A Day in the Patriarchal Republic of Pakistan

A Day in the Patriarchal Republic of Pakistan

 

Disclaimer: What follows is about a man and a woman alone in a vehicle: are you sure you want to read further?

The heavy clouds of grey smoke are not enough to shield me from the piercing eyes of the rickshaw driver. No- he is not a Pathan, or a Sindhi, or whatever ethnicity you are prejudiced against. His appearance is not relevant- only his genitals are. And so are mine. He stares at me like I’m a plate of Biryani and he’s been hungry for days, months, maybe even years. I am probably my father’s property, but there’s no harm in checking out a property, now is there?

I catch him looking in one of the several strategically-placed and unnecessary mirrors. Reflexively, I re-adjust the dupatta on my head, aiming to cover as much of my body as I can: no one must know I have breasts, or hair, or skin.violence-women-640x480

Fortunately, the ride (read: torture) is over soon. I pay the driver, trying to avoid his grasping fingers from touching mine.

Disclaimer: What follows is about a woman being a ‘bitch’: are you sure you want to read further?

I reach my university. What a wonderful place, where everyone stands equal (except those with better grades, obviously. They are much better human beings).  I sit with a group of (male) friends in class, waiting for the teacher to arrive. They tell the most hilarious jokes. I am such a good sport. I laugh at each one of them. I understand all their problems- yes, girlfriends are such a hassle, why do they mind being cheated on? Yes, I am quite sympathetic.

Until I finally have enough.

Until I grow tired of explaining why feminism is a relevant argument.

Until I realize they will never understand why a girl’s dressing should not define the treatment she receives.

Until I turn into a ‘bitch’.

I tell them how I really feel; how demeaning their attitude really is. That’s when words turn into barks, supposedly, and are no longer intelligible.

Disclaimer: What follows is about a girl defying her family: are you sure you want to read further?

“What kind of a wife will you be?! No husband will tolerate this answering-back. No in-laws will tolerate such a neglect of domestic duties!”

Ah yes, the purpose of my existence finally revealed: to please a husband chosen for me by my parents.

It is not always so loud and clear, no. Most of the time it’s subtle, guilt-inducing.

“A woman can make or break a family.”

BUT SHE CAN’T.

No one will let her. I see my aunt suffering in silence. Her brothers ask their wives to listen to her problems, console her; and then send her back to her tormentors. Her ‘real family’: where she ‘truly’ belongs.

So I step outside the house without a dupatta. I leave the consequences to your imagination.

Disclaimer: What follows is about a girl having a boyfriend (if I say girlfriend I might scare you too much): are you sure you want to read further?

I tell my mother that a male friend dropped me home. Oops.

My brother talks to his girlfriend for hours. He comes home late: he was out with friends. Of course he was. And even if he wasn’t, “He’s a man, and you’re a girl.” So what if he went out on a date?

So what?

Disclaimer: Never mind, if you’ve come this far, there’s some chance you’re interested in patriarchy as an issue: are you sure you’re okay with that?

Who am I? Why am I forced to question my own identity? Why do I have to justify that I am just as human as a man?

You might think that these arguments are redundant. That this is just another feminist rant. That it’s just another woman looking for attention. That a woman’s place really is in the home or the kitchen or wherever you want it to be. I’m afraid I do not care for your opinions.

Disclaimer: (This is the end of the article). Religion will not be mentioned. Happy to disappoint.

So how was your day?

About The Author

Komal Qidwai – In search of inspiration and an island with wi-fi
Timber by EMSIEN 3 Ltd BG