To be a feminist … in Pakistan

Published Jan 03, 2013 02:24pm

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As I set about being an upwardly mobile, modern, young man in a big city I knew I had to be a feminist.

For one I’ve always been attracted to words, concepts and ideas starting with ‘femin’ as did the most fashionable ism in those days. For two, feminist gatherings provided the only opportunity to meet girls (and of course women and aunties), without having to spend money on chai samosa. And for three, I found feminism practically useful and wholly suited to my lifestyle.

I am, by nature a lazy person. OK, maybe it’s my choice but I like to believe my choice is also determined by nature. I view and value my laziness in a scientific way. I am living proof of Newton’s law which states that a man at rest will remain at rest until an outside force acts on him. I am also born without a single chivalrous bone in me. The two qualities put together made me a reluctant gentleman who is expected to treat females in prescribed manners – opening doors, not smoking in their presence, always picking and dropping them, never letting them pay, spreading one’s jacket over mud so the lady doesn’t soil her shoes … Feminism gave me the liberty to be my mean, miserly and Newtonly self. As a feminist I was required not to offer my seat to a standing woman only because of her gender, and it suited me alright. I wasn’t going to offer it anyway.

Above all, I found feminism liberating. I grew up in a nondescript locality in a small city where every woman was khala ji and had the right to slap you in the face if she heard you swear or caught you smoking; two of the khala jis ran home-based businesses to boost household income; where every older girl was a baji who could ask you to fetch a frog or two for her biology experiment and in return would let you watch her cut them up; where some girls wore burqa to college of their own wish, simply because they felt comfortable; where a woman used to routinely shout at and often beat up her husband in public, with her hands and once with slippers. There was the nonagenarian Amma Jantay who wore two-inches thick glasses, chewed coal, occasionally helped with household chores and once a month took off her only shalwar qameez in our courtyard to wash it while she bathed, and then lay down on a charpoy stark naked to dry herself while her clothes dried on the line.

I grew up with all these characters without trying to understand, much less judge or question them. But I couldn’t explain why a pretty girl would want to hide behind a burqa, a housewife would turn into a business‘man’, and a withering old woman would use my home as a naturalist resort? Their behavior seemed too low brow to my English-medium school mores. And the worst was, no one in the neighbourhood seemed to mind. The husband beater was considered as much in the wrong, but in a way right, as a wife beater. No more, no less. Both were administered the same advice: if you have to beat your spouse, do it in the privacy of your home. Gender was never mentioned as a factor in this or most other issues. The only gender difference I was aware of was that girls at a certain age stopped playing with boys.

When I heard the vision of big city feminists – of a girl child treated equally or better than her brothers, of a young woman making her decisions independently and confidently, of a mature woman in control of her life and helping others around her control theirs, of a female living her life to her full potential – I knew that they did not know the woman they were talking about lived in every house in my mohallah. And that liberated me from the embarrassment of owning all the khala jis, bajis and Amma Jantays of my childhood.

After all these years of association with people who eat and excrete feminism, however, I have come to the realisation that I don’t like their company. They are generally humourless people with a hooded outlook. They listen to every conversation and read every piece of writing, only to point out latent misogyny in the speaker or writer. They despise anything said in a lighter vein about women; jokes are absolutely forbidden. They see a woman only as the wronged party and not as a human being with her own aspirations, pleasures and pains, challenges, failures, and achievements. The ideology – if it can be termed one – has no resonance with my own adult experience. I have not known women in Pakistan to be oppressed, weak, or subjugated, any more than all Pakistanis are. If anything, some women in my circle of family and friends are stronger, braver, and more intelligent than men.

Neither have I known men in Pakistan to be oppressors and violators of rights of women, any more than they oppress and violate other men, transsexuals and children, when they have the will and means to do so. Conversely, I know men who share household chores, lovingly raise children, and treat men and women with equal civility.

Demanding ‘women rights’ before human rights is what dehumanises women. It is also a convenient ploy to ignore the wholesale violation of human rights in our beloved motherland which is not made up of fiendishly powerful men and miserably powerless women only. Seeing and painting one-dimensional reality is what puts genders on path of confrontation: if feminism stands for the rights of women, then we need another ism to safeguard the rights of weak, meek and geek men, yet another for persons of indeterminate sex … and who do they fight against?

