pakistani feminism

FEMINISM LESSON 101-A GENTLE LESSON IN PAKISTANI FEMINISM

Pakistani feminists, feminism

1-what feminism is NOT!

We live in a very fragile society. Our egos and emotions get hurt instantly if someone says something that we can’t understand right away. This is why we think that one woman dancing on tiktok or one Qandeel Baloch making facebook videos can overturn our centuries old culture. One thing we MUST understand is that following new cultural values (eastern or western is not a bad thing) it is called cultural evolution. Adopting new cultural values and thoughts that are healthy expands any culture into an enriched phenomenon.

Well why did I give this long prologue rather than jumping straight into the issue. Actually just because feminism is a Western term many of our patriarchal elements are scared of our culture being jolted of its sublime qualities.
Most people who are against feminism, even before trying to know what feminism is, believe feminism as anti-men-ism- which is WRONG.

Anti-men concept itself exists and has its own term which is called MISANDRY
you know those people who are women hating are called misogynistic, similarly those people who are men hating are called misandrist. And feminism and misandry are two completely different concepts.

2-what is Feminism?

Well as it might be surprising for you to read that feminism is not a man hating movement yet many of you must be saying well still feminists criticize men the most. Well its reason I will explain later in the article, let me first tell what feminism is!

Feminism put in the simplest words possible is called equality of rights for all human-beings of all genders- women are neither superior nor inferior than men (and same is the case for all other genders).

Women treatment as superior in our society!

A lot of people claim that women are given far more value and status in our Eastern culture and feminism is just degrading that high pedestal. The illusion of superior status is as harmful as the inferior one-how?? Let me tell you how! In our society whenever women are given superior status than men it is NEVER as woman herself. She is enormously respected as mother or as wife of a martyred soldier or as an elder sister or in roles similar like these. In all these roles women are then made to suffocate under the pressure of acting according to their roles. A mother is always portrayed as all giving, all forgiving, and benevolent person. She is never given a space for individuality if she thinks of herself, she is selfish if she makes a mistake as mother, she is horrible, if a sister marries with her own choice she is honor-less. So, women have never asked for this sham high altitude that they are asked to exist.

Women as low beings by Nature’s Law claim!

Whereas for telling women that they are inferior than men by nature’s law is not only problematic but misguiding and manipulative.

Telling women that they are created for the service of men is a propaganda that is created, narrated and propagated for centuries by the help of manipulated religious doctrines. Not only women but all human-beings are gradually brainwashed into believing that God has given brain, emotions and ability to create to women for no reason. Along with literary writers, poets, politicians the greatest venom against women equal status has been spread by Pastors of different religions because they had the most following in any society. Why all these characters of various fields helped strengthening this twisted belief of some human beings being better than others- well simply to keep the power and reap the benefits of power.

If women (and people of other genders) are made to believe and agree that they are inferior than their male counter parts, than not only will men have women at their service but also  they can over power all aspects of life- from governing to earning- from sexual pleasure to occupying more public space.

3-Why feminism is important for Pakistanis?

Let’s see why the discussion of equal rights is important in Pakistan?
Pakistan is world’ s third worst country in terms of women’s safety. Now a lot of people will say it is incorrect information spread by West.
Don’t we read and see women being dragged out of their graves and raped- is it a lie?

Is it false that a journalist literally killed his wife (the wife herself was a woman’ rights activist)?

Domestic violence cases are next to normal in our society. Beating women or wailing a girl child’s birth is as normal as breathing.

Work place harassment, honor killing are increasing rather decreasing with each passing day.

So, we need to understand women’ rights or feminism is not an elitist issue in Pakistan. It is a movement that very strongly believe in empowering women of weaker classes and background. Pakistani feminists want women to have a better chance at life.

Moreover, women make 52% of our nation, that is more than men. If more than half of population is not given a chance to explore and progress how in the world can we expect as a society to ever get better and advance. A recent study showed that more than 80,000 female doctors are not practicing medicine. This statistic should be eye opening for us to see where we are headed.

Read our article on Pakistani rishta culture here: https://lifestylebymunaza.com/mrs-khan-curse-and-divorce-rate-in-pakistan/

4-why feminism is important for men in Pakistan?

There is a phrase -If there is fire in your area, it will reach you sooner or later.

If you think that women suffering is either unimportant or irrelevant let me tell you very clearly this injustice will reach to you regardless of your gender. Societies where women or people of any other gender suffer are intrinsically unjust and unjust society thrives on the principal of survival of fittest. And once the society favors the strong, the weaker existing in any aspect suffer the wrath of system.

