Before jumping into these questions that I have heard repeatedly as a Pakistani feminist, let’s go over some facts.
- In 2011, a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll ranked Pakistan as the third most dangerous country in the world for women after the finding that 90 percent of women face domestic violence at some point in their lives. Additionally, Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission stated that more than 1000 women and girls are victims of honor killings every year.
- In 2014, War Against Rape (WAR) stated in a report that four women were raped everyday in the country throughout 2014.
- In 2015, during an event organised by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP,) legal expert Aftab Alam stated that up to 98 percent of the cases filed by acid attack victims remain undecided because of the loopholes that exist within our legal system.
Keeping these facts and figures in mind, let’s move forward and answer some basic questions about feminism and, hopefully, get through to the unfortunate few who refuse to see logic, even if it’s blatantly staring at them in the face.
If a woman hits a man, a man can hit back, right?
Well, judging by the domestic violence stats, you guys are already hitting us a whole lot. Despite that, the first thing you can think of regarding this movement is more violence against women? Feels like we’ve stumbled upon a huge societal flaw.
In any case, no one should be hitting anyone. But fighting fire with fire shouldn’t be the first thought that comes to your mind when talking about feminism.
Why does feminism advocate for nudity?
Feminism advocates the right to choose. You can’t force your choices, your mindset or your religion on someone else. Feminism asks for the freedom to allow us to make conscious choices about OUR bodies – whether we choose to drape ourselves in scarves or leave the house in jeans. One more thing – neither of these two women will be ‘asking for it.’ That needs to e understood as well.
Why don’t women teach their kids to respect both genders?
So I don’t know if you know this, but a parental unit generally consists of more than just a mother. Fathers need to set an excellent example too. Sab maa ke upar nahi aata.
And yes, there is definitely a toxic culture that exists where boys are automatically given more importance, but we need to start from our generation to make those changes, right?
Why aren’t women doing jobs meant for men, then?
Because, as much as we would love to, women are held back financially, and often academically, and due to societal expectations and binding traditions – many of which, when challenged, lead to the same women being degraded. Vicious cycle, nahi? Despite this, we have our women paving their way into the world of sports, making us proud at the Oscars and battling it out every day in the police force. We’re trying, trust me.
If you want to stand up for yourself, why don’t you just go ahead and do it?
Um. Toh hum jab feminism ki baat karte hain and try to unite as a group, is that not what we’re doing? And are you not objecting to that as well? Also, do we not have years of misogyny, alongside internalized misogyny, to combat? Zara achi tarah soch ke batana.
Is feminism an anti-male movement?
Many a scorned mansplainer will say that feminism is an anti-male movement. See, here’s where you’re wrong. The basic definition is a clear indication of the establishment of equality. But in order to establish that equality, we need women to have the same standing as men in society, which they, unfortunately, do not. It’s not about pulling men down. It’s about raising women up to the point where men already exist.
If it’s about equality, why don’t feminists talk about men?
Dear men – we do advocate for you guys, if you bothered to look past the cloud of ignorance that clouds your vision. We are here for men that are raped, harassed or made to feel like shit in general. But scene yeh hai, you guys are so damn busy making everything about yourselves, (#NotAllMen, of course) that you often use this argument when we’re advocating for women. Your issues are just as valid. Just don’t try to impose your narrative every time we talk about women. Easy hojao.
Women are already so empowered. What more do they want?
Hmm. I don’t know. Not having our infants, girls and women raped would be nice. If acid crimes could drastically decrease overnight, that would be great. A general lack of molestation would be downright delightful. Being able to walk down streets without being gawked at would be pretty decent. Society not trying to undermine the one movement that asks for equality, while being completely oblivious to facts, would be a great place to start.
What is the need for feminism, really?
It takes a certain level of privilege to be able to say this. If you think feminism is an unnecessary movement, you either lead a sheltered life – one that has been devoid of abuse, harassment, rape or any form of oppressive crime – or you’ve been conditioned to believe that you’re inferior. It’s unfortunate that people feel this way. But feminism is important.
The need for feminists to unite only exists because atrocities in our society exist. Just look at the facts stated at the beginning of the article. Why, then, is a movement that strives for equality so harshly opposed?
Fine, people have questions. But when those questions turn to strict allegations, backed with zero research, we hit a dead end. If men, and even some women, want us to accept these allegations with docility, please keep in mind – that is exactly one of the things we’re trying to combat. If the refusal to bend over backwards to please misogynistic elements in our society makes us a movement that is disliked – we’re not looking for fans in the first place. We’re just looking for equality. And with each passing year, we’ll get there.
Cover image via brecorder.com