My feminist friends borrow their ideology from another world, another reality. In my world, in my reality men, women and transsexuals have to unite against discrimination of any kind against any individual or gender if we are to make this a society of equals. In pyara Pakistan there is oppression galore. We can either fight against this overarching oppression by powerful men and women against the weak, or we can help the oppressors by pitting one gender against the other.

 


Masud Alam is an Islamabad-based writer, columnist and journalism trainer. He can be reached at masudalam@yahoo.com

 


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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Masud Alam is an Islamabad-based writer, columnist and journalism trainer. He can be reached at masudalam@yahoo.com

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments (63) Closed




Bilal
Jan 04, 2013 07:58am
Great article. One for the international press. I would love to see this or something similar published on the website of the Guardian, Independent etc.
Sami Awan
Jan 03, 2013 08:39pm
I want to say that the above writing is a very sorry piece of Sarcasm that should be written as the Failed Case of Sarcasm in the archives of Dawn for our future generations to learn. Also kindly everyone should took the above author as an Individual case of Pakistani man not a generalized one and yes most of Pakistani men will portray the same feeling but men like me dont want to argue on these issues at all and we are in this society as well and we respect our women and if there is someone feminist out there then it will not lower their respect in any case in front of us as after all healthy societies does have a difference of opinion and we must respect them at all costs. Also I request the author to study some feminist movements to understand that Feminism is not some generalized term and many Feminist political movements in the past were actually very beneficial for the Society in general as well.
Junaid Akhlaq
Jan 03, 2013 06:41pm
Sir, you are brilliant. You have managed to jot down the exact same things I've been seeing and pointing out, sometimes quite loudly, all my life. I might add one thing... women in our society are treated better than men, especially in their childhood and teens. I remember that in my class whenever we were punished, the boys got the beating and were made to stand throughout the period, but the girls were merely ordered to stand sans the beating :)
Aysha
Jan 04, 2013 06:41am
Men in Pakistan are exploited by "system"; but women are mostly exploited/abused by "men". Women in rural areas of Pakistan are treated lesser than human beings (especially by their husbands). They work hard in farms all day (just like men do), but their work is not considered "work". After working outside all day, they have full responsibility of taking care of children and all household chores. If I am not mistaken, 80% married women in interior Sindh, Punjab, villages of KP and Baluchistan are beaten up by their husbands. Also, dont forget, according Reuters report, Pakistan is worlds third most dangerous countries for women to live (Afghanistan is #1 and Cango is #2)
AHMAD
Jan 03, 2013 06:47pm
What is the purpose of this article. Who cares about your feelings and opinion, any way.
Syed Asghar Hussain
Jan 04, 2013 06:37am
Spot-on. It's our own practices based on the interpretation and twisting of things to our benefit that sends wrong signals to outside world about rights of women in Islam.
Vatsyayan
Jan 04, 2013 06:34am
Excellent Article..........Bravo, Kudos to u. :)
Muhammad Ahmed
Jan 04, 2013 09:46pm
Many children suffer utter humiliation in our society regardless of their sex and are not given basic rights like education, food, shelter and ability to develop self respect. There are specific economic reasons behind this injustice and considering their issues based on gender is kind of unfair. If all specific issues being faced by your female cousins, your friend and your cook's daughter are dealt as human issues then it will make more sense rather than viewing them from a myopic feminist standard. At the same time for each such female who succumbed to such pressures there are many who refused and stood up to their spouses and loved ones to achieve their basic rights.
deep
Jan 04, 2013 10:30am
Did not read the entire article - only the bit about the khala ji - feminism is not about women having the right to slap men when they smoke. feminism is about women being treated as just another person who has the right to smoke or drink or whatever without the custodians of society talking about loose morals and without the perverts thinking such women are easy.
mshaiq
Jan 04, 2013 07:56am
*Correction: deep rooted
abbastoronto
Jan 03, 2013 03:11pm
