I have always been an advocate of women rights. However, I have also been firmly opposed to the desi feminism that erodes the senses of many of our elite and upper middle-class women, chauffeuring the existence of men into absolute misery, and tracks conflicts in avoidable circumstances.
Having said that, there are things that I feel can only be controlled by women, and that I feel is the greatest degree of empowerment that we may achieve, as a gender so often put down:
REFUSING TO BE THE VICTIM
As Desi women or women in general, I refuse to assimilate why victimization and self-pity is a hobby, very dear to many of us.
I see it on a daily basis, rejecting one’s own rights and then wallowing in self-pity and grief over what is to follow.
Instead of steering the wheel towards their desires, they succumb to pressures from family; brothers, fathers, husbands, and the list goes on.
Perhaps the greatest cognizance of this belief is etched in how a lot of women get married in Pakistan, or broadly in the Sub-Continent. Men in the family assume women to be burdens, and thus, in a quest to rid themselves of this unbearable load, pounce on the first man who asks for their hand.
And if that comes from within the family, bravo!
The proposal needs no revisiting, whether the girl approves or not, whether they’re compatible or not, none of it matters, it all becomes secondary, as long as the men find it suitable.
And getting the girl to agree is yet another incident, all on its own. It either boils down to silent approval, where the girl is too frightened to speak, or she renders the decision to the discretion of the male dominants in the family. And if God forbids, she refuses, a storm breaks loose.
The ‘dominants’ release their wrath, impose their fury, and initiate a cloak of ‘narazgi’ that works well to blackmail these women. And in a barricade of emotions, the girl agrees, accepting it as her fate, her destiny, upon which she will beat herself all her life, and be beaten too, but will decline any offers of rejuvenation.
‘Me nahi chahti merayabba mujh saynaraz hoyein, issliye me maangayi, ab jobhi meri kismet me ho, meinay tasleem karliya hay.’ a victim resignedly states.
When asked why her father does not feel the same way, why he is okay to know that his daughter is not pleased with his decision? She had no answer. But simply the reiteration of the aforementioned statement.
Why is it that women continue to bow down to the desires of their fathers, husbands, brothers and even their sons, while constantly sacrificing their own will, but the males in their life feel no responsibility or even a pinch of gratitude at their surrender. They glower in pride, and drown in ‘ghayrat’ but to what avail? The meek surrender of someone who frankly, has no issue being the dirt on the side of their shoe.
It is all very harsh. And must be just as bitter. Because the reality is embedded within it. Although, I feel the fault lies mostly in the mindset that functions the common desi man in a Pakistani household, where his superiority is unquestionable, but really, a lot of the blame must be pinned onto the woman as well, who admonishes all her rights, and relegates her life to being a victim of an inferiority complex, that no education and no words of wisdom can eradicate.
If women were to look within themselves and tap their potentials apart from the emotional tab they always consider, they would go further than most men. We are a great gender that not only talks
We are a great gender that not only talks of, but also acts upon diligence, commitment, passion and the compassionate dreams of inclusion, empathy, and achievable goodwill. Women talk of humanity in the purest sense, when in their houses, they cook meals of nourishment, in their offices, they can offer words of compassion. When for their relationships, they sacrifice, for their people, they could raise the bar of achievements through rational compromise and ideological exchange.
We are a queer kind. Specifically in Pakistan. We are a kind like no other, and we could soar above the assonance of manly prejudices, and human errors, because we are a people who believe, beyond the constricts of logic, superseding the bounds of visionary complacency, we are a wide array of women, who can succeed purely upon will and self-belief.
Nonetheless, in the society we live in, we witness this very rarely. Primarily because we come from a defeatist mindset, which is albeit fueled by the presence of our male dominants, but is also a consequence of how females are raised.
Women are raised like a sacrificial lamb, taught lessons of compromise and giving, but never encouraged to stand up for themselves, or to demand their rights. Because well really, women must compromise for their future to be secure in a ‘happy’ marriage.
If only, mothers taught their daughters to be resilient, to be strong and forthright and to be aware and equally conscious of the fulfilment of their rights, most of our women would not be merely a statistic.
But what are we taught?
We are taught that the future of a woman is marriage, and children, and a well-fed husband. While there is no ‘muzaika’ in selling that picture, it must not be the only picture on sale. There are alternatives. Formidable, respectable alternatives.
Not every woman gets married, and not every woman has the temperament for marriage. What about those women? Must they be constantly slandered and mocked for being left out or is there another definition we’re missing out.
Marriage is not the only future. There are thousands of other possibilities that women must be allowed to discover, at their own discretion, if only their mothers teach them how.
We become victims through the manners we are raised in. As an infant, we scream, as a toddler, we yell, as an adolescent, we sob, as a teenager, we reason but as an adult, we become silent. And thus, we become victims. We quiver, and we tremble, but we accept is as our ‘qismet’. We cajole and coax ourselves that we are wrong, and eventually we start believing in it. We surrender then, and we become victims, and then we transfuse the same spirit into our daughters, and the cycle continues.
It is time we stop this mockery of womanhood, this façade of pleasure. It is time that women stand up, and a lot of us are, in fact. From people like MunibaMazari and Malala Yousufzai, to others like Asma Jahangir, Asma Shirazi, MehrAbbasi, and Humna Raza, we have a lot of us proving self-victimisation is no solution. Renowned journalist and news anchor, Reham Khan
Renowned journalist and news anchor, Reham Khan was once lambasted for criticisng women for being partly responsible for their victimization. Today, I endorse her, for I feel we are responsible for infusing unnecessary accommodation,
Today, I endorse her, for I feel we are responsible for infusing unnecessary accommodation, compromise, and sacrifice within our daughters, that they forget to live.
Live and let live, my dearest, amid humanity, but always with self-esteem and dignity.