What do I mean by that? Let me give you a real example to make you understand.

Previously mostly women- girls or girl child were raped and nobody actively worked against this issue. Rather the blame was entirely put on women, on their dress up or on their walking out alone etc. Since we did not condemn and act against this issue as human beings now this rape assault has reached to boy children. Every now and then there are multiple cases where boy kids are raped in madrassas or school etc. Now rape has not remained a gender issue (Qasoor incident of children rape is another strong example of weaker males being hurt due to unjust system).

The above example shows if you keep one section of society suffer for long, that suffering will continue to seep in , in other sections and make weaker ones suffer gradually without your noticing. Sooner or later, the weaker will be you because even among the strong people there are different levels.

Not for the sake of women only but for the sake of your kids (of all genders) we must eliminate injustice and suffocation from our society which right now has its greatest burden on women.

5-Pakistani Feminists as ‘Equal rights but not equal responsibility’ activists

Pakistani feminists, feminism

The most offensive abusive statement (literally I will call it abuse) against women of our society by many men is that women don’t fulfill equal responsibilities. You literally need to be living your entire life under a rock to think such a lie as truth.

First of all, for centuries women have served way more responsibilities than their fare share or even strength. Let’s see an average middle class Pakistani girl’s life- she cooks, cleans, does all house chores, does all chores of her husband, in most cases does most chores of joint family her husband makes her live in. She never has a Saturday or Sunday off. She never has an off duty timing like men come at 5 and after that they don’t do much because they are tired-but they are recognized as tired because they are bringing money. But women are not recognized as tired because their effort is not financial. This is the most abusive and disrespectful thing people say for women of our society.

if women don’t bring fiances that is largely because they are either not given same education or ‘permission’ (which should not be a man’s right to grant) to work. And despite working like an animal their effort is considered worthless.

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6-The childish accusations against feminists

I realized that I wanted to call myself a feminist when I was 20/21 years old. I got to know about this theory in university. Later I read about it in detail and explored various feminists in the history that paved the way easier for coming generations of women. By reading all that material I realized that to make things easier for coming generations, I (like women of past) have to muster up my courage to clearly tell that ‘women suffering’ is an issue and it needs to be resolved.

Ever since I called myself a feminist, I heard so many hurtful and abusive titles for myself and many other feminists, few of which are

  • Pseudo liberals
  • Landay ki angraiz
  • American visa greed
  • Gays
  • Privileged bitches

Upon hearing these titles I have a few things to say

One I don’t mind these comments or labels, I am happy to bear them even if they don’t represent me.

Number 2 to all women, don’t be scared to be called out or labelled, as Princess Diana once said all great women in history are feared for their strength because people don’t understand where they get their strength from or where will they use it for. So if you want to be an agent of change you must understand friction happens to bring better.As there is popular saying first they ignore you, than they laugh at you, than they fight you, and than you win (so with our struggle for equality I believe this saying comes handy).

Number 3 for Pakistani men, especially those men who are our male allies-meaning men who understand, believe and support us (women in our struggle for equality) you are super heroes and fearless. Some prominent male allies are Shahzad Roy, Osman Khalid Butt, Jami etc.

And to those men who are against us, I would say be against us- there is nothing wrong in being against a movement or ideology. But if you are against feminism I hope that your reasons are intellectually sound. If you are just against feminism because it’s a popular thing to be hurling abuse against feminists-or calling feminists pseudo liberals make you look more traditional or patriotic than you need immediate help. If your education has not helped you gather courage to go against the flow and stand for right than nothing else would do you any favor in terms of doing the right thing.   

6-The road forward for Pakistani society

In the beginning I wrote feminism is not against men yet men are most criticized by bearers of this movement. The reason is that more men, unfortunately because of their power status, are involved in injustices committed against women. Since men are most involved in injustice therefore, they are at the center of feminists’ criticism.

The solution of this problem is not in reversing the equation-meaning making men suffer and women enjoying. Because if we see solution in reversal we are aiming for an exactly same exploitative society. If we truly want to establish a more peaceful and harmonious society than we need to fix our systems that strengthens survival of all genders with equal opportunities, equal dreams and hopes without any barriers by each other.

Don’t be afraid of new concepts, new rituals, new movements coming from anywhere East, West, North or South etc. because that is called cultural evolution
Read more, get yourself acquainted with international human rights and do the right thing and stand for the right thing to the best of your abilities.

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