The greatest Feminist in history was none other than our beloved Prophet A.S. It did not hurt his ego to have a woman as a boss, and then to marry a woman richer and more powerful than himself. He used to rise in respect when his own daughter Fatima used to come in his presence. He is the only person in history to have defeated the Meccan Democracy, where the Demos, the anti-feminist 5% moneyed males rule over 95% rest (women, plebs, helots, slaves), the combination of Big Business Umayyads, Bankers Banu Abbas, trade monopolist infidels, and yehud. He then found the Secular Republic of Medina with the Covenant of Medina as the constitution, and told us how to do it in the Quran. Then he promulgated these non-negotiable Rights for women: 1. Freedom and exclusive right to make marriage contract and proposal 2. Freedom from housework (can demand wages) 3. Freedom from child-rearing (can demand wages) 4. Freedom from maintaining household (sole man's responsibility) 5. Freedom to run a business 6. Freedom to keep all employment income earned while married 7. Freedom to hold property, keep name, self 8. Freedom of Court Annulment for any reason (eg not satisfied in bed) 9. Freedom to divorce (via a Fixed Term marriage) 10. Freedom from summary divorce by men etc. Our Prophet A.S. was blessing to mankind.
akbar bajwa
Jan 03, 2013 09:33pm
Can not agree more with you sir, spot on, as usual
Samia Shoaib
Jan 03, 2013 07:07pm
Charming piece - especially the auntie-sketches - though you completely ignore the vulnerability of women who don't have the luxury of lounging on charpais in the safety of their own homes. As a delicately-framed, inbred mohajir, I'd say I qualify as weak in a dark alley - despite my sherni spirit. A physical discrepancy is the only thing worse than an economic one - although, as you suggest, the two are related - eg. I could afford a cab I wouldn't have to take the subway... I fully agree that women's rights should be re-framed as a human equality issue; personally I can't think of a more basic and universal need than the right to feel safe and until women can claim that, all else is moot.
Bilquis
Jan 03, 2013 09:45pm
Mr. Alam, I do believe you are right to some degree that we tend to borrow certain ideologies from another world and apply them here ;some feminists are very uptight and have very low tolerance on any type of subjugation of women; we should focus on basic human rights. However what your analysis misses out completely is the restrictions on most women for their basic rights - regardless of their status in society. I grew up in a family where my brother and I were treated quite equally - in some cases I would win as I was a girl and in some cases he would win as he was a boy. And I came to believe that this is how most households were. However, this is not the case. My own 19 year old cousin was married off (arranged, without her consent); my 22 year old cousin was not allowed to work after completing her studies as it made her less marriage material; my cook's daughter was taken out of school at class 7 as education makes women independent and he was worried if she studied too much, he wouldn't be able to find a boy who was that educated; What girls wear is a major concern of every parent; my friend is in an abusive marriage and can't return to her parents as it is unthinkable for her family to approve of a divorce;another friend of mine is in a worse off position - she is a very old fashioned girl and found out her husband is cheating on her - she wouldn't leave him as she thinks divorced girls are taboo. Abusive marriages are extremely common in Pakistan as women are told to just zip it up and bear it out. As the man gets older, he will become better. So, I do think that your article evades on the concerns mentioned above. I mean, with due respect except for the part of forced marriage, the above examples would not apply to men. And, this is what most feminist fight for. So despite the fact that a woman may shout loudly at her husband publicly, it does not negate that there are endless societal and culture pressure on women to sacrifice for the betterment of their families and are kept at a level below men in fear that they may surpass them (hence are not attractive to the men). Please note that there are exceptions - I am talking about the general situation. Most men want a traditional non working wife, and our society provides them with such women. These women are provided to the men at a high cost to our Nation - as these women perpetuate old biases against their own gender (like my friend with a habitual cheating husband) ensuring a regression rather than progression in women rights.
rich
Jan 04, 2013 10:10am
great article, simple and bold
Abid
Jan 04, 2013 08:28am
One of the best articles that I have read in quite some time. Couldnt agree more with the argument and conclusion. DO not Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V any ideology without considering local realities.
