Aurat March and Linguistics: جسم کی جنگ
Dialogue around Aurat March is bringing so many conflicts to the surface other than gender-based patriarchal oppression. What women talking against Aurat March 2020 need to realize is that their narrative is only making it worse by juxtaposing a domestic sweet-girl image to an image that’s too inappropriately feminist, further strengthening the stereotypes. This might help one receive a short term validation but it has grave implications that one can’t see right now. It is undoubtedly putting our daughters into unwarranted suffering that could have been prevented.
The position achieved by these Pakistani women who are being called privileged and modern was not granted to them voluntarily or out of any kindness. They struggled. Their mothers struggled. Someone decades ago fought for these women and protested hard for the rights to education, freedom of work and earning that is taken for granted today. They went through painful experiences, sacrificing many birthrights. Yes, women have come a long way, but they have not yet won; they still have a long way to go and must continue to struggle to achieve the status they, and the generations to come, deserve.
I urge you all not to allow these distinctions to obscure the fact that traditional Pakistani female and modern Pakistani female are only separable in theory. Without this clarity, the societal tendency to add a value judgment, when presented with an apparent dichotomy of this kind becomes inevitably destructive.
Please stop dividing women. Modern or traditional, a female is a female. In Pakistan, we all are suffering in our known and unknown ways. Living in a context where tradition wins over common sense or science, the transfer of intergenerational trauma becomes a part of the DNA of our society. Expressed or unexpressed, we all carry this silent mutation.
In our culture, femininity is a specification that makes neutrality almost impossible. There are always going to be sides. Either you are a sophisticated ‘other’ or a rebel ‘other’. The only difference is that one becomes the part of the convention and the other ignores it.
Both remain marginalized.
Originally published at https://www.obaawoman.com on March 7, 2020.