I never understood the ‘feminist types’

Published: December 14, 2013
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The writer is author of the book Karachiwala: a subcontinent within a city and co-founder of NuktaArt, a biannual art magazine

The writer is author of the book Karachiwala: a subcontinent within a city and co-founder of NuktaArt, a biannual art magazine

I have never quite understood the feminists and the ‘feminist types’ who have been bantering about gender-based injustices such as inadequate pay scales and professional iniquity: improper male behaviour at home, on the streets, in public transport, educational institutions and workplaces. If we are the stay-at-home types, then we should be seen (working, of course) and not heard. If, however, we are the ‘outgoing’ types (pun on ‘out’ unintended), why are we out and about in the first place?

Time and again we have been told to stay indoors, give up any notions of working outdoors or worse, of educating ourselves. But we are thick-skinned and brain-dead. We refuse to listen and understand and when we are harassed, we complain. When they blow up our schools in sheer frustration, as we leave them no choice, we protest and whimper.

We women want to bake our own cakes and eat them too. A woman’s basic duty is widely understood to be cooking, baking, steaming or sewing but, in many cultures, she must first feed the food she cooks to the men of the family and partake only of what is leftover.

We women have eternally been fond of presenting ourselves as victims. However, try and attach our gender as a prefix and we don’t like it. We are queer, very queer. And I am not speaking about the third gender, which only inhabit the lands of the non-believers.

We women have been continuously complaining about patriarchal societies where men run not only their own affairs but all our affairs (and ‘have affairs’ too), failing to understand that this is perhaps for our own good. After all, why can’t we appreciate that they want to protect us? We are not called the ‘fairer sex’ without good reason: while we may not all be fair-skinned, our bodies and nerves are definitely frail and fragile. Therefore, for good measure, we are given another, more befitting title — the ‘weaker sex’.

Each of us women in our right mind knows that, even as children, boys are considered natural leaders as they are more confident, dominant and assertive, while girls are not. There may be those girls who are aggressive and can hold their own among the boys, but then they are branded as tomboys, implicitly undermining their ability and will to lead.

Forget about the small number of women CEOs around the world; a few hundred women parliamentarians or a handful of women heads of state, a few million teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, sportswomen, military officers… also paratroopers! These numbers hardly matter in a world population of seven billion. What does it prove?

That We women, notwithstanding a small number of exceptions, were made for and are naturally suited to fulfil roles like those of a nurse, a cook, a seamstress, a washerwoman, all of which can (or must) be taken up within the secure boundaries of the house. And leave the world outside to be run by men, as disastrously as can be seen all around us! Really?

Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Dr Killjoy
    Dec 14, 2013 - 12:39AM

    …what?

    Recommend

  • gp65
    Dec 14, 2013 - 1:02AM

    Nice satire. Kalki Koechlin’s 2 minutevideo ‘It’s your fault’ makes a similar point.Recommend

  • Ritwik Mehra
    Dec 14, 2013 - 2:13PM

    Yes!
    Now women can pedestalise their own gender.
    And continue to paint all men as culprits for
    all crimes against them, real or imagined.
    Women have a right to complain,
    and men are the disposable gender
    who must be emotionally manipulated and flogged,
    the beast of burdens from whom women extract
    the resources for the satisfaction of their
    existentialist and materialist agonies.
    Unfortunately, too many men are brainwashed
    into seeing nothing of merit in the vast majority
    of their own gender.
    Little wonder, the Mens Human Rights Movement
    is growing and spreading in the west.
    Yet, it hasn’t registered in South Asia.
    It will. It most surely will. Recommend

  • Pankaj
    Dec 14, 2013 - 5:24PM

    @ Ritwik Mehra
    .
    You are absolutely right
    .

    BTW Did you write this on your own or you have
    copied this from a website

    Recommend

  • Fouzia Saeed
    Dec 30, 2013 - 8:45AM

    Very good article to make a simple point. it is sad that in this time and age women have to make a simple point and even that doesn’t get registered. it is not about all men being bad but all men and many women have to open their eyes and realise the larger pattern. it is not about taking all the blame but to join the struggle to undo this extreme power imbalance. It will be good for male gender to reflect on how violent they have become and get some balance within their personalities. Our urban educated men have made some shift where they take an active part in parenting and their bond with their children has become much more affectionate than in the past generations. BTW most of the movements of men in the west are not for the human rights of men but of bringing back the conventional family system. I think South Asian men should rise and do some good for men, make them more human, perhaps that will be good for countering the militancy that is the problem number one for our country. No need for being defensive. Pakistan has a lot of excellent, balanced and non violent men. But perhaps we all can get together and work with the male gender.Recommend

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