TEN-India” if you believe in equity and justice irrespective of gender!

Join “TEN-India” to oppose gender war!

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TEN-India is the youth wing of All India Forgotten Women’s Association (AIFWA)

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Click on the image below for printable version: