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“I am a female but I am not a feminist”

By Paras Abbasi: 

Yes that’s true. And I realized it when I came to understand what people have developed as the concept of “feminism.” It’s more than talking about rights of women. It has become more of a fashion statement, with every other person calling himself/herself an enthusiast for the women’s cause without even knowing of what they are talking about.

It comes very natural to me to describe what Feminism actually means before going into details of what it has come out to be. It is basically a doctrine that advocates equal rights of women. But wait! It does not say “same” rights anywhere. I must be thought of by many of you as being very conservative when I say they do not have the rights to everything as a man, but that is, unfortunately true. And this is also because men also do not have the same rights as women have been given.

I am an advocate of “adequate” rights for women, a supporter of campaigns against the women trafficking and molestation and would have been a proud feminist, had the image of “feminism” remained the same in people’s minds. But the current feminists, (or I’d rather call this feminism: neo-feminism and thus neo-feminists) talk more than that. According to some of my feminist friends, women who are educated “must” work, rather than they “should” work. My question  is: what favor are you doing to the woman (specifically) and a human in general by brain washing her to work rather than letting her take care of her house and bring up her children?

This does not end here. Many neo-feminists call it very demeaning, if a woman covers her head or does “Pardah”. My question to them is: What is troubling you if she decides to cover herself on her own will? It might be called oppression if she is forced to cover, but not when she decides this fate on her own.  A few days ago I read a blog where the author (Bina Shah) very openly backed the idea of the Egyptian blogger (and feminist) who thought it pertinent to express her anger of female molestation in Egypt by posting her naked picture on her blog and calling it a symbol of resistance to the patriarchal forces in Egypt. Now I don’t understand how this act can improve the current situation in Egypt rather than worsening it. I agree that the aftermath of such a stunt was very undesirable but so was the stunt itself. How does a wrong make another wrong right? It might not be a matter of virtue for the blogger to pose like that but this might be a matter of life and death for many other women. I repeat, one wrong does not make another wrong right! And anyways, this publicity stunt is not going to improve the situation at all.

Coming back to those who think women need the very same rights as men. How about giving men equal quotas in nursing too? And they may also be given equal seats as family health workers, right? And how about dragging all the daughters to the borders to fight for the country if any war breaks out, just like we do to the sons of our nation?

The reality is we cannot afford it. Because the truth is not what many of us dream, rather the beauty of life is to respect what importance both of us have been given naturally.  



Contributed by:

Paras Abbasi

About the author: Paras Abbasi is a junior year student at Institute of Business Administration, Karachi. She tweets at @parasabbasi

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70 Responses to "“I am a female but I am not a feminist”"

  1. MilesToGo United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    People tried – got killed.

    Internet changed that.

  2. AKB Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ DSK
    sorry if you are a lady!

    there is no harm in women covering their heads or bodies for any reason, incl religious one if their faith so commands. If we can be slave to man-made laws, better to opt for the divine ones!

    Pants are so common…Village women in some places do wear dhotis…provides good ventilation and zest for life–says no to suicide!

  3. DSK Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @AKB
    No, i am a man.
    Of course there’s no harm in women covering their heads or bodies for any reason, including religious ones, as long as they are not forced to do so. While the fact is that most women who wear burqa are forced to do so, and a very small number brain-washed to do so on their own will (which in fact is not their own free will). Therefore burqa should be forcefully banned until the time it loses its relation with oppression, until the time people can be sure that the woman who is wearing burqa is doing so on her PURE FREE-will devoid of any use of force and brainwashing. I personally know more than a dozen women who wear burqa but at the same time hates it. I also know a few other women who stopped wearing burqa after they got divorced or widowed.
    In one case the girl from a religious family stopped wearing burqa after getting married, because her husband didn’t force her to continue practicing pardah. Her brother went to her house to convince her to continue wearing burqa. On listening to her brother, she got so infuriated that she shouted at him ‘you can’t order me anymore’ (ab tum mujh pe hukm nahi chala saktay).
    It proves that burqa is a symbol of oppression, hence it should be banned.
    There’s no such thing as “divine”, otherwise my gawd orders me to you know what and you can’t challenge my gawd. Well this is my personal opinion, i still respect yours. Women who wear burqa don’t do so because it’s a divine law rather because they are forced by man.

