These Taboos In Our Pakistani Society Need To Be Questioned

By Sajeer Shaikh | 11 Jan, 2016

Certain topics and issues have long been considered a taboo in our society. They didn’t make it to the usual dinner time conversations, nor were they ever included at gatherings when our elders met and had their discussions. The younger generation, however, is starting to question these taboos. In order for us to evolve and have a more developed mindset, we need to continue this movement and speak up regarding these issues.

Mental Health

Mental illnesses have long been avoided in our society. They’re wrongly associated with madness, regardless of how small or severe the illness might be. The way our society sees it, a man showing signs of depression or anxiety is termed to be weak or feminine (since we’re all a bunch of sexists, too) and a woman seeking medical help for the same is considered

a) unfit for marriage (because obviously, women are being prepped like goats for slaughter and this is all they’re good for, enforcing the aforementioned sexism)

b) straight up psychotic or

c) seeking attention

A society where someone trying to seek therapy is termed pagal, ridiculed and made a joke of is a society that urgently requires a broader perspective.

Mental health is directly linked to one’s well being and it’s about damn time that we give it the importance it deserves. And, to anyone who has depression, anxiety or any other mental illness, stay strong and keep fighting.

Source: Wifflegif
Source: Wifflegif

Divorce

Couples in abusive marriages will be told in our society to tolerate violence and infidelity, all in the name of izzat. There is no izzat in living a miserable life, or in trying to make martyrs out of those you love. Divorcees are also looked down upon and are even considered failures. Why is this so?

Divorce is not shameful, wrong or something that reflects on a person’s character. Things have a way of not working out some times, and it’s high time we accepted that, instead of encouraging the ones we love to lie down and take what life throws their way with open arms.

Source: Tumblr
Source: Tumblr

Sex

Parents don’t need to yell from rooftops about sex, but they can at least explain how it works, the risks associated with it and the necessary precautions. We aren’t that progressive and we live within certain religious constraints, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist in our society. The least you can do is try to be open about it and stop acting like sex is a bad word.

Source: Birds and The Bees by Tom Lindsay
Source: Birds and The Bees by Tom Lindsay

Sexual Violence

We live in a society where a rape victim is still considered to be the root cause of the incident. They are then silenced by families because log kya kaheinge. That is, perhaps, one of the vilest things a family can do. Also, rape victims are never asking for it. If they were, it wouldn’t be rape. They are called victims for a reason – they have been wronged. Why, then, does society push them into the shadows and instill the fear of what others will say?

The same goes for harassment. A girl, or even guy for that matter, will be told by the family itself that he or she must keep the incident under wraps. And then, of course, since we don’t believe in therapy either, we expect them to magically heal and become stronger. We don’t let them report it, because log are always waiting to gossip. Our justice system rarely sides with victims either, especially if the perpetrator has connections. Where does the victim go?

Rape and harassment are real issues. The victims have to live with mental wounds and bruises. They cannot be shoved at the back of dimly lit rooms in order to erase the incident itself.

Source: Wifflegif
Source: Wifflegif

Abuse

Abuse, in any form, is not okay. As Pakistanis, we’re accustomed to taking the occasional chappal or hanger beating from our parents. However, when that abuse leaves physical and mental scars, that’s where lines need to be drawn.

Victims of abuse, be it in a marriage or by one’s parent, are also silenced. This silence, on the victim’s part, roots from fear of the abuser. As far as families are concerned, they’re either afraid of being judged by society or fear triggering further abuse as a reaction to speaking out.

Legally, abuse is often brushed off as andar ka maamla. Numerous cases go unreported and those that do get reported are not registered. How is this okay and why do we not talk about this?

Source: Wifflegif
Source: Wifflegif

The Trans Community

Transgenders are associated with begging and prostitution – a stereotype that is reinforced by the media. Imagine living in a society where your community has been disfigured and distorted to the extent where a large chunk of people doesn’t even consider you human. It is no secret that the trans community faces every sort of discrimination. However, they have survived in the midst of our unwelcoming eyes and that, itself, is inspirational.

Source: Daily Pakistan
Source: Daily Pakistan

Menstruation

Can we please, collectively, agree on the fact that periods are a natural part of a woman’s life cycle and should not be treated like something to be ashamed of? A lot of us were taught that periods are ‘sacred’ and we shouldn’t talk about them in public, especially in front of men. Why is that so?

Men know about them, women know about them, kids are taught about them, so who exactly are we kidding? Let’s just agree to grow the fuck up and be less insecure about something that half the world’s population goes through.

Source: Giphy
Source: Giphy

 

Asking Questions About Religion

Numerous people have questions about the religion they are born in and we need to realize that it’s not blasphemous to ask questions out of genuine curiosity. Why do we thirst after booking people in for blasphemy before realizing that we, too, don’t have the answers to their questions. And if asking questions really is blasphemous, why isn’t Zakir Naik carrying truckloads of people into prison cells for attending his seminars?

A lot of times, children, teenagers and even adults have questions. What they need is clarity, not someone telling them to shut up or they’ll go to hell. That’s not how religion works. In fact, questioning something that doesn’t make sense only helps in improving your understanding and knowledge. Wouldn’t that make your faith stronger?

Source: Live Journal
Source: Live Journal 

Addiction

Addiction, when it is not being treated as a skeleton in the closet, is automatically linked with weakness. As a result, addicts don’t come forward with their issues. If they do, there is no one to address them. Addiction is a method of coping when one finds no other way out. It requires rehab, another taboo that is often brushed aside. We need to realize that losing someone to addiction is avoidable and proper therapy is not an embarrassment. In fact, it is one of the ways we can prevent relationships, homes and people from breaking.

Source: Tumblr
Source: Tumblr

Obviously, these aren’t the only taboos that exist in our society, but it’s high time we started questioning them. Let’s try to move past log kya kaheinge, overcome the fear of ab kya hoga and think selfishly about the mental and physical well-being of our own selves and the ones we love.

Perhaps, one day, we will be able to see beyond stereotypes and what society says, and use our own logic to distinguish between right and wrong.

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