KARACHI: A picture of a white American woman, who has been living in Pakistan for the past 10 years, riding a bicycle in Islamabad has highlighted the double standards of Pakistanis, especially men.
The picture since uploaded on Twitter is being celebrated by many. People are using words such as ‘brave’ and ‘pride’ for the woman in the picture. Many have gone as far as to say that she is depicting the ‘right’ (read: safe) image of Pakistan to the world by bicycling freely on the roads of the capital city.
However, on the other hand, images of Pakistan brown-skinned women riding bicycles are heavily criticised. While some comment on these pictures saying that these women are being influenced by the ‘Western’ culture, others comment on how these women are not properly dressed, even when they are wearing jeans and a top — some donning even a dupatta like the white American woman in that picture.
Pakistani men leave no chance to insult women of their own country riding bicycles but the same lot has a different — a rather higher pedestal — to hold for a white American woman doing the same.
A country is considered safe when its own people find it safe to commute freely in their choice of transport and not when a foreigner who has the privilege of security personnel following her does the same.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2018.