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The Curable Misogyny

You might have heard this word a lot but what does it mean? There is a lot of myth and hatred related to this. Let’s debunk all pseudo-information surrounding this concept. The term literally means hatred towards women and holding prejudice against them in their personal choices to everything else in the social spectrum. It involves barricading women through religious, cultural, and social means in the name of protecting them. By using all such means they confine the role of women.

Although the term evolved in the 17th century, the hatred it carries is from long before. From the times of great philosophers like Aristotle to the times of Nietzsche, women were called “an unfinished man” or “the source of all folly and unreason”. Throughout history, many women were great leaders and philosophers but they are less known. The movement to counter this deprecation came in the late 19th and 20th centuries as the first wave of feminism. Starting with the demand for voting rights, it became more political and inclusive with time and jolted the global paradigm. Brave women like Mary Wollstonecraft, Abigail Adams, and Catharine Macaulay advocated for women’s rights. Many notable men also joined insuch as Jeremy Bentham, John Neal, and Bernard Shaw. Eventually came the second and third waves of feminism and now it has become global movement, reaching countries having their own agendas and demands. But it took quite a while for the world to accept women as being competent and as capable of doing anything they want just as a man does.

Katherine Switzer being forced out of competing in a marathon in the 1960s in Europe is rather quite recent. The point to take in is the persistence of women who have made it possible to speak about women’s rights. We can look up to Scandinavian countries to quote many such examples. 

Apart from the global situation, when we take a look at women’s movements and the role of women in Pakistan, the situation looks quite despicable. Even in the 21st century, medieval norms are practiced which regressively define the role of women and confine them to the household. The figures representing the social and domestic condition of Pakistan are alarming. According to the Global Gender Gap Index report 2022, Pakistan ranks 145 out of 156 countries in terms of gender equality. 49.2% of the population is comprised of women but only 22% contribute to the economic front with a pay gap of 34% between men and women as compared to other countries. The cause of these low margins is multi-dimensional ranging from poverty, education, health, and social issues

Looking at the political role of women, Pakistan ranks 95th out of 146 nations. Women are less likely to be in leading roles. Currently, the National Assembly has 69 women out of 342 members and Senate has 20 female members out of 104. Pakistan has only had one female prime minister in 75 years. Benazir Bhutto held the office twice and was martyred in 2007. Before and during her tenure, she faced adverse commentsstigmatizing her leadership role. She faced them head-on and survived mainly due to carrying the strong label of the Bhutto family. 

In more recent times, Hina Rabbani Khar has been making therounds in news. She headed the Pakistani delegation to Kabul for peace talks with the Afghan Taliban. While this power move was unanimously lauded by people, some people couldn’t resist but spew out their prejudice. JUI senator, Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, suggested that a male member from his party should have led the delegation and that a women’s representation will leave a bad impression. He was eventually silenced and backtracked when female senators stood unequivocally in support of Khar’s visit.

Celebrities in Pakistan make ludicrous comments about the role of women and the majority of men show support for the patriarchal attitude toward women. A recent example is BehrozSabzwari who shared his views regarding women’s clothing. Moreover, Jamat e Islami held a protest against girls’ cycling in KP. A few days back, Reham Khan got married and the public threw vitriolic statements bashing her age gap with her husband. All of these statements are quite recent and the tilt is toward misogyny and contempt toward women.

One point to note in this situation is that not only are the menmisogynists, but women also have internalized it. An example ofthis would be Rabi Pirzada’s statement about women being, “out of control and overly empowered.” According to her, the situation is alarming and must be given appropriate attention as the fabric of society is loosening up. Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala also faces hatred from many men and women equally questioning her fame and activism. 

Amidst all this how can misogyny be cured given it can’t be eradicated? There is no one such solution to this problem, as such endemics cover intersectional complexity. This can only be tackled if women are in power and have control in their hands. Let’s forget the globe and start with a single household where women are mistreated. One powerful woman can be the power of many and this would create a ripple effect. For starters, education must be provided to girls and boys equally. Pakistan is the fourth worst country for women to live in. The literacy rate for women is less than 46% whereas that of men stands at 69%. Cultural barriers must be removed as they are a major obstruction to women’s liberation.

Constant fighting and never giving up is the only answer to this solution. Women should snatch their freedom from the hands of their perpetrators. Liberty is mostly associated with obscenity and hence women are shunned to pursue their freedom. They are pressed down by clerics who ‘interpret’ the role of women in light of religious teachings. Their fathers and brothers, for the sake of their protection and ‘honor’ do not allow them to step outside their homes. In such cases, there are two options. Give up your free choice and conform to oppression, or silently grow till the day you have capital and retaliateIf a woman empowers herself financially then there is no stopping her from breaking the shackles of patriarchy. 

The master-slave morality shall be overcome by women if they want to live their life to the fullest. The prime enemy of fear is power and liberty. The Stockholm syndrome of patriarchy is burdening and caging for both men and women. It requires huge courage and bravery to pursue individuality. Life is a constant fight and only lovers of freedom have it in them to pursue their dreams and live it on theor own terms.


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