In a recently published book of Shahid Afirdi, titled Game Changer, he openly mentioned that his daughters are not allowed to play outdoor sports, they are not allowed to be part of any competitions, and at the same time he accepted that his daughters are quite good at sports. This is not the first time that the famous cricket has angered women with belief in equal rights, in a previous interview he extravagantly stated that women fit in kitchens and not outside.
Shahid Afridi’s views represent typical patriarchal privilege of men of our culture, where men proudly decide for their women in the name of religion and society. This rhetoric of eastern cultural and religious values has made women of our society to suffer not only in terms of finances and independence for very long but also in terms of un-explored talent and creativity.
Shahid Afridi himself at various occasions claimed to be a religious man and has been seen hanging out with Mulana Tariq Jameel, but the reflection of his religiousness on his personality is quite contrary to the popular religious outlook and behavioral standards of our society. He is regularly seen to be wearing fashionable clothing, having stylish outlook, promoting expensive brands, so it seems for his own self it is ok to tilt his beliefs and fit them to his benefit but he is not ready to do it for women.
Shahid Afirdi is regularly seen with models. Last year pictures of his Sahar meal in Ramadan went viral with models like Sana Bucha and others. Not that hanging out with models is good or bad but he is complete contrast to what he portrays to believe and preaches.
A lot of people might think that it is his personal problem if he is living life that way and if he is not letting his daughters play, and why I am writing about it?
Well one it is not his personal problem because he is talking and doing things in public, so in reaction a public opinion is obvious. Secondly, such views enhance, motivate and promote the ill and rotten rhetoric of ‘women belong to men’ concept. When people of his fame and influence make such statements especially with such valor, their fans tend to copy them.
Moreover, Shahid Afridi’s family is privileged in a lot of ways, his daughters are enabled in many other forms. They travel, they get to explore their lives but his rhetoric may affect life of ordinary women. A fan of Shahid Afridi may take his words as an ideal ideology to follow and for such a fan it is a way to make God happy by not letting his women work or play, for this fan a woman walking in a street or competing in sports would be improper Muslim and therefore such toxic narrative must be condemned and rejected, strongly and firmly.
One reason of such popular and impact having people with irresponsible and close thinking is their educational background, our sports star are mostly with a very low educational background and therefore their awareness level to global laws and rights is very low as well, they are still a product of society they were born and raised in. A few stars who are educated like Misbah ul Haq are reflection of their education. Misbah, an MBA degree holder, has never demeaned women in any way. So perhaps an educational restriction must be put in sports to increase intellectual merit of the game and the gamer to actually produce Game Changers of vast productive impact.