"Whoever Said Feminism Was the Opposite of Femininity?"

Six incredible women share their perspective on the 'F' word...

Sonam Kalra

Musician, Sufi Gospel Project

"Well, if being a strong woman who talks openly about what she wants, speaks out against injustice, and uses her voice to make a change makes me a feminist, then so be it—however, I prefer to be called a humanist. I don't think a feminist looks any particular way—but she doesn't have to fight it by being über-feminine either. It has nothing to do with it. I don't wear high heels, for instance—but not because I think they're un-feminist, but because they're uncomfortable! I think the feminist fight is bigger than that—raising our voices against honour killings, the current rape laws, prostitution—the list is endless. And one of the biggest places to start is by inculcating it in men."

Sangita Mehra

Founder, Spread A Smile

"The idea that success isn't dependant on gender—that's feminism. To be able to express yourself freely, outside the confines of societal norms, those things come to mind first and foremost. The idea that feminists dress or look a certain way doesn't apply, in my opinion. On the contrary, my style is feminine, and I choose to celebrate being a woman fully through what I wear. I think the biggest feminist fight begins at the level of education—to raise children and educate them as equals, so they grow up with that as the foundation for how they live."

Karuna Ezra Parikh


"I own a T-shirt that says 'Feminism: The radical notion that women are people'. It's funny, but it also sums up the depth of sexism today. To be a feminist only means to want equality. Me? I cook, I knit, I wear a bikini on national television, I demand flowers, I like my heavy bags held up and my doors held open. And no, I don't believe any of those things make me less of a feminist. We should all be feminist right now. Sexism affects 50 percent of the world's population. Only women of incredible privilege can say, 'Feminism is dated'. To say, 'I believe in equality, not feminism' is riduculous—they're the same. And until that equality is a reality, feminism cannot be made redundant."

Konkana Sen Sharma


"I'm surprised feminism's been getting such a bad rep of late, because the minute you believe in equality, whether you want the label or not, you already are a feminist. Right now, patriarchy is part of our being in such an insidious way—in things as simple as design! I've read that cellphones are larger because they're designed for male hands (which are bigger than ours) and even seatbelts are as uncomfortable as they are because they weren't designed with breasts in mind. I think the day we start to really make place for women, only then will feminism actually become redundant."

Milee Ashwarya

Editorial Director, Penguin Random House

"Whether it's at work, home or even (and especially) in public spaces, women should be able to do and express what they believe in. That, to me, is the core of feminism. To do what we want, be what we want—even wear what we feel like. I love wearing dresses and I love wearing pants. I'm a tough negotiator at work, and I cry at the drop of a hat when something touches my heart. I love going out to eat at my favourite restaurants and I love cooking for my family (when I have the time!). To me, having this freedom—and a world where every woman has the same freedom—is a world where feminism has achieved what it set out to do."

Monica Dogra


"People get upset with me when I say I'm an activist, because I'm not holding up placards on the street or picketing or standing outside in protest. But I think being a feminist is a way of life. It's about balancing gender roles, gender power, and gender opportunities in various aspects of your life. Whether I do that through the people that I employ, the music that I write or the videos that I create—that's my way of contributing. And I think if more people understood that they can contribute in a way specific to their skill set or their passion, maybe more of us would identify as feminists."