In the recent Aurat March on 8th March 2018, we saw hundreds of taking the streets of major cities of Pakistan and turning the roads pink. In the country where the mere thought of women gathering in the streets is considered something impossible, the march of women with slogans like “Hamari Sarkain”,“Mera Jism, Meri Marzi”, “Freedom Over Fear”, and “Women are humans, not honour” was indeed a rare sight. Women were also seen holding the funeral of patriarchy on their shoulders wearing the masks of the late Qandeel Baloch. Transgenders were also seen in march chanting “We Want Freedom, We Want Basic Human Rights”. We have seen women celebrating International Women’s Day in the past years too, but this year there was indeed something extraordinary about the atmosphere. One could smell revolution in the air.
It was sure that Aurat March was going to face much of misogynist hate. But for a person with brains it came as a shock when people misinterpreted the Aurat March slogans with extreme stupidity. We saw social media flooding with hatred speeches and writings particularly about two slogans “Mera Jism, Meri Marzi” (My Body, My Choice) and “Khana Khud Garam Karo” (Warm the Food Yourself). We saw a lot of funny memes made on these slogans. Women were ridiculed for demanding dressing and kitchen rights. We heard people (mostly men) say that women had better issues to raise on this platform. When passing these ridiculous comments, these people totally forgot that in Pakistan hundreds if not women thousands of women were killed for not serving the food hot. They totally forgot that little girls are being raped every single day and then their families are bombarded with comments like only if you had dressed your kid properly, this would not have happened to her. They forgot that our newspapers are filled with the horrible stories of domestic violence over the irrelevant stupid issues like women not opening the door in time.
From the very first day of girl’s birth she is fed with lies that it is her very nature to nurture men around her, that she is born to serve and satisfy men, that her world ends outside the walls of her house and that she is dependent upon men for all her needs. On the other hand, men are considered independent and self-sufficient.
The question is that where does self-sufficiency of men go when it comes to domestic chores? If we can teach our sons how to get groceries from the store, why can’t we teach them to make their beds and cook food? Why can’t we teach our sons to support their sisters and not to supervise them?
The change will start from our homes. We need to make our children especially sons believe in equality and freedom. We need to make our sons realize that there are no gender specific roles because this will deprive them of their self-sufficiency. This is the time to undo our mistakes and take critical measures in the upbringing of our children.