Here’s how every conversation tends to flow when a person discovers that you, yes you, are indeed a feminist.
Feminism, while not an entire identity in itself, is a belief so strongly etched into our minds and constantly reinforced when we see examples of the oppression that prevails in our society, that it is hard for us to focus on any other aspects of our personality than the fact that we must, do our part in securing a future for women in Pakistan. It’s hard for us to keep silent when we see women dying, some being killed in the name of honor by people they called their own flesh and blood, continuously harassed on the streets, being beaten by their very own husbands, being denied the same opportunities that their male counterparts, brothers, and cousins – are handed on a silver platter.
Oh, so you’re a feminist? They’ll cut in oh-so-casually, expecting an instant rise out of you as if you’re dynamite, exploding in an instant. You’re very bold about your views, you know.
You nod, equally casual. You try to leash your views just so you don’t have to hear people go on and on about how no one actually needs feminism because women are already so privileged. The same people, who will go to their social media accounts, and write an angry rant about how everyone is so focused on Western propaganda when children in Syria are being made to witness the horrors of war. The same people who post so furiously in the favor of their political leaders, the same people who want you to boycott any products made in Israel. These same people think they’re so great to recognize the tragedy of this world but will refuse to believe that women are oppressed and discriminated against.
You’re a feminist so you won’t agree with this religious tradition. You know, with your ideas of the patriarchy and all.
You sigh. Religion being misused to systematically oppress women while telling them that supporting the achievement of equal rights is against their faith. Yeah, right.
Look, women and men are biologically different then why do you want to be superior to men! You’ve been given so much respect by religion, why are you so angry all the time?
Biological differences do not affect physical capability, intelligence or any other factors which are the basis for gender discrimination. We don’t hate men. We don’t want world domination. We hate oppression and deprivation. Also, the day you and your brethren start practicing our religion, we can then talk about the respect bestowed upon us. Until then, au revoir.
I’ve never been harassed you know, obviously, those who do are not covering themselves up. All this modernity and nonsense is the reason we’ll–
At this point, the thread holding your patience intact and you spear the other person with a scathing look. Victim blaming will not do. Sexual harassment and rape are not invited, not consensual and not related to clothing. Rape statistics aren’t any lower in countries where women cover themselves up than where women don’t prefer to. You’re positively animated, flinging your hands about or if you’re like this, you’re quiet while listening to this pathetic rant and quickly transcribing it into your phone just so you can record the stupidity that fills every corner of this world. A world where women rights are seen as a luxury when granted, not a necessity.
The real question is this – how long will this go on for? How long will women be subjected to irrelevant questions, how long will this oppression continue and how long will we exist in this bubble of denial, ignorance?
If current paradigms are any indication, this author suspects that it will go on for a long time, ending in either another rendition of The Handmaid’s Tale or something more optimistic. One can only hope.