  4. smith Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    some one need donation via paypal and alertpay… click here

  5. hira Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    “what favor are you doing to the woman (specifically) and a human in general by brain washing her to work rather than letting her take care of her house and bring up her children?”

    Its not a free choice but a result of years and years of brainwashing. Sometimes its the pressure at work and the competitive nature of today’s society that results in women choosing the easier way of being a servant at home, but even then the correct response is to attack that particular nature of the society. Not to confine yourself at home.

    I don’t have enough writing skills to put my point across so I’ll just write this

    What happens when a woman ‘chooses’ to confine herself at home:

    1. Housework and caring for your family may turn out to exciting for a few days (especially if all the societal forces have come together to make you believe in the virtue of bringing up the family). But doing it day in and day out, with no chance of escape, and no other means of measuring your worth leads to frayed nerves, general querulousness etc. Not a very positive state of affairs if you consider women human (Also ask those who have been at it for more than 10-15 years)

    2. Staying at home will make her dependent on the husband. For every tiny thing. Slowly but surely (probably not in some exceptional cases) this will result in a sense of inferiority. Please don’t underestimate what the control of financial economy of a household can do. She will be restricted in every way, because she is unable to express her self, her individuality without the express permission of her husband.

    3. When a woman stays at home, ‘lovingly’ rearing the children, her husband goes out into the wide world, meets people, exchanges ideas. A very monotonously destructive routine you condemn a woman to. Of course I would agree if you were to say that a woman isn’t a human and she doesn’t need to go out, exchange ideas, meet people. But she is a human and if she isn’t granted this freedom, one day she will be destroyed. Just a shadow of a woman. It happens sooner or later.

    You might also say that she can do all that even while staying inside the house. But does the 24-hour workday leaves any time for her to do that?

    I know it may not be as simplistic as my above rant shows. For example I have seen working women doing work ‘and’ household chores. They will never ask their husbands to share in the work because they have been so utterly brainwashed about the religious ‘ideal wife’ propaganda. Do you call that a free choice?

  6. Tazeen Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Holy crap. This is written by an IBA student? If it was written by a 10 year old, I would have flunk that kid. Imagine a teenager at IBA writing it and getting it published. Qayamt ki nishani

  7. AKB Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ hira

    Women do have to work compelled by their circumstances or imperatives of her competency. But forcing women to work and earn money by their household is evil. In Islam, it’s the duty of the husband to take care of his wife’s necessary needs, maintenance, safety and security. A wife doesn’t necessarily have any such duty. Marital relationship cannot be turned into a mechanical taboo where man and wife don’t love each other but are only together for material comforts of life.

  8. lady Guinevere United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    AKB; It is also WRONG for arranged marriages, however, they are still being forced upon women in less enlightened “areas” of the world because of religious and ethnic oppression. Let’s face it; these religions are taking advantage of the old laws to suppress women. It is not just Islam but it also happens in Hasidic Jews, and some of the Orthodox Catholic religions in Eastern Europe and the Caucus. It is simply “backwardness”, (pun wise too) as it harks back to a time when the old laws of the Old Testament were written down 2000 years plus ago! Women were “protected” back then and did not have a chance to meet a proper mate so that was a way for the family to make sure she had a proper marriage for, as you said, “In Islam, it’s the duty of the husband to take care of his wife’s necessary needs, maintenance, safety and security.” Many of these marriages worked out but only because these women did NOT KNOW THE DIFFERENCE nor did they have a chance to make a choice. They just did what was expected of them and mostly, if they were lucky to have a decent husband, were content to “dedicate themselves to taking care of their husband and their children” as a life long career. If you do not know the difference, then you are content with your life/lot! That is why so many men keep those wives from intermingling with other more enlightened wives so that they never “see the difference”! Believe me, it has happened to my generation here in the U.S. That is why the feminist movement was started in the late 60′s. I count myself lucky to have been raised by a divorced mother so I was always “liberated”, and independent and never suffered from that kind of oppression. At first, I did not understand what the fuss was all about because I did not “know” this oppression in my thought process. My “thoughts” were already liberated and I used my God given freedom of choice birthright. As has been discussed here before, before Monotheism, women were worshiped and only with the advent of early “Jewish” monotheism, thru Baal and Yahweh did the roles of s God become male and women become oppressed. I have always felt that modern western religion was for the purpose of taking power away from women. However, until you men invent a way to have babies, we still control the world! LOL!