hindi
Jan 08, 2013 09:52am
Ah, I was wondering when the customary comparison with India would happen. Besides what exactly is your point? You know about rapes and illegal abortions in India because these things get reported, they're not covered up to create the illusion of being better (and "purer") than everyone else!! Also, Ali,are you implying that India is some sort of benchmark that the land of the pure hopes to emulate? Everyone has their own set of problems,sometimes these problems may even be common, yet at the end of the day everyone devices their own solutions. That being said, your data about India may be correct, but it still has nothing to do with the topic being discussed. I hope you're an exception rather than a generic Pakistani, because an out of context comparison with India shows a deep rooted self-loathing inferiority complex, coupled with a hatred for all of those who are different from you. If the majority of your countrymen/women think like you, then you are in-fact your own worst enemies, no need for external powers to weaken you...you're self sufficient on that count!!
jen
Jan 04, 2013 05:51am
What a pleasant surprise!!!! Finally, a sane voice among the mad crowd of feminists.
Pradip
Jan 06, 2013 10:22am
You are a one pony show...abbas of Toronto. Get a horse or a cow or whatever, for goodness' sake. Your cut and paste is making many nervous...
Mehvish
Jan 04, 2013 09:31pm
What rubbish. Women in Pakistan don't face more discrimination than men? What world do you live in? How many men cannot go out in the streets, at any time of the day, for fear of harrassment? How many men have acid thrown in their faces, compared to the number of women? How many men are told that they cannot work and actively participate in society because they will dishonour the family? How many men's characters have been unjustly tarred, or have been considered "used material" simply because they have gotten a divorce? How many men are raped, without the getting justice, compared to women? Yes, women are human. They face the same problems all humans in Pakistan do. But they face additional problems that are exclusive to them. Open your eyes.
Mo
Jan 04, 2013 07:06pm
It is always great learning to read about other's experience. Though, feminism should not be confused with women's rights or womanism. Feminism is selfish and derogatory to all others, at least that is the basis of the movement. Women's rights is about living with equal respect for women compared to others.
Ayra
Jan 04, 2013 03:05pm
I think u need to learn the meaning of feminism. It is about recognizing that half of human race has been discriminated, maltreated and dehumanized on the basis of their sex and feminism demands that a concerted actions are to be taken to rectify the error and contribute towards making a fair play and just society. History is evident to the fact women have been subjected to violence and prejudices coming out of the patriarchal society. Second, I think we need to think big and open our thinking horizon when we reflect on any subject. childhood experiences are not enough to make even an opinion.
naz
Jan 04, 2013 07:47pm
How many muslims are following these rules???????????praying 5 times and performing Huj is not enough .
Nina
Jan 07, 2013 09:42am
Mr.Masud Alam,Pakistan is a deeply misogynistic society .Your views are very one dimensional.Being a woman and having spent my adult life there ,I can safely say that the liberated ones exist in the less than one percent of our society.The majority that lives in the rural areas and cities have absolutely no voice,no rights and no value. Before setting out to write a ridiculous blog like this you need to venture out of our fancy little capital city !
mshaiq
Jan 04, 2013 07:47am
Well said, Bilquis.
Ali
Jan 04, 2013 04:05pm
Sigh, I wish you had understood Masud's article. First, equity does not mean treating two people equally. Yes, women and men have different roles- because they 'are' different. I believe it was Einstein who said something to the effect that if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will always be considered inferior to a monkey. Of course, a fish is not inferior to a monkey, it simply excels at swimming. Second, while I agree that women are marginalized and subjugated, almost all of the ills that they face can be addressed by the laws that "men" are supposed to have created. The superstructure of Feminism does little to add to meaningful legislation that will bring changes on the ground. Pray tell me which law, even in our broken little country, condones sawara, wanni, sexual harassment, rape, or discrimination against women. I also refer you to Article 25(3) of the Pakistan Constitution which specifically provides that while all citizens