Aurat March is an event that has taken the country by storm. Pakistanis got together across the board to ask for equality for all. However, the March has been met with severe criticism for those who are yet to unlearn internalized misogyny. One of these criticisms came from a Twitter user who thought that feminists are insulting women by being as vocal as they were during the March.
Sorry to say but it’s rubbish, are you feminists supposed to give respect to all ladies? U are not giving respect to them actually u r insulting them by disrespect urself. This is really insane in short LDL to this so called aurat march.#AuratMarch2019
— Haniyaملک🥀 (@HaniyaMalic) March 8, 2019
This Twitter user thought the above placards were absurd and disrespectful towards women themselves. However, the tweet comes from a place where it only further highlights how strong the stigma that revolves around menstruation truly is.
It must be remembered that periods are not a luxury. Sanitary napkins should not be taxed.
According to UNICEF, 79% women in Pakistan do not manage periods hygienically which is why it is important to highlight such an issue publicly. The placard speaks for all those women who can’t afford proper menstrual hygiene, contracting illnesses that can be avoided. It also highlights how it’s wrong to capitalize on something so essential to menstruating individuals.
Another Twitter user stepped forward to explain what the placards actually meant and how not everyone in the country can afford a sanitary napkin.
sanitary pads are expensive and not all women can afford them so they should be tax free and affordable. There's nothing offensive here just check your privilege first https://t.co/ceUH2mYjAB
— ♀️ (@alpharays_) March 8, 2019
But alas. The matter wasn’t laid to rest there and then. No, renowned actor, Shaan Shahid barged in with his opinion that was…well, shaky, to say the least.
Shaan replied to the tweet by saying he agrees with the girl but there are other ways to go about highlighting the issue.
I agree with your point but you have to understand my point as well , women should make a committee (not the money one )and represent these issues to any female minister I’m sure she will help bring the cost down ,this can be done in privacy that’s all🙏🏼 #respectfirst
— Shaan Shahid (@mshaanshahid) March 9, 2019
He suggested that an all women’s committee should be formed and be presented in front of a FEMALE MINISTER. LOL. Also, all this should be done in privacy because HAWW HAYE, Periods? Woh kya hote hain?
The super patient Twitter user tried to ask what was obscene about menstruation while agreeing that something MUST be done about the issue at hand.
sir with all due respect, why privacy what is obscene about it? And yes your idea is v good should be implemented on.
— ♀️ (@alpharays_) March 9, 2019
However, Shaan stated that there’s nothing obscene about menstruation, yet it should be a private matter.
Nothing obscene just pure respect ..privacy comes with respect it’s not discrimination!
— Shaan Shahid (@mshaanshahid) March 9, 2019
It’s taking me a while to decode this, it really is. Contradictions galore. So…it’s not obscene? But the issue shouldn’t be raised publicly? How do we raise awareness around menstrual health and hygiene if we don’t talk about it publicly?
Regardless, the tweet garnered attention and led to an important debate – the kinds of which are important, PUBLICLY, in order to raise awareness.
Some people pointed out how governments should subsidize sanitary napkins to increase accessibility.
In fact the governments should subsidize them to make them more affordable for the less privileged women.
— Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan (@zulfikarachi) March 9, 2019
Others highlighted how such issues need a larger platform in order to be highlighted.
Period poverty is a huge issue. An issue that needs to be addressed at health policy level in Pakistan.
— Nusrat Zahra (@nusrat_xahra) March 8, 2019
Yet another person wondered out loud how those who could not afford menstrual hygiene products were coping.
I guess such things which are of monthly use should be cheap. I wonder what village woman go through. We need to tax free them.
— Bilal A.Salimi 🎭 (@BilalSalimi91) March 10, 2019
With movies being made on menstruation and winning academy awards, why are we, as a nation, still bound by the concept of menstraution being a taboo topic? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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