Taboos in Pakistan Part I

No one 20 years ago could’ve imagined all the opportunities we have now and the avenues that have been opened up because of the digital age and the awareness that came along with it. As the internet becomes more and more ingrained in the Pakistani society, we see lots of changes happening simultaneously. Now it’s finally time to catch up with the world and straight-up say no to some of the age-old taboos and traditions. This month, Pakistan’s very first undergarments ad aired on TV and considering we would’ve never had that even five years ago, it took me by surprise, in the best way possible. Gladly, things are finally moving ahead but we have a long, long way to go still!

Here are some things that are still so wrong and things we need to accept in life so that everyone can live in peace, instead of pieces: 

  1. Boys are better than girls

We’ve progressed enough as a society to be okay with daughters being born, but, sadly, that’s only true for the bare 5% of literate people of Pakistan. We mustn’t forget the hundreds of cases around the country, in villages, where families either keep having children in hopes of a boy – not realizing that they’ll have to invest money in all of them (but hey they’re girls so they don’t even bother to do that) or their second option is terminating pregnancies.

Daughters-in-law are still pressurized to bear male children (not realizing the fact that it’s a man’s genetics that determines the gender of the baby), and wives are still being divorced over not being able to ‘give’ the family a male heir (again not realizing the fact that it’s a man’s genetics that determine the gender of the baby)!

  1. Sexualizing a woman’s body

There was a time when women weren’t allowed to show their belly button because it was just too inappropriate – passing off as a sexual gesture. Decades later, women’s clothing choices along with their bodies are still making headlines. But it’s high time to move forward, it’s time to monitor and restrict the male gaze instead of dictating a woman’s wardrobe choice. It’s time that women get as much freedom with their choice of clothing as men do. I don’t see why a difference exists in the first place.

3. Speaking out against rape

It’s already beyond sad that our society still perpetuates victim shaming and blaming. We make the victims feel as if it’s their fault that they fell prey to the hideous perverseness of the perpetrators. And not just rape, but it’s also time we acknowledging the fact that marital rape is also a thing and it’s very real. Not speaking about it, doesn’t make it go away. Just because it doesn’t happen to you, doesn’t mean it no one goes through it. Speaking out loud about it is also a form of justice for all victims, it brings them a degree of peace and solace. To just have someone stand beside you talking against the wrong-doer can serve wonders. Be that person for everyone who’s suffering or has suffered.

4. Divorce
If two people aren’t happy with each other, why force them to be together? Women in Asia are conditioned to believe that they’re inferior thus they are the ones who need to compromise. IN actuality marriage is as much of a responsibility of the man as of the woman. It’s a relationship of equality and balance. If for some reason that balance is outweighed by the man or the woman, the society and how it’ll react should not hold any of the partners from seeking a divorce. It’s there for a reason.

5. Boys being allowed to show emotion
Unless we think of boys as these aliens who have the emotional range of a teaspoon, they’re allowed to feel. We shun boys out for expressing themselves, letting out a few tears, or literally just feeling. They’re humans, too. We shouldn’t restrict the way men function, it’s not set in stone –

the way they need to behave, it’s a social construct, these sturdy, strong male gender roles. It’s time to break them.

Start treating people like humans, not according to their gender.

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