Devdutt Pattanaik Says Feminism Is ‘Structurally Similar’ To Hindutva And Socialism. Here’s A Structured Takedown Of His Sexism By Team Hauterfly
Everyone’s just cribbing about being let down by 2020. By our fragile immunity. By our lack of humanity. By our bigoted politicians and leaders. By our polarised views. By our instinct of self-preservation. And I’d normally want to tell them, welcome to the club. Because as women will tell you, we’ve been let down so many times, it doesn’t even hurt anymore. It just tickles. But the audacity of 2020, is that it has made some of our biggest heroes let us down in several ways. (Read: J.K. Rowling’s transphobia, Barkha Dutt’s stance on period leaves, and George R.R. Martin once again failing to finish Winds of Winter on time.) And an even bigger one, is that it has allowed sexist men like Devdutt Pattanaik to mansplain us, women, what feminism is. Oh and also, liken the movement to Hindutva and Socialism in structure. Really? Tony Stark died to save this world? Can we bring back Thanos to Snap us out of this already?
Who is Devdutt Pattanaik and why are we calling him out?
For those who do not read, Devdutt Pattanaik is an Indian mythologist, author, speaker, and illustrator who has written several books, newspaper columns and tweets on myth, religion, mythology, and management. His political views are also rather strong, but we won’t go there right now. All y0u need to know is that his books might actually make you fall in love with Indian mythology because you understand them in the modern context.
But right now, we’d like to talk about his Twitter presence, because you see social media is where our heroes often let us down. Lately, it seems to be ‘Watch-your-favourite-authors-lose-your-respect Month’ on Twitter. Pattanaik’s Twitter profile might make you wonder if different people are tweeting from the author’s account at different times. For example, one day, he will be voicing strong, valid dissent against the government, or schooling some ignorant troll on the difference between Hinduism and Hindutva.
The next minute, he’ll turn into a sexist, and start trashing feminism. Outta nowhere!
Actually, wait. Not outta nowhere. Devdutt Pattanaik has a history of having some rather trashy opinions on feminism. In his tweets, he often gets sexist, casteist, and downright juvenile in his arguments when someone calls him out about it. At least, in this one aspect, he didn’t let us down, and retaliated as expected when he was called out for this tweet.
As someone whose bookshelf is lined with at least two of this guy’s books (with a few more in my TBR list), I felt a little queasy. Do I really want to read what he has to say? Is this once again going to be that ridiculous ‘separate the art from the artist’ thing? But I reread his tweets again, and I said to myself, nope. Clearly, he has some inexplicable vendetta against feminism and feminists. Because not only does he proclaim such ridiculous things on Twitter with the confidence, he does it repeatedly. Without remorse. Like he is enjoying himself, watching women flare up at his words, call him out, and stand shell-shocked that a man who is so educated and learned would actually be harbouring such thoughts. I mean, he thinks he is funny, but that sense of humour belongs in that comments section of YouTube you don’t want to read because it wills scar you for life.
(I cannot believe Neil Gaiman once praised this man. Wonder what Gaiman would think about his views.)
Anyhoo, it is time to clap back. I know what you think, why give a troll like Devdutt Pattanaik the satisfaction of being proven right? Here we are, women, feminists, getting all outraged and trying to teach him a lesson for reducing us to such frivolous comparisons. It’s just what he wants, right?
Well, true. But we still do this because feminism is a fight for equality. If we fight for women’s right to education, we also put up an equally strong one for men’s education. See? We’re cool like that! And Mr. Devdutt Pattanaik definitely is in a dire need of one that explains to him that while Hindutva is striving for the hegemony of Hinduism, feminism isn’t striving for female dominance. I know it’s easy for men to think we are trying to beat them at their own high score, because they’ve been on the top for so long, they’re scared of what will happen if the status quo is toppled.
But really, that’s not what feminists want. I mean, if you want to hand the keys over to us, we’ll drive, sure. But that’s not what we’re campaigning for. Too long have the reins of the world been in the hands of men, and feminism just wants to get an equal piece of the cake. Does it mean that on some instances women have to direct men about how to do things? Yes, because if men already knew what to do, we wouldn’t have this gender inequality, thereby we wouldn’t need feminism in the first place. DUH!
However, since that’s not the case, and since most men don’t understand how to behave around women or talk to them (or tweet to them, eh, Mr Pattanaik?), women need to speak up (finally) and tell them. It’s like the patient telling the doctor where it is hurting rather than the doctor just using trial and error, and tapping all over the body! Now, real men who are secure about their place in the world don’t crib about it like someone took away their favourite chew toy. As for the rest, they’ve turned trolls on Twitter.
