Why I’m A Feminist In Mauritius

I’d ask myself the question, going over the possible reasons about whether I should adopt the label or not, encumbered by the various reactions (euphemism for insults) that would naturally ensue.  I do not understand how a very straight-forward concept has been warped by so many of its detractors, to the extent that sometimes the negative outweighs the positive.  And I’m somewhat in between of that spectrum, I understand that everything is nuanced in life, but do those who are more than eager to throw a whole movement under the bus, understand that very nuance?  I’m afraid not.  Why else, would one clamor for a revisionist stance on women’s rights?

I was born on the Paradise Island, I grew up here, I’m more than ”well-acquainted” with the culture, I’m a product of it.  And I despise it-the culture.  I was born a woman, and there lies my only crime.  So my life should be a whitewashed version of what it ought to be, similar to that of a reprobate who’s serving a life sentence.  I cannot be anything but a woman and by that I mean, their definition of a woman.  Their nurturing, feminine, grossly sexualized, timorous, servile counterpart.  If I cannot be those things, then tada-here comes a barrage of unwarranted, unfounded criticism.  Behold the blitzkrieg!

Let’s keep it real, multiculturalism rhymes with tolerance of the intolerant (okay it doesn’t, but you get the jibe).  Somehow, it’s acceptable in 2018 to expect women to abide by rules set in the dark ages.  Sure, those rules aren’t engraved on a mound in Port-Louis nor are they evinced religiously in the media; those are our mores, our norms.  And you might be asking yourself- Aren’t you just reaching?  Which is pretty normal, because those in a privileged position aren’t going to just open their minds all of a sudden, we are after all a deeply flawed species.  But no, I’m not reaching.  I’ve experienced this society from within-a society that gangs up on females for the crime of bodily autonomy, a society that expects mothers to be slaves to their families, a society that tells women they shouldn’t enjoy sex.  A society that turns a blind eye to domestic violence and abuse and then ponders-What is wrong with us?  Well, everything.

I have to google the definition of the word ‘Paradise’ because in our case, it’s such a misnomer.  Let’s just say it’s a paradise for those who wanna escape to luxury hotels whose walls guard them well from the perils of this deeply primitive society.  And what fuels that aversion, that deep vituperation, is the fact that women still don’t have access to reproductive rights.  It’s 2018 and religious crackpots are still dominating public opinion.  And I know, many people ( I mean it, many) don’t give a fuck about our ordeals as women, because they’re not attuned to the concept of empathy or extending their understanding to those they’ve marginalized and dehumanized their whole lives, but do try.  It will help you become a better person (if you want to).

What about those Soviet-era grannies warming the benches in the Parliament?  As women, we ought to recognize that, not every woman is a feminist.  These female MPs-cum-crooks have done nothing for the female cause, here in Mauritius.  Zilch.  Nada.  And what should they have done, you might ask?  Well use their fucking ostentatious degrees and positions to accomplish something…anything.  I don’t care how many females have been chosen for positions within the government, I don’t care about the copacetic lip service, what I care about is action and by action I mean, solid, undisputed action to address inequalities that hamper women’s pursuit of happiness here in Mauritius.

Lukshana Gopaul

Lukshana is the essay writer for PLAG. You can reach her at luckshanagopaul@gmail.com .

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