The placards and posters that women carried on the Aurat March are still being debated. It comes as a surprise to many how women asking for their rights can cause such a backlash.
Among the many posters that have recently been generating heated debate is the “mera jism, meri marzi” poster
This particular poster was able to highlight the demise of mankind for several people. Let me explain how. When women ask for their rights, the automatic assumption is that all they want to do is negate the traditions, leave religion, and in the case of this particular poster; it reflects the woman wanting to walk naked on the streets.
It is surprising how people, when they see someone talking about basic rights, think that offering those rights will lead the society astray.
The control over women’s bodies has historically been a very contentious topic
Historically, women have been policed and forced to wear certain types of clothing every time there have been incidents like men being unable to control themselves. The media’s constant blaring images showing that only a certain type of woman’s body is desirable has definitely added to that.
This “control” over their own bodies can be about something as petty as getting a haircut. Many women also constantly have to seek permission before getting their haircut. They don’t get to decide what they would feel comfortable in wearing.
It mostly is not about larger phenomenons. Individuals feel entrapped by these little steps on the way, which eventually shape the larger phenomenons in life.
So, this guy in Lahore decided to flash the ladies sitting in a van and the reaction from some men is what feeds the culture of misogyny and oppression of women
FLASHING, SEXUAL HARASSMENT incident: Today a friend in lahore was in her university van. The van had stopped to wait…
While the innate reaction of many individuals should be disgust and rebuking the incident, here is what a number of men had to say
Many “theorists” would argue that when women ask for their rights, a lot of people automatically assume the result to be somewhat similar of what men do with those rights
And quite frankly, that is a bit scary thought to entertain.
So when people saw this picture, they automatically associated it with women doing the same with this right. One would question if they realize that they just justified a heinous act based on the assumption that women want to do the same if granted the right, again suppressing the rights of a woman based on the activities of a man.
Here, take a look at these comments:
We have seen recently with the Aurat March and the Girls on Bikes rally that women are trying hard to reclaim their space in the public sphere
However the response of the general society has been that of demeaning these women and looking at it as a symbol of western imperialism and women getting out of hands. The mere reference to their rights has managed to initiate a debate so crucial that people still cannot digest the simplicity and the aptness of the posters held by these women.
And why is it that the first reaction is to retaliate the thought and mock their demands?
Argument just for the sake of an argument will only create further cleavages. How hard is it to understand that if women are not performing these tasks, it is because they haven’t been provided the space? It is not because they do not want to.
Maybe if we try and understand why certain aggrieved groups are asking for their rights, our acceptance for what they ask for will increase.
cover image via Pakistan Speak / Facebook