My latest book is The One Who Swam With The Fishes.

"A mesmerizing account of the well-known story of Matsyagandha ... and her transformation from fisherman’s daughter to Satyavati, Santanu’s royal consort and the Mother/Progenitor of the Kuru clan." - Hindustan Times

"Themes of fate, morality and power overlay a subtle and essential feminism to make this lyrical book a must-read. If this is Madhavan’s first book in the Girls from the Mahabharata series, there is much to look forward to in the months to come." - Open Magazine

"A gleeful dollop of Blytonian magic ... Reddy Madhavan is also able to tackle some fairly sensitive subjects such as identity, the love of and karmic ties with parents, adoption, the first sexual encounter, loneliness, and my favourite, feminist rage." - Scroll

Sign up for my newsletter: The Internet Personified

3 December 2013

Feminism: A "Let's Not" Guide

Look, we're all really happy you're part of the club, and we need more people to join, so one day it's not a Thing, it's just a thing, where OBVIOUSLY you're a feminist, like OBVIOUSLY you're against poverty and OBVIOUSLY, Game of Thrones is amazing. But before you join, please take the time to scan these brief pointers. Welcome again! Have a cocktail!

* Let's not be misandryists. Some men are fine. Some men are awesome. I'm sure you know ONE of these guys. Some men are douchebags, you know one of these guys too. Some men are monsters. I hope you don't know any of them. But say someone met me and they were like, "ALL WOMEN HATE KETCHUP!" and ketchup was never served to women again, and every other woman was like, "Listen, I kinda actually really like ketchup," but everyone refused to listen because they met me and I hate ketchup. You see where I'm going with this?

* Let's not pick on other women for their choices, claiming they're letting down the sisterhood. So, you don't agree with your neighbour. She thinks the best way to park her car is on top of yours, and you're just sick and tired of arguing that, in fact, the best way to park cars is next to each other. It doesn't mean she's a disgrace to all people who park their cars. She's not parking the right way, but in a society that claims that everyone gets their choice of parking, she's exercising that right. If you disagree, say, "In my opinion, your method of parking is not great." Your opinion.

* Let's not assume that we're not the elite. Coz, the fact that you're logging on to your computer and reading this using an internet connection = you are not "middle class." God knows who the middle class is that everyone keeps talking about, but they're not you.

* Let's assume everyone has a right to speak up or be silent. Similar to the parking sitch, if a girlfriend has been molested, as many of our girlfriends have, it's up to her whether or not she wants to report it. Someone who doesn't isn't NOT brave.

* Let's not make this about our personal battles. Ladies. We have SO FAR to go. We can't afford to bitch about each other or pull each other down. Ignore the people who you think are out to get you in whatever way, and keep going, one foot in front of the other. Make your voice loud to make YOUR point, not shout down their's. There's no point. Promise.

Fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride.


  1. Really? This is from India? Thank you for writing this. I could cry right now! And I am not being sarcastic or anything at all! Thank you!

  2. Who exactly is this directed to? Seem to be missing some context.

  3. Buncha places over the last few days, but this pissed me off this morning:

  4. errr, im sorry, im not buying this feminist spiel from someone who cant go potty when her partner is in the house, because OMGwhatwillhethinkofexcretaleavingmybody!

  5. Or perhaps I'm the Best Feminist of All because I know and understand my own body. :P

    PS: After that post, totally no potty problems any more! Hurray for closure! (OPENsure in this case, heh.)

  6. So who made you the president of feminism so that you get to write guidelines? Maybe you should rephrase it as your opinions rather than a guide.

    Also IMO this is bullshit - "Let's assume everyone has a right to speak up or be silent. Similar to the parking sitch, if a girlfriend has been molested, as many of our girlfriends have, it's up to her whether or not she wants to report it. Someone who doesn't isn't NOT brave."

    They are NOT brave! They can choose to not mention that to friends, but absolutely have to report it. It is very selfish of them not to.

  7. The onus of fixing a broken, oppressive system is not on the oppressed person, so let's not pull each other down. Meanwhile, let me tell you, dear oppressed person, how to behave now that you're in our club. We're so happy you joined, all of us ladies who brunch. We really need you here to boost the numbers. Cos god forbid you might have your OWN reasons for being a feminist. We want it to be a normal thing. That's why you're here. WE'VE decided what role YOU play here, okay? Now sit tight and help make it normal. Except normal means our normal, not your normal. And oh btw, misandry is totally a thing, okay? It's an accumulation of systemic imbalances that dis-empowers men and prevents them from being in positions in power. I know you want to talk about the men who beat you and the men who rape you and the men who don't take you seriously at work and I know how you make 76 cents to a dollar for the same work and I know how you're only 1% of the world's landowners. But come on. You can't generalize and hurt their FEELINGS for that, right? Fee-fees are to be respected at all costs. Fee-fees are the most important things in the world. Do you know how hard it is for them to deal with their hurt fee-fees??? Never mind that they objectify you instead of treating as real human beings. Or treat you as one huge monolith instead of individuals which hurts your chances at success pretty much everywhere ("Women become complete only when they become mothers" or "Once a woman has a baby, she's not going to be serious about work"). YOU, oppressed person, must live with the onus of treating them as individual human beings and you must never, ever generalize. For the sake of the fee-fees.

  8. Mr Anonumous,

    In my opinion i would say If some one reports it, yes they are BRAVE, if some one does not report it does not mean they are not brave. Its not always Black or White, not Brave or Not Brave.

    If they report it they are brave enough for it, if they do not lets just try and understand it we dont have to claim them "not brave".

    And you rightly conveyed your opinion, and i feel what Em is trying to say is also same in second point. Its just that in my opinion I agree with Em in this one.

  9. oh, so unable to potty in a new place is feminist problem? i thought men also had similar issues. well if not good for them...

    and, reporting a molestation is not simply bravery, u have to go through much more situations that call for more courage. personally I dont have that sort of courage:- media-coverage, court sessions etc...

  10. i just read that article in the link u had cited. isn't it true that women in elite are treated as eye candy? i dont know for sure. i am NOT elite just cause i borrow my sister's laptop and read a few blogs. And i will NOT accept that lower middle class or bpl men wil always be molesters

  11. I've come back to read this several times, and I've appreciated it every time. It's wonderful to know you think about what feminism means to you, just as many, many women have done before you (and many will do after!!). Let's all hope the girls we know grow up to experience a kinder, gentler world. Thanks so much x


Thanks for your feedback! It'll be published once I approve it. Inflammatory/abusive comments will not be posted. Please play nice.