• The Feminist Times

IN CLASS TODAY: Inclusiveness

When it comes to the different strands of Feminism, Marxist Feminism stands out as the most intersectional one. It is a philosophical variant of Feminism, that incorporates and extends Marxist theory. It analyses the ways in which women are exploited through capitalism and the individual ownership of private property. According to Marxist feminists, women’s liberation can only be achieved by dismantling the capitalist system in which they contend much of women’s labour is uncompensated. Marxist feminists extend traditional Marxist analysis by applying it to unpaid domestic labour and sex relations. With the emergence of intersectionality as a widely popular theory of current feminism, Marxist feminists remain critical of its reliance on bourgeois identity politics.


Intersectionality operates in Marxist feminism as a lens to view the interaction of different aspects of identity as a result of structured systematic oppression. Coming to the 21st century, nothing much has changed since the emergence of this strand of Feminism. A classless society is a Utopian idea perhaps, but as a society the least we can do is stop the discriminations based on caste. But as it is, the powerful heads of the society keep using class as an instrument to create conflict, which results in their profit.


Now, when we look at this problem through the perspective of a women, it adds up to the insurmountable struggles that she has to overcome on a daily basis. This situation can be analysed through three scenarios : the work place, the household, the society. However sad it may sound, the plight of women in their work places still remains a harsh truth. Even after proving her medal in every sphere, she is often made the head of Human Relations Department; the department whose primary job is to look after the relations among the employees. Her dressing sense, her way of carrying herself, her accent – everything is connected to her class.


In the working place, women who apparently belong to the lower castes are labelled with the tag of ‘easy’. Shows like “Made in Heaven" and more have clearly shown how girls from small towns or “low classes" struggle to adapt to their working places, given the continuous mocking and loathing they face in the hands of their fellow workers. This class becomes an useful weapon in jeopardizing their career, claiming them as inefficient and incompetent. As a result, the job profiles of ‘low class' women remain limited to those of secretaries and waitresses, in spite of their budding potentials. In the middle class household, the division of labour within the house remains unabashedly unequal. A working woman has to have a full time job which provides for the family, along with having to cook, clean and fulfil every duty of a doting daughter in law and faithful wife. The one, who doesn’t have a job to provide for the family is seen as nothing but a robot void of emotions, whose only job is to follow orders and keep everyone happy. In both the cases, the plight of women remains the same. Getting up early in the morning and serving everyone till midnight becomes her order of the day. Neither is she paid, nor is this labour of her given recognition. In fact, all of this labour is taken for granted and she’s expected not to make a fuss about it.


Finally, when it comes to the society, it judges her for her clothes, her position in the office, her working hours in the house – all steaming from the old systems of class division and division of labour. Marxist feminists therefore talk about including women from every sphere, from every class, from every stature of the social ladder. Inclusiveness is the only way through which this evil can be tackled, and Feminism will reach it’s true meaning only when it incorporates the problem of EVERY woman and addresses it.



- Madhubhanti


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