Disclaimer*: The articles shared under 'Your Voice' section are sent to us by contributors and we neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of any facts stated below. Parhlo will not be liable for any false, inaccurate, inappropriate or incomplete information presented on the website. Read our disclaimer.
Before you read this article, I’d recommend reading an article on Parhlo by Abubakar Cheema titled ‘10 important questions every average person wants to ask Pakistani feminists.’ This article is a response to the article published earlier as many Pakistanis seem to be on a hunt to find answers to this much thought about questions.
P.S. In spite of the title of the earlier article being titled 10 questions, there were only 8 questions.
Q.1 Do we really understand the movement we are diehard supporters of? Yes. Yes, we do.
First of all its rude to outrightly assume that a person lacks in knowledge without being sure. The question itself is a leading question(i.e a question that prompts or encourages the answer wanted) Chances are that if someone is devoted to a cause, they’ve surely done their background research on it.
Feminists believe that women are disadvantaged in society and that women deserve the same rights, status, power and authority to that of men. How do we plan to do that? By lowering the men’s rights? Or by raising the rights of women to those of men? Obviously the latter. So no need to fret. Our purpose in life isn’t to bring down men. But wait! If we’re working on improving women’s rights doesn’t that push the whole narrative of ‘we stand for men’s rights too’ down the gutter?
Let us make it clear. Our movement stands for equality so If anyone is being disadvantaged on the basis of their sex, we stand against it. However relatively speaking, women suffer far more on the basis of their sex. That is a fact that is recognized by the feminist movement and this discrimination is exactly what we want to overcome.
Q.2 Don’t you think you already have the rights you are demanding? Ummm No???
What use are rights when they cannot be put into practice? Sure under the constitution women have the right to vote, a right to education, the right to ownership of property or businesses, even the right to join any profession we want, however, the real question is, to what extent do we actually get those rights?
Since we don’t get these rights, instead of pushing for the requirement of feminism, we should push for the requirement of a strong legal system, you say? We have all the rights under the constitution. If we don’t get them, we should go to court, you say? It’s not the society that is corrupt, it’s the legal system then isn’t it, you say?
Well, the legal system is ruled by the attitudes of society. Feminism aims to change the attitudes of society because going to court to fight an issue that most people close their eyes to will do us no good. Take those rape victims for example, that in so many cases aren’t able to get justice when they aren’t allowed to use DNA evidence to prove their cases. If our society was right in the head it would see how absurd that is.
What about the right to roam freely without the fear of harassment? Trust us. The list goes on and on. It’s never ending. So no. We do not have the rights we are demanding.
Q.3 Where is the strong and independent women?
The answer to that question is; Everywhere! Even after all the things we go through on a regular basis, we continue to push through.We are very perseverant. I think that alone shows utmost strength. As far as being independent? Independence doesn’t have to equal being alone.
It can simply refer to someone that is capable enough to lead their own course in life, and guess what? We all are capable enough to lead our own course, however, most of us don’t get the chance as society shoves its stereotypical roles down our throat every chance it gets.
Many of you are clearly baffled by the idea that if a woman suffers any kind of injustice, take forced marriage for example. She most likely won’t speak up against it. I mean it’s only logical that someone that is supposed to be strong would stand up for their rights, otherwise, it shows weakness doesn’t it? Wrong. There is not much you can do when you grow up hearing your opinion doesn’t matter.
That your voice isn’t heard. If any man were in the same situation as that, they’d probably take the same course of action. There’s not much of a choice now is there? It’s called forced for a reason. Yet so many women continue to live through that. Despite knowing that they have been wronged, they try to make the best of the situation and that shows true strength.
Q.4 What are you doing to prove that women are as capable as men? What are we not doing?
We are constantly fighting to prove a woman’s worth, her capability. Well, then why is it that most women opt for the easy way? The white collar jobs? The jobs in which you don’t have to get down and dirty? It’s because those are the jobs that hire us, Most Blue collar jobs don’t even take women seriously.
It’s only recently that jobs in the police forces or the military have started welcoming women. You can’t expect to go to sleep one day with something that has been predominantly male territory for decades and wake up the next day to find equal ratios of men and women. It takes time.
Another factor to keep in mind is that there is a clear line between biological differences and social differences. Physical strength is an attribute that can be divided into 50% nature and 50% nurture. Although men have the slight natural advantage when it comes to physical strength as compared to females, women still have potential to match that strength.
Q.5 Do you really think patriarchy is the problem?
Patriarchy is just one of the problems. Misinterpretation is another. ( No a feminist does not equal man hater) The article titled ‘ 10 important questions an average person wants to ask Pakistani feminists’ asked the question that if we have such a problem with men being the shot callers and that if we want to change the patriarchy, then why don’t we just take the decision making the spot?
Well, you see, that’s kind of the aim. Not that we want to call shots for men but we do want the ability to call our own shots. The feminist movement believes that the way to achieve this is by raising awareness of the injustices faced by women and by bringing about a change in attitudes. However, if you have any better suggestions, please do share.
Q.6 Why is there such hypocrisy in your movement? Excuse me? What?
This question doesn’t even deserve an answer. Nevertheless, I’m going to answer just for the sake of it. So the article written by Abubakr Cheema claimed that it was hypocritical of us to blame men for their behavior when women themselves are responsible for the upbringing of their children. First of all, not every woman is, a feminist and second there are so many other factors that contribute to the upbringing of a child. It’s not possible to 100% protect your child from outside influences.
Q.7 Why don’t you start a movement for Islamic rule?
That’s beside the point??? Religion is something that is very personal, even if you keep non-Muslims out of the equation. Every Muslim himself/herself has a different degree of faith and that is completely up to them. We have no right to question it.
Not to mention religion is a tool that is constantly being manipulated/ misquoted to suit the likes of those in power. Seems like the religion here tends to ignore what Islam says women can do and only focuses on what women can’t. It’s too personal and you cannot shove your beliefs down someone else’s throat. Feminism is independent of any religion.
Q.8 When do you think the need for feminism will be over?
When being women stops feeling like an insult. When women are not constantly underestimated. When women get the same life chances as men. When women are stopped being slut shamed. When a woman’s character isn’t determined by the clothes she wears.
When women can walk the streets without being harassed. When the wage gap closes. When women can exercise her right to say no without fear of reprisal. When we get the respect we deserve. Then there will be no more need for feminism.