As a child, one concept that I picked up on was that girls are to be seen and not to be heard. This was often repeated by adults around me. I remember asking my family and they didn’t really make much of it. Some members tried to justify what it meant, others simply did not care.
However, I continued to wonder – what threat could a child pose to adults that they made them want to condition the child into being silent.
I had boys in the family who could be as loud as they wanted to be. I began to realize that this only applied to girls. Why were the boys not being taught the same? Were they supposed to grow up and talk back to others? Was being a boy inherently better?
For a while, I decided that I would be a boy too. I started talking like a boy. I dressed like a boy. However, I was still told the same. Being a rebel without a cause, I disobeyed this baseless rule that was lenient to one sex while strictly applied to the other.
As I grew up, the rules grew in number. The rules for the boys, stayed the same.
I remember thinking that this seemed a bit out of balance. It seemed to reflect inequality. I began talking to other like-minded girls. I also began what I deemed as important research back then.
Amidst this research, I stumbled upon this funny concept of feminism.
The more I read, the funnier it became. It talked about the assertion of equal rights for both men and women in all spheres of life.
“What rubbish,” I thought to myself. “Men and women aren’t equal. Who writes this garbage?”
I carried on reading though, just to have a good laugh.
“Feminism,” I snorted. “How can it talk about equality when the name implies that it is heavily biased towards women.”
Almost immediately, my query was answered. I remember reading about how movements that call for equality are named after those parties that are suffering from that inequality in the first place.
If you’re trying to protest against the inferior stature given to women, just to get them on par with the level men are at, you would want the movement that promotes this to be named aptly.
“Okay,” I thought to myself. “Maybe this feminism stuff isn’t complete garbage.”
I guess what really drove the point home, apart from the dozens of articles that sort of screamed common sense, was that for eons, MANkind was considered an all encompassing term, but as soon as a movement tried to shelter men under the umbrella of feminism, everyone lost their collective minds.
“Maybe this isn’t so stupid after all,” I thought.
Over the years, it started making sense. I saw inequality everywhere. Whether it was the freedom that was given to women to work, to marry or to dress the way they wanted, or simply the right to exist without being ogled, threatened, harassed, raped, killed (or all in that very order, in some cases – ) there was something wrong in the way we were going about our daily lives.
Today, feminism is associated with “modern liberals.”
Apparently, this group of women and men who want equal rights pose as the biggest threat to our way of living in our backward, flaw ridden bubbles. This group, that consists mainly of new thinkers who want a world where women can simply coexist without being murdered in the name of honor by their families, pose as a threat to keyboard warriors who are quick to raise fingers at the concept of feminism instead of the backward practices that take place in our society.
This group, which I now proudly associate myself with after getting my facts straight (like A LOT of us need to) is not the problem.
If you believe that women should be forced to stay at home when they would rather work, you are the problem. If you believe that a woman deserves to be slaughtered in the name of honor because she married someone she wanted to, you are the problem. If you believe that women should be seen and not heard, if you believe that women do not deserve to walk shoulder to shoulder with men, then you are most definitely the problem.
If you believe that a concept that gives a voice to the oppressed should be ridiculed and put a stop to instead of the acts it speaks up against – you are not only the problem, you are, perhaps, beyond all reason and beyond saving.
“What a Western concept,” a guy I knew retorted while decked head to toe in denim shorts and a tight shirt.
I clearly remember wondering why feminism was deemed to be a Western concept and not just plain common sense. I mean, the logic behind it seemed sound and the aim seemed pretty straightforward without having any particularly outrageous hidden agendas.
The guy continued talking, with his keen observational skills, “we are an Islamic country”, he said.
We are. So let’s start acting like one.
Cover image via: woman-of-pakistan.blogspot.com