are equal before the law, nothing prevents the legislature from passing special provisions for women and children. Third, what most female Feminists fail to understand is that most men are scumbags. Even the gentlemen amongst us are no different, it's just that us gentlemen can control ourselves better than our other comrades. But here's the thing: no gentleman needs a law for him to treat his wife/sister/girl friend/colleague respectfully, and no law will prevent the scumbag from demeaning the women in his life. This is why I like the Islamic obligation on both men 'and' women to lower their gazes, and not just one party (and, coincidentally, the realism in Islamic law which recognizes the scumbags and therefore asks women to dress even more modestly). Having said all this, I am strongly in favour of affirmative action for women. They need to play a bigger role in our nation's economy, its politics, and most importantly in building the fabric of our society. However, I will not for one minute accept an ideology dreamed up by the urban secular elite white woman to patronize her third-world counterparts. Enough said.
Ali
Jan 04, 2013 03:45pm
I am sure the report is biased. Please go read about the rape reports in India. Please read the abortion of female child. Just look at the male vs female ratio in India is enough to put it at number 1. Or maybe abortions and rapes are not counted as abuse as in one case the price was set to 50,000 rupees.
Chandi
Jan 04, 2013 04:38pm
Masud, you are so full of yourself. Your column says Masud Works. Half of what you have written is about "you". We now even know which bones you have and which part of your brain in empty. The only part I agree with in your column is that you are "LAZY". If you were not lazy you would have bothered to think why did the Khala who layed naked on a charpoy had only one shalwar qameez. You would have discoverd there is something called "feminization of poverty". If you were not lazy you would have taken the trouble to ponder what caused the in your childhood "heaven" to beat up her husband. You would have learnt that she had a mental illness or she was sexually abused to brutalized by the same husband who she is hitting now. If you were not lazy you would have bothered to take some time to study that feminism did not start in Canada but in India an Egypt and in 1995 women of the world got together in China at the 4th World Confernece on Women and declared " Women's Rights are Human Rights". We work for women right and feminism because we are not lazy and we know women suffer while educated men like you choose to romanticize gender equality in a society that does not blink an eye when a girl is killed by her brother becasue she did not want to marry her cousin. So wake up and smell the coffee Lazy Man and read some Urdu newspapers and start counting how many Pakistani women and girls are killed " DAILY" -- that is why we feminists work and will continue to work.
Vicky
Jan 04, 2013 11:27am
@Aysha: Sorry to say, but you are indeed very much mistaken - about eveything you wrote in the last 4 lines.
saad rehman
Jan 04, 2013 11:26am
I'am from Chitral and I can assure you were not like the rest so please don't put us in the same category.
rich
Jan 04, 2013 10:16am
but are the muslim following the above?
AM
Jan 04, 2013 03:30pm
That was simply brilliant. Couldn't agree more with you.
ummemuhammed
Jan 04, 2013 12:39am
Asalamo Alykum, Great article. Although I have never witnessed this part, wives beating their husbands... And I will also not agree that women are not oppressed, but my stance is that women are oppressed by women more than men, e.g. husband-wife-Saas trio... Wsalam.
PP
Jan 04, 2013 02:50pm
When the writer took up his pen to speak on behalf of the women of Pakistan, he became a living example of the need for feminism. Yes, some feminists, like members of the general population, can be humourless when it comes to their deeply held beliefs. For every khala ji who beats her husband, there are many silent khala jis who are beaten or killed by their husbands. Is the author trying to deny that women face gendered violence that is uniquely meted out to them? Otherwise how do you explain that only poor working women walk around the streets and markets un-chaperoned in Lahore and Islamabad? Most of my feminist friends are equally appalled by religious, caste-based, or state endorsed violence as they are by violence against women in word and deed. Think about the condition of the poorest, most dispossessed man you know, and then think of the position of his wife. Writing this kind of fairytale nonsense the week after a women in a neighbouring country was brutally raped and murdered is particularly distasteful. When was the last time he heard of a 23-year-old man being violated and killed simply for sexual kicks?
shahbazyusuf
