No one in the past could’ve imagined all the opportunities we have now and the avenues that have been opened up because of the digital age. As the internet becomes more and more ingrained in the Pakistani society, we see lots of changes happening simultaneously. And it’s finally time to step into the future and shun some of the age-old taboos and traditions. This month, Pakistan’s very first undergarments ad aired on TV and we realized…wow. Things are finally moving ahead.
Here are some things that are still so wrong and things we need to accept in life so that everyone can live in peace, instead of pieces:
1. Inter-faith marriages
It’s a reality, it’s happening, and it’s allowed. We must be mindful of the fact that people can fall in love and want to marry out of love. And it’s not just in Pakistan, but all across the globe, as well. It’s important that the stigmatization stops for a more tolerant society.
2. The idea that “boys are better than girls”
We’ve progressed enough as a society to be okay with daughters being born. But, sadly, you’re wrong. There are still hundreds of cases around the country where families either keep having girl-children in hopes of a boy (not realizing the sheer living cost of it all) or terminating pregnancies.
Daughters-in-law are still being pressurized to bear children (not realizing the fact that it’s a man’s genetics that determine the gender of the baby). And wives are still being divorced over not being able to ‘give’ the family a male heir.
3. Sexualizing a woman’s body
There was a time when women weren’t allowed to show their belly button because it was just too sexual. Imagine that.
Decades later, women’s clothing choices along with their bodies are still making headlines. Perhaps it’s time to move forward. It’s time to monitor and restrict the male gaze instead of telling women what they can/can’t wear.
4. Sexualizing women’s undergarments
Like their bodies, a bra strap is just a bra strap.
Undergarments are a daily part of women’s’ lives. They provide them comfort and allow them to maneuver their day to day lives. Why must we still pretend that they are sexual? Why are we okay with hanging men’s boxers and chaddis out to dry but have to hide away our lacy lingerie in the bathrooms or under another piece of clothing? Let them breathe, yaar.
5. Mental Illnesses
While many of us are ignorant, mental illnesses keep affecting thousands of Pakistanis every day. We need to break free of the stigma of seeking help and we need to help each other out. Because if we don’t, who else will?
6. Speaking out against rape
It’s already beyond sad that our society still perpetuates victim shaming and blaming. We make the victims feel as if it’s their fault that they fell prey to the hideous perverseness of the perpetrators. And not just rape, but it’s also time we acknowledging the fact that marital rape is also a thing and it’s very real.
We’re entering a whole new year, but we still force our children into marriage to keep the sanctity and izzat of the family intact. Whether it is boys or girls, we make them break up with their significant others and force them into arranged marriages, ensuring a life of unhappiness. What’s worse, we don’t allow them to get to know the person they are marrying. And cousin marriages…thank you Farhat Ishtiaq.
If two people aren’t happy with each other, why force them to be together? Whether or not children have been born out of the relationship. We force women to stay with abusive husbands for the same reason we get them married: izzat. What’s so izzatdaar in forcing your daughter to get physically and sexually abused by the same man over and over again and turning a blind eye toward it?
9. Girls wanting to have some fun
If a girl wants to get an education, build a career or just wants to go out and have a good time with her friends, where is the downside, exactly? It should be a matter of pride, and not an existential crisis for parents.
10. Boys being allowed to show emotion
Unless we think of boys as these aliens who have the emotional range of a teaspoon, they’re allowed to feel. We shun boys out for expressing themselves, letting out a few tears, or literally just feeling. They’re humans, too.
11. Genders beyond “Male” and “Female”
It took a two-minute long video of brutal treatment of transgenders for us to even acknowledge that they aren’t being treated right. Aleesha had to die for us to realize that they are being subjected to highly unfair treatment.
12. Collaborations with India
Bollywood movies are fun. We all like them and despite what we may say in public, we all watch them. Same goes for all the music. Let’s encourage the culture of cross-border collaboration to support our own industry.
13. Women drivers
Because Diana Driving School ♥
14. Men being forced to be “good” drivers
Stigma around men being good at everything is harmful to them. And that needs to stop. Because everyone should know how to drive.
And women being told they’re lousy drivers.
With the rise in sexual assaults against minors, children need to know what is right and what is wrong, and the difference between good touch and bad touch. They NEED to be aware of what wil happen to their bodies and how to protect themselves.
And the basic right to live and let live.
Cover image via: AFP
This post has been sponsored by IFG Undergarments.