Feminists are not against criticism. But if the criticism is simply stemming from how the movement hurt the fragile male ego and supplemented by how it would affect what men think about women, men’s conveniences, and basically all things men, then yes, your criticism is a bucket full of bullcrap and it should be taken offense at.
As for Devdutt Pattanaik’s complaint about feminists turning abusive when criticised…. Team Hauterfly decided to produce a very structured, myth-busting lesson on Feminism 101: Why Men Need Not Be Scared of Feminists. We won’t bite. And we definitely won’t abuse. We’ll be civil, pinky swear.
“Mr. Devdutt Pattnaik needs to get his head checked. And because he has such a following, he should do it on an immediate basis. Feminists want equality. We want that you check your privilege because it leaks all over our rights, autonomy and agency. And please, have you met the entitled, average Indian man? He’s incredibly difficult to love. In fact, most should just be grateful we are willing to put up with their ‘my penis is my crown’ attitude. And we want to behave not as we say but behave because you’re constantly out of line and making statements like feminists will only love me if I listen to them. Oh please.”
– Mansi Shah, Managing Editor
“Dear man, who is oblivious to the concept of feminism, time and again, comments like these go ahead and actually prove the pressing need to challenge gender-based inequality that ‘feminists’ are fight against. Feminism isn’t about asking men to behave the way we want them to behave. No, we are not a bunch of tantrum-throwing children that want things their way. We expect men to behave in a way that doesn’t suppress the human rights of half of the world. We want them to behave in a way that isn’t hazardous to our life and freedom. No, we are not asking them to change their brand of toothpaste, the colour of their tees and the side of the bed they prefer. We want men to change their school of thought that has plagued the entire world with their misogyny. Before some people go on to say “not all men…”, it’s not our fault if a majority of your kind are ruining the image of the few men who believe in equality. It is not our fault if you are doing nothing to establish equilibrium in our society and assuming it’s a responsibility women must shoulder alone. We truly ask for men to respect the autonomy of a woman and not ask her to behave the way they want her to behave.”
– Akanksha Narang, Features Head
“Dear Devdutt Patnaik,
Yes, we are asking men to behave in a certain way. We want them to behave in a way that does not endanger our basic rights and freedom. And no matter what you or thousands of men like you believe, that is not too much to ask. We pay the price of your ignorance and half-baked knowledge. We aren’t hysterical dimwits who want everything to go their way. So, the next time you want to explain the meaning of feminism, I strongly suggest you do your research. We fight everyday for things you’ll be served on a silver platter. It’s not our fault that most men are too thick-skinned to understand how important it is to have equality. This logic of yours is completely redundant, please educate yourself.”
– Mitali Shah, Lifestyle Writer
“To the man who seems to not just have lost his mind and basic sense but also his dictionary that would give him an elementary insight into the meaning of ‘feminism’….
We hope this comes to you as a lesson not just in the cause but also the language. When you compare feminism with hindutva, or socialism, claiming all we want is for men to behave like we want them to, you’re compromising the very definitions for which these words stand for. Feminism is about equality, not a custom made whim us women want fulfilled. It is not about us wishing men to act the way WE want. It is about us wanting them to act the way they’re supposed to, in the first place. And that is fair. Asking for what is ours doesn’t necessarily have to take anything from you. But as someone who is consumed with the liberty, entitlement and prejudice fed to him since he was born, of course the cry of feminism would only seem to you as a threat to your own identity. Clearly your skewed understanding of the very word ‘equality’ makes it harder for you to grasp the concept of feminism.
So let us do you a favour and give you crash course—When we say we want feminism, we don’t mean we want men to fail. Misandry is not our motive, but gender parity is. Because up till now, you’ve been preaching about equality as long as the men were being favoured, but now when women have come to collect their dues, it’s suddenly all too real. So the next time you feel offended at being asked to behave a certain way, remind yourself of the decades for which us women were put into a box and asked for the same.”
– Sadhika Sehgal, Trending Head
Okay, my turn now. Look, men seem to be clueless. They can’t find their socks, can’t find ‘data on migrants and COVID deaths’, can’t find anything wrong with their bigotry, can’t find consent, can’t find the point of feminism. Heck, can’t even find the G-spot without a map. So I just want to ask, if men really, really hate being told what to do by women, WHY DON’T THEY JUST DO IT PROPERLY IN THE FIRST PLACE?
I guess I’ve already used a lot of words. And since kids these days do better with visual teaching aids, and since Mr Devdutt Pattanaik is also an illustrator and thereby into books withs lots of pictures, I’mma use a GIF.
Did it help, Sir? Or do you need to be told to read it again?
- Devdutt Pattanaik
- Twitter Trolls
- Indian mythology
Sharp-tongued feminist. Proud nerd. Opinions with on-point pop-culture references about films, books, your toxic BF, the patriarchy, and the Oxford comma.