The right to choose
Like most people of my generation, I spend the few minutes before sleeping scrolling down the Newsfeed on Facebook.
It was last night, when I came across a meme, which literally made me sit up from my bed with something resembling leftist, liberal rage.
It was a meme, or a status update with a very deceptively benign colorful background,( I often get confused between the two) announcing in a set of bold capital letters ;
“I LIKE BEING SUBSERVIENT AND ONE DEGREE INFERIOR TO MEN”
The gender inequality index was published in 2017 and placed Pakistan as the second worst place in the world for women.
Therefore, I was rather quick to jump to conclusions that surely it had been one of the many ultra patriarchal and conservative men, as an example of model thinking of a good women, who were to blame for such a post.
Anger boiled up inside of me at a speed which had been alien to me until that moment which gave birth to the determination to unfriend any such individual before a second consideration.
It was not long afterwards that I found myself very confused and my objective thinking at some sort of dead end.
It was actually a woman who had shared it: a Pakistani woman.
To top it all, she was a practicing doctor in the field of medicine, a profession often linked with forward thinking in our society.
I had known that women had held such beliefs or ideologies, but I had often written that off to lack of education, lack of exposure and indoctrination starting at an early age.
But the lady in question did not tick any of those boxes. Here she was, an educated
woman, from an affluent family who had had the opportunity to experience empowerment as
most women in her country shall never go on to.
Clearly I, and the vast majority of liberals had been approaching the matter incorrectly.
If a woman is a well educated adult and chooses to be subservient to a man, only on the account of him being a man, then we had no right to tell her otherwise.
It was then that it hit me, the fact that this woman had “chosen” to be a degree inferior to the opposite gender. That in itself can be considered empowering.
It is an odd concept to get one’s head around, but I suppose in a society such as Pakistan, when talking about women’s rights and gender inequality, it is essentially the right to choose that should be emphasized.
There will be women who will, rightly, not consider themselves inferior to opposite gender, and their right to choose should be protected as furiously, if not more so, as this lady’s right to submit to whoever she pleases to,based on any criterion she deems efficient.
That is not to say that propagating such narratives is not harmful, especially when it is done by a woman.
It is not often that men who consider themselves a degree above women would allow
them to receive education, let alone go on and practice their expertise.
A woman who might choose to disagree often has to face difficult circumstances which can have lasting effect on them and their children.
Therefore, it is important that we realise this, as a nation that there is not default position of
power between the two sexes based entirely upon genders, and weather it is a position held by
the liberals or conservatives, it should ultimately be the woman’s right to choose.
We, as a society must do, the best we can, to ensure that these women do not face any unnecessary consequences of such choices, and make it a hospitable and harassment free environment for any who might be dare to go against the convention.