Jan 04, 2013 02:37am
Good thoughts. Plus one for human rights in Pakistan. For all citizens.
Faisal
Jan 04, 2013 03:09pm
Read entire.
Muhammad Ahmed
Jan 04, 2013 10:05pm
Finally, words of common sense. I am surprised that Dawn publishes such type of opinions which clearly describe the experiences and feelings of majority with central views. The issues of women suffering are indeed human issues and should be dealt by all of us. We indeed need to review them with the right lens to actually get to solutions rather than seeking solutions based on ideology which really is not applicable to our society.
ali rizvi
Jan 04, 2013 07:01am
an excellent account of a "feminist" in a very "un-feminist". i like the way you have put up feminism of these day...
Muhammad Ahmed
Jan 04, 2013 09:53pm
Yep.. Reuters understands Pakistan better than local people living daily lives. Congratulations for developing a technology that tells you what is happening in households of 80% of interior areas where as we still cannot conclusively confirm the total population of the country by actually spending billions on census. I am kind of skeptical about such stastics which have emotions attached to them rather than factual information. There is indeed mistreatment of women but there is mistreatment of all elements of society because of scoio-economic reasons and looking at that problem with an incomplete lens will just make it worse.
Zia
Jan 03, 2013 05:30pm
"Demanding
MAP
Jan 03, 2013 05:27pm
I feel privileged to read this page. It turned out to be an act of illumination.
rukhsanashama
Jan 04, 2013 07:19am
Well, all the examples you gave of your childhood mohallah, do not, in any sense qualify as women who were accessing their rights-as well as-men do. Just wanted to clarify, that when feminism talks about women rights, it actually reiterates that women rights are human rights and the fact that women are humans too. Yes, men are marginalized and discriminated against too, horrendous crimes happen against them too; Shahzeb's case in point, for instance. But when we talk about women becoming equal, it is because of the fact that women from all classes are suppressed and marginalized in one form or the other. And men are not the ones to take the sole blame, even women are part of the structure and culture of oppression. The point is women and men are given different roles by the society, and on the basis of these roles they are judged, norms and values are established keeping in mind the same thing. Tell me, why only women are given as a commodity to settle disputes; sawara, wanni cases. why, honour of a family is lost when a woman marry out of her own choice? and believe me my list of questions of hypocritical system can just go on and on... Yes boys are raped, transsexuals go through horrendous forms of violence...But who does that even in case of boys and transsexuals, Mr. Masud Alam, men or women??? I wished you had understood the essence of feminism and wouldn't have judged the philosophy through your encounters with few personalities, only...Sigh!!
SA15
Jan 04, 2013 07:31am
Thank you so much for pointing it out that this is part of our religon. Giving it terms like feminism and women rights does not change the fact that women will always have a higher status than men. It is because of men only, that women have had to rise up on their own and demand the respect they truly deserve.
Ali
Jan 03, 2013 04:50pm
My response to Feminists who take themselves too seriously is the same as that of Rhett Butler to Scarlet O'Hara: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn"
Sohaib
Jan 03, 2013 04:19pm
finally someone sees through all the woman's rights. thumbs up!
Kausik
Jan 04, 2013 11:32pm
we in subcontinent have to learn a lot from west about feminism and equal respect.we live in socities where Rapes,honor killings are common place and,equal schooling and education is not tolerated using voilence shows how intolerant socities we are and need to change our political structure.
naz
Jan 05, 2013 12:00am
How clueless are you? You live in a country a little girl got shot because she advocated education for girls
Pradip
Jan 05, 2013 12:46am
Very well thought and even better constructed critique. Kudos Bilquis! The only thing, I would point out in favor of the author is that, he actually is with you. His writing style, outwardly somewhat blithe, and to me wonderfully full of wry humor, is looking askance only at what he perceives to be a confrontational attitude of feminism -he is not denying the ingrained injustice but pointing out that it is a part of the big panoply of abuses of the human kind in general.
Chandi
Jan 05, 2013 02:45am
I see the bloggers like to kick others for their views but can not take a punch themselves. Shallow as I expected.
Ejaz
Jan 05, 2013 05:05am
