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I am a feminist Man :)

I have always believed in the voice of equality and how equal values should be practiced among different sex, regardless of any prejudices. Our societies are precondition under the impression of what, who and how should sex behave which majorly works in giving us those patriarchy values.  With the limitation and expectation, I always believed in feminism but there was a certain resistance that pulled me back in understanding or interpreting feminism and feminist values.

For me personally I defined
"Feminism as the belief that all people are entitled to the same civil rights and liberties and can be intellectual equals regardless of gender." 

As essential as the word feminism or the meaning has been wrongly perceived by the South Asian countries where women are characterized with radical ideologies are revered as an idol of fear and against man’s attitude as "feminist". These long term statement degrades the overall beauty of what feminism and feminist values are. They are not against men, but against the patriarchy beliefs and values which needs more focused discussions and interpretation.

Nobody gave me the idea of Feminism, though it was something that I learned during my upbringing. As I was getting the best values of understanding feminism from my home, there was clarity in identifying the concept of women empowerment and leadership in acquaintance of developing the core value of equality.
My mother (Gauri rayamajhi) is a feminist, but she always gave us the value of seeing and thinking in a better way of how we should see the world through our individual’s eye.
When you look at the current practice in South Asia and especially in the least developed countries it the cultural and religious practice that gives us the limitation of what others want us to see and feel. These values has been transcended from centuries in the name of heritage and culture where variations of limitation of natural and unnatural, limitation of man and women, power distribution, behaviors,  work allocation, altitude are specifically defined in the name of daily manifestation. The assumption of men being superior and women being degraded at the low chain of the family ecosystem simply dissected the overall socio-economical state of women in South Asia.

Prejudice or orthodox values have been always uncomfortable and there was an uneasy feeling of how we see and expect the world. Life itself comes in radiant colors where everything is natural and every work is common that has no restriction. Most importantly the nature that created us has no barriers of limiting us to any prerequisite of what is foretold to be male or female. It aspires in the existence and evolution where we profound to be nature's finest in practicing the adaptation process.   

For me Gender equality has just been an issue of reverence that always triggered in practice. Just ask any local person about gender equality or how he\she perceives to see the natural law of sex. You will have a limited answer of how people see gender equality in south Asia. Its limited, constricted and full of prejudices.

There has been so much money and work done but still at grassroots level people fail to realize or accept gender equality values. And I think it’s happening because we the educated elite group fail to talk and to even deal with the issue. We are so busy with our mobile phone and social media that we would love to put the social media status about gender equality but when it comes to talking about gender equality, we would just slip off saying there are more other issue of priority. 

Unwillingly, I had grown up to be part of the patriarchal society that conditioned my values of how I see the world and equality. The time when I started realizing I was part of the community was sometimes back when there were more issue of Violence Against Women (VAW) cases. I was astounded why a woman would be bound to take the beating of her man and would not report to the police. Suddenly, I was so confused about all the issues, then my wife (sajina karki) came in with clarity of what feminism is all about, she gave me the understanding about the feminism movement and how it was wrongly interpreted. With clarity and understanding I started exploring and worked on intervention to help people understand.  

Similarly, working with various organizations, I was associated as a founder member of the Aasha H4 foundation which promoted training and capacity building for women who were travelling abroad as migrant worker. I literally started realizing something was wrong with my interpretation and I started blogging about women’s issues in Nepal.

My intervention was not just limited within the blog, but it was more focused on how women need to be independent and empowered.

We intervened with various aspects of raising awareness of VAW and in December 2015 we also launched a survey about OVAW marking the 16 days orange week.  

Social Media Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wawtn/

Recently I participated in a regional meeting of EROTICS South Asia, which changed my interpretation and meaning about feminism and the so called orthodox attitude of labeling women of being radical feminist. Women have always been the same the revered creation more willing to create than to destroy. I think its the patriarchal values that push them to revolt and to talk radical. The suppression itself witnesses how a woman survives the presence of various man figures in her life influencing and making her vulnerable. She needs her space and time, which needs a proper awareness and talk.

During the meeting I met various participants from India, Sri Lanka and Nepal who were currently working in their field to raise awareness about various aspects of feminism and gender equality. They represented various stakeholders and community who were working on various aspects of raising awareness about women’s sexuality.

Their knowledge, experience and their approaches were as determined as their voices and presence. During the program various research papers and experiences were shared creating a broader open platform for exchanging information and learnings.

Most interesting the LGTBQ group representative gave us the various perspectives of how sexuality is interpreted and collaborated in a broader form. Their fight and struggle has been not just in proving their identity, but it’s against the whole ideology of seeing a binary sexuality concept. During my session I found no gender issues or any sort of difference of their natural being where more often  we label them unnatural and being beyond the society. They were more open and vocal about their issues and rights and had an insight about how the current world moving on.

The only difference in between them and us was the only perception about how we were looking at the issue from different angles. In fact the perspectives and ideas were more revering and focused than any other group. They are also part of our society and they also like to smile where the so called gender fixated people love to humiliate and to criticized for everything they are not.

I think it is just about the perception of how you see the world. If you leave those patriarchy values and open your eyes, you see everything but if you see the world through those patriarchy values it looks vague and blurred.

The one thing that united us all was the fire to stand up against change where they all were striving to create a better future and better values for the coming generation. It’s a human evolution process where we fight to strive for the best in creating and adapting.

Likewise, during the meeting I met Valentina Hvale Pellizzer who was also our coordinator. I had met in IGF 2013 in one of the freedom of expression (FoE) session. I was pretty reserved about her personality, but meeting and talking with her during the meeting I felt how I was wrong and what we all do when our preconditions mind creates those understandings. She is a great teacher and a great facilitator who assisted us and made us believe in creating further conviction towards the EROTICS movement. It is not about how we will fight the patriarchal society, but it’s about how we will change the society to create better leadership and awareness for women. Gender equality is not just for the use it’s the choice of a future where everyone has the equal rights to live and believe in the equality and humanity.

In fact, I feel proud to have attended the meeting and learnt so much about how the modern day feminist look at the various issues of internet ecosystem and other correlating issues of various other countries. More often being a man alone in the group trying to understand a group of women with various other representatives from transgender community was something I would never dare, but I did it and I am happy that I now stand to be a feminist MAN supporting the issue of gender equality and rights. 
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