It happened again. After Germany beat Brazil in the FIFA World Cup 2014 semi-final, remarks on how 'Germany raped Brazil' were everywhere.
Does a rapist ‘win’ the person he rapes?
Likening a sports defeat to ‘rape’ is so common now that those who call someone out for trivialising the torture of scores of women go through are instead told that they are being killjoys.
Attitudes like this promote rape culture by equating it with achievement - but the problem extends well beyond this one word. There is a considerable difference between the language spoken by women and the one spoken about women. Small wonder then that we live in such a sexist society, because the words/phrases used for women are designed to ensure just that.
Women find themselves a common reference every time verbal abuse is hurled, be it in a term mentioning a sister, a mother, a daughter or a female dog.
That’s on the streets. But even at home, ever considered why adults are used to calling their kids 'baita' (which technically means a male child) for both boys and girls, but never happen to call a boy a 'baiti'? And even if it slips out by mistake, it's taken as an insult to the boy.
Our leaders reflect the same attitudes:
Recently, Federal Minister Khawaja Asif asked Pervez Musharraf to ‘be a man’ and face the charges levelled against him.
In another instance, Tahir ul Qadri was adamant in having people know that he wasn’t ‘wearing bangles’ following the Model Town incident.
Here, we see once again, the stigmatisation of women stemming from and supporting the idea that weakness and the inability to take a stand are synonymous with being a woman. While this leads to boys growing up with deeply ingrained tendencies toward sexism, girls often get bogged down with severe inferiority complexes.
All this is rooted in the insecurities a patriarchal society holds against women from a very early age, and most of these biases are entrenched in our language.
To women who work hard in order to gain some respect in Pakistan, such language always contains an underlying message:
You may be a scientist, a doctor or an engineer but ultimately, you’re a woman, and all we have to offer you is narrow mindedness and bigotry.