Ahmed Alam and Rama Ali
It is 2018 and apparently, mankind is stuck on issues like whether it should be men or women getting the food microwaved; or maybe not? Mayhaps, mankind is trying to critically analyze what he (and she, hehehehe) has erstwhile taken for granted casually. Mayhaps, the issue goes much deeper than the mere brawl that got traction on social media: that of men and women fighting over gender roles.
But fighting over the social media doesn’t really get results, except for unnecessarily fanning the fire. NCBS took it up to try to find a solution to this longstanding debate of what men and women should and shouldn’t do. On the 8th of May, the event “The Power of Us” was held at SEECS Seminar Hall with Ms. Raafia Tehsin representing the female side and Dr. Yusuf Raza taking up the representation of the male side.
Ms. Raafia was entertaining from the very start and recounted of her own experiences, within and without her family, and even abroad. One of her story told how her husband was looked down upon by people when she used to walk all her kids and carry their stuff because her husband was suffering from a spine disorder. Another mentioned her youngest child not completely fulfilling the definition of a “boy” because he was not interested in outdoor sports.
Ms. Raafia’s anecdotes brought home the message that in the name of norms, we have accepted some things by default, and any idea beyond these norms is either societally damaging or antithetical to religious values. “The problem is to unlearn and not to learn,” was what was stressed by Ms. Raafia.
She tried to impress upon the audience that peaceful coexistence must be the target we should be after, rather than fighting over petty issues like who should wash the dishes or mop the house. After all, no life is possible without the male and the females.
Dr. Yusuf was next on the stage. He gave some insight into what feminism stood for, and what it has largely come to be now. He very matter-of-factly opened our eyes to the upsetting state of things.
Let’s just list down the key points he talked about:
- “Feminism is fed by misogyny and misogyny by feminism!”
Recent outbursts started, presumably, when somebody had the audacity to say ”Khaana khud garam krlo!” On the one hand, we have our male chauvinists, who thought of this as nothing better than a rebellious attempt at throwing off responsibility.
Regardless, how do you justify the actual cases of women being killed at the outrageous impulses of men just because ”khana garam nhi tha” and what have you. Why is it mostly women who are victims of abuse and deprivation? To really know there is a problem you only have to consider this: the worst kind of abusive language so rampant on our tongues, targets the honor of… who? Our own women!
As male chauvinists and misogynists continue to evade the writing on the wall, feminists strike back with more hatred. Thus, ignorance and hate begets more of itself.
- There are as many definitions of feminism as there are feminists.
Now everyone is invited to find their own little problem and become a feminist. What once started as a movement to attain equal opportunities for men and women has now become a move to get your own way and more equal ‘outcomes’ rather than ‘opportunity’.
So much has ‘feminism’ got to some people’s heads that even heterosexuality is considered to be an example of a natural patriarchal scheme of things! There’s oppression anywhere if you care to find it guys……ridiculous, right?
- A move for superiority rather than equality
“Blame, shame, justify!”
For many, this topic is just an excuse to denounce members of the opposite sex. ‘Compromise’ is becoming an obsolete idea in the hearts of people. In their tussle, they do away with the peace of their home, and their own children bear the brunt of it.
- Freedom ‘from’ or freedom ‘to’?
All rights and no responsibilities? As we call so vehemently for ‘freedom, freedom and more freedom’, do care to clarify what kind of freedom we are vying for. Is it freedom ‘to’ do something, or is it just, regrettably, freedom ‘from’ responsibility? It has, for a considerable many, become the latter too.
- Misquoting Islamic references to defend.
“Ar rijalu qawwamuna ‘alan nisaa” –This is the one quoted by one too many of the self-proclaimed defenders of Islam, to discredit feminists. Though ironically, it in no way establishes superiority of men except in terms of responsibility.
Creating grievances between a husband and wife is the act most loved by Shaytan. Needless to say, with the present state of affairs, he must feel pretty accomplished more often than not.
The bottom line is: any physical or economic superiority a man might have comes with added responsibility that he will be questioned about. Likewise, for a woman, the upbringing of her children and caring for her home (not slaving away, mind you!) is a responsibility she must fulfil with joy. There are issues that must be rectified of course but, in doing so, it would not take away from either’s self-esteem, if they were to be patient with each other. Relationships are built with forgiveness and compromise. And they require effort, as do all things. Learn to take responsibility rather than evade it.
And here we quote none other than Lady Google: “I eat gender roles for breakfast.”