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To Mr. Prime Minister and Other Men: Purposeful Misgendering and The Insult of Womankind

In a ridiculous fashion not at all expected of (one of?) the most powerful men in the country, Prime Minister Imran Khan decided that it was an excellent time to overlook his countless U Turns, his ever increasing horrible decisions pertaining to the economy, and hypocritical stances, and misgendered Mr. Bilawal Bhutto, the Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party.

In a brilliant address to his followers, he criticized Mr. Bhutto for having “inherited,” a political party and career from his mother. It would’ve played out well, had Mr. Prime Minister not used the term, “Sahiba,” instead of the masculine term, “Sahib,” for Mr. Bhutto. In a not so surprising response, the audience went absolutely wild, cheering at that display of masculinity which our beloved – don’t forget handsome – Prime Minister clearly has a ton of.

The thing is, not only is that insulting to Mr. Bhutto, who does not deserve to be misgendered by a political rival, but it is unfair to the women of the nation.

Why is it that we’ve voted for a weak, sexist, misogynist leader who has time and time again proven himself as perhaps one of Pakistan’s worst choices – because we haven’t had a lot of choice have we – in a democratically elected leader?

Was it because of his charisma, his promising sportsmanship, his political experience (or affiliation? Can you see the uniform?) or because he promised to cater to the demands of the youth – whose education budget he just agreed to cut – we might never know.

See, were we to begin receiving a dollar for every time a woman was told she performs – whatever task – “like a girl,” we’d all probably be rich enough to leave the country and escape the inevitable storm that’s heading our way. Throughout our lives the phrase, “like a girl,” has been used to express disdain towards the female gender. The notion that women are unable to perform as well as men, that they are inferior not just because of their gender, but because of their inefficiency as compared to men has haunted us since forever, and today, we will not stand for it.

The word “woman,” is not an insult. Doing things “like a girl” is not an insult.

Rather, women – and science for that matter – have proven throughout history that they are far more competent than men ever will be, perhaps because of, or in defiance to this misogynist notion of incompetence.

What our Prime Minister needs to realize is that he represents an entire nation, not just his own ideas, and the fact that his address has spread like wildfire doesn’t help the reputation of Pakistani people when it comes to our social standing, and our treatment of any other gender than males. They claim it’s a slip of the tongue, but how many times does he actually address Mr. Bhutto like that in private? Not only is effeminizing him insulting, but catering to the disgusting misogyny of his followers who consider being a woman something unpleasant shows that Mr. Khan has zero regard for the women of his country. He also disregarded the image of Pakistan by engaging in filthy tactics.

What are even more disappointing are the comments underneath the video, which praise him for his unnecessary and disappointing comments. Imagine the outrage if someone were to harm the fragile masculinity of these men by calling them a woman. Sometimes, it seems, there is no hope for the men and by extension then, the women of this country.

 

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