Perhaps our favorite past-time as a nation is to complain about the West and their manifold conspiracies, cunningly designed to bring our country down and destroy us from within. Surely, we in ourselves could not possibly be in the wrong and therefore, who else should we blame but those who colonized us decades ago?
Feminism is one such clever ideology woven by the civilization-which-must-not-be-named, men vehemently argue, specifically engineered to make women rebel and destroy the sacred institution of marriage and family life. After all, why should you wish to follow in the footsteps of the debauched and unruly when religion guarantees you all the rights that you could possibly want!
Oh no, ma’am! Another member of the male species tuts. There can be no progress where society is this unrestrained. If you wish to be our equal you must stand with us in the scorching heat outside the tandoor, must not depend on us for chores outside the house, must fix your own tires and cars. No more will men be oppressed by these females. No more will men be called trash.
My reply to both these gentlemen, typically found in both the uneducated and the highly literate class is this: stop getting triggered when asked for common decency.
Let me break it down for you; feminism is about gender equity. A mere prefix doesn’t mean it only caters to women but rather that it caters largely to women for two very basic reasons. One, women are largely oppressed and social movements are designed to work with those who are oppressed and not empathize with the oppressors. Two, it’s difficult to address problems that women face since the majority of these cases go unreported.
With that out of the way, let us focus on what feminism demands. To put it in simple words, feminism wants all genders to get equal access to opportunities, education, basic human rights – things that no one should have to beg for. In my very humble opinion,
feminism shouldn’t even be called an ideology but rather mere common sense,
who can logically defend why one gender should be held superior to the other and denied basic rights. If you want your daughters and sons to both get the same opportunities for education, employment, and similar legal rights then congratulations, you too are a feminist!
For those who argue that this is a ruse used by the upper echelon to wear indecent clothing and to get more freedom than what people in a society should possess, I say this – feminism in Pakistan is simply privileged people recognizing the needs of those whose voices are not allowed to rise. A movement to educate people about their human rights regardless of societal convention, to bring oppressed women closer to realizing their potential and allowing them a way to escape continual mental and physical torture at the hands of their oppressors.
If you’re a man and you oppose feminism because you disagree with the ‘men are trash’ trope then I see no reason why you choose to be so bothered. One, no one hates men who do not engage in activities that hurt women, but we do hate men who abuse, rape, harass, degrade women or even simply believe that they have a right to do so. Therefore, please do not feel irate if you consider yourself above all this. Second, if one were to start listing all the axioms that men have come up with, regarding women over decades, one would run out of ink. No woman was ever born with the thought that men must be utter trash. This is taught to children over years of careful training by no one but other men.
If you’re a woman and you oppose feminism because you think it’s outrageous, then I thank you for your valuable opinion given as a privileged woman who lacks the basic empathy to acknowledge what women actually suffer through in their everyday life, simply based off their sex. If your arguments against feminism consist of red herrings about tandoors and tires and religious morality then you need to reset your beliefs and come up with something more concrete. You cannot expect people to nod intellectually if you’re going to wax poetic about how important it is that women too should stand in a tandoor, or help in the construction of buildings, or work in the scorching heat, because guess what, women do! Surprise!
The only way to progress as a nation is to realize that the stereotypes which we build and feed are the only things holding us back from achieving our true potential. As someone who was blind to the oppression a few years back, this author would encourage everyone to only listen to what feminists have to say!
Sometimes listening and not simply hearing can make all the difference in the world.