what you've written in reaction shows your obsession with feminism. Don't forget Shahzaib had to die protecting a women! like the writer said rightly, it's human rights that we should stand up for not women or men! it discriminates!
Faiza Hassan
Jan 05, 2013 06:34am
I dont understand the writer's point of view here....what his ideology? he restricts women's role as khalaji , amma jhantay , muhallah's anuty's only...where these women's are only restricted to do the execution part of men's decision ...where women's wants equality he thinks its a foreign propoganda....... why dont all the so called "Liberals" understand women want equal treatment not the lead...simple isn't?
Imran
Jan 05, 2013 07:11am
A.A The thoughts which i you have shared, i am agreesing that we should help out the weak not any gender which is distracting our society.
wordyspread
Jan 05, 2013 07:14am
Look at all these dislikes in the comments. Can't wait to leave this country for good. Country is filled with hypocrites.
wordyspread
Jan 05, 2013 07:19am
Yea, don't forget the right to stone women over minor crimes, the right to rape other women who don't believe in 'Allah', the right to rage wars over ideology.
xayde
Jan 05, 2013 07:27am
Feminism about giving women EQUAL political, economic and social rights which unfortunately our society has collectively failed to do. A woman is a woman's worst enemy because we let men and traditions shape our decisions and don't stand up for our rights. I also couldn't agree more with comments of Bilquis and Rukhsana. It shows that will people like you - we still have hope.
naina
Jan 05, 2013 09:27am
Are you serious? This is satire right? "seeing and painting one-dimensional reality"
rukhsanashama
Jan 05, 2013 09:36am
Please update your research Mr. Vicky. Domestic violence is the commonest form of violence against women. And please also know that violence is not only in physical sense, horrendous forms of violence against women happen in psychological and emotional sense (of course at home). and the research Aysha has quoted is actually an authentic research!
Singh
Jan 05, 2013 09:44am
I read on, but wasn't expecting the article to be so interesting. It is all real.
abbastoronto
Jan 06, 2013 10:02pm
I hope it is making Muslim men nervous. They have to give the women their rights under the Sharia.
Shahan Ali
Jan 07, 2013 09:07am
I agree, the writer appears to have no clue regarding what exactly is feminism or feminist theory. But I feel slowly Pakistan is improving the laws for the protection of women which in turn, in future, will empower women. Currently, the women representation in the parliament is a good sign that in few years it has achieved 22 percent representation (agreed its peanuts!). Our target should be 50 percent representation in the parliament, which other countries such as Sweden, have achieved over a large period of time. With such equality, more laws can be made for the protection and empowerment of women.
abbastoronto
Jan 05, 2013 06:07pm
Every Muslim man obeys these laws. He who does not is not a Muslim.
Nadya123
Jan 05, 2013 07:28pm
I dont know where in Pakistan you grew up but I havent seen it. You are no where close to being a feminist, I doubt you even know what it means. Feminism is a collection of movement and ideologies that aim at defining, establishing and defending equal polictical, economic and social rights of women. No one in Pakistan is fighting for women to have more rights than men. Did you miss the news on Malala and the so many other news articles published on closing down of girls schools in pakistan, women aid workers getting killed and abused etc etc. Sure men face oppression too but that does not mean that women and men are equal in pakistan. Have you ever tried asking a women what its like? Its impossible to do anything without constantly being judged by men in our society, who limit our roles to being just housewives and care takers of men. We are hardly allowed to make our own decisions, dads, bothers and uncles consider it their right to decide for us. You need to go to the real Pakistan, to the villages where honor killing is normal practice, move your lazy behind and actually go see real women in Pakistan, talk to them, hear their stories...and you will know.
Khan Bhai
Jan 09, 2013 06:31am
Having grown up in Lahore, I think one gets a dose of liberalism whether you like it or not. My grandmother use to say that we may call ourselves Sunni but our actions are those of Sufi. We go to darbars, we have our peer fakirs etc. But Masud things took a nose dive during Zias time. He imposed his views on the general populous while drinking alcohol in private. I am proudly feminist having a strong mother figure, a strong grandmother, sisters who are individuals with independent thought and careers. So feminism lives in Pakistan but it need to be reiterated so to remind people what is really ours.