Policing women, their morality, their clothes, bodies and their choices has become a national pastime of sorts. Men take it upon themselves to dictate and teach women what it is to be a “good woman”, according to them when in reality they have no experience or right to speak about what it means to be a good woman, unless they have been a woman in some past life of theirs.
One example of a man trying to police a woman’s behavior, with no right to do so, came to light when a girl talked about her experience with her cab ride in a widely circulated video, recently.
Even though the girl’s face was blurred and the cab service’s name wasn’t mentioned even once during the entire video, the fact that slut shaming has, unfortunately, become a never ending phenomenon in the country cannot be denied. In a way, it is good that there are no markers of identity for the woman speaking, or the cab service, because the issue is not about a Careem or an Uber or any other private cab service. Neither is it an issue faced by a Fatima from Defence in Karachi, or a Shazia from Bara Kahu in Islamabad. Policing women, trying to regulate how they are supposed to behave and reprimanding them for not presenting as what the man wanted, is an issue. It is NOT okay. Men have NO right to do so.
The girl in the video opened up about how she has always trusted the private cab companies through and through. This time around, however, the entire experience made her severely ‘uncomfortable’.
“I had an interview recently, I called a private cab just like always so I can go back home after getting done with the interview. The cab driver made me feel really uncomfortable. He first stared at me through the front mirror. I ignored him and began looking out of the window. After a while, he started asking immensely personal questions, I ignored him again”, she shared.
“When he didn’t stop, I asked him to stop the car and drop me off right there and in response blurted out, agar itni hee sharif ho tou ghar se nikalti hee kyun ho?” said the woman.
We have all heard phrases like, “if you don’t want the boys to gawk at you, don’t wear sleeveless”.
Or if you’re ever out for work late night, returning home and encountered a tharki person on the road you must have heard, “tou itni raat ko bahir nahi nikalna tha na“.
These misogynistic remarks from people all around us, including our family members and friends, contribute to constantly hammering into women’s heads that being born a woman is a curse.
Amusingly, harassing a lone girl is apparently not an un-sharifana act for a man to do but a girl going out of her house is.
Patriarchy, sexism, misogyny and the urge to regulate women has has become a part of our society, not just within Pakistan. It is a problem way beyond just our borders but wouldn’t it be better if we took the steps to change that, at least within our confines?
Whether you believe the video to be true or not, kudos to the girl for standing up for herself and other girls.
Here’s the woman narrating her experience with her harasser:
Cover Image Via: fashionfetishfete.org