    Lady Guinevere

    P.S. No offense meant to you guys! Can’t live without you nor do I wish to!

  9. hira Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @AKB

    But that is exactly what you are making it into? A mechanical taboo. By not giving a woman the chance to have her own independent income. And if you are so insistent on having women choose housework as their career, then have the government pay them for this work. Seriously.

    Also, why is it so evil. Because of some inherent weakness? Honestly why is it so difficult for us to believe that ‘women roles’ and ‘men roles’ are not set in stone.

  10. AKB Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ lady Guinevere

    I respect your views but cannot agree with you that arranged marriages are bad. In fact forced marriage is bad. In ill-organized poor countries
    it is hard to find a suitable match for a girl for many socio-economic reasons and that’s why parents take over the responsiblility to find a real husband for their women folk in order to insure the safety and security of their women. Since the State does not provide any economic or other assistance to its citizens, particularly girls, it becomes more important for parents to get their daughters betrothed to a good person who can love their daughter and is capable of maintaining his family. If a girl risks choosing a husband on her own she faces 90 % chances of having her marital life ruined if her husband turns out to be a drone or a rascal. Consequently, I must say that forced marriages are condemnable but arranged marriages with the consent of both the bride and groom are better for ensuring economic and familial security and safety of the bride, in particular.

    I don’t know where you lived or grew up but you must be lucky to have saved yerself from the clutches of a bad relationship which your mother unfortunately met with.

    America and poor countries like India and Pakistan are no comparisons as far as economic and social security specially to women is concerned. First of all these countries and its citizens must elevate themselves
    to their level before comparing them. Currently, the govt of US is trying to lynching social security, pension and medical and you will see the devastating effects if such amenities are denied to the Americans….only them they will realize the problems of men and women in developing countries.

  11. AKB Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ hira

    I repeat and reiterate women have all the rights depending upon their capabilities. They can work if needed but they cannot be allowed to go flirting with lechers and take nights out! That would be licentiously immoral for a woman to do so but a woman after all is a woman and prone to seduction by evil men. Women have to be cared for, loved and that is only possible if they lived in a co-operative co-ordinate harmony with their husbands or if yet unmarried with their families.

  12. lady Guinevere United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    AKB-Yes, I did grow up in America and I, and my mother did not count ourselves “unfortunate” to be without a man as head of the household! You seemm to be caught up in the idea of the government “taking care of”, yes, ‘TAKING CARE OF” it citizens instead of the citizenry TAKING CARE OF THEMSELVES!

  13. lady Guinevere United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    AKB-Yes, I did grow up in America, and no, we did not find it unfortunate that we did not have a male as head of household. You seem to be caught up in the government “taking care of” its citizenry instead of the citizens taking care of themselves ie: socialism. While I understand that in 3rd world developing countries women DO NEED the protection of arranged marriages, I also believe that those countries should work towards EDUCATING women (along with men) so that they can earn a living for themselves and along with a male educated society, then they both can make a CHOICE for themselves. Divorces I believe, happen in Islamic marriages too with the MALE simply saying “I divorce you” three times! How sad for a woman who has to depend on that man you so joyfully point out was “arranged” for her. Perhaps “that man” from the arrangement fooled her parents into thinking that he was a GREAT choice for her when he only wanted her dowry? As far as “cutting off” those entitlements in America, the one that is sucking out our “life’s blood” is Medicaid, formerly known as Welfare! Fully 40% of the population in the U.S. now qualify for it!

    Lady Guinevere

  14. eleazar Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    As a 3rd world country begging for scraps off our masters table, we need people (men and women) who can join the work force and contribute to the economy. And even with a badly run and funded public education sector, we have females like Paras who will be made to get university degrees, nay doctor degrees, a shiny Dr. as a prefix turned into a trousseau of sorts and a calling card for marriageability in this godforsaken country. Get married and… wait for it…take care of their children and families for the rest of their lives. If you lack the ability and drive to go the whole nine yards, do me a favor and leave those precious uni seats for students who have bigger things on their minds than their marriage prospects.

  15. lady Guinevere United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    eleazar…………duh! Did it ever occur to your tiny little chauvinistic mind that some women would like to be educated just because they WANT TO BE EDUCATED! Some women WANT to be Doctors! Some women WANT to be doctors AND mothers and actually can be both! Children don’t HAVE to have their mothers from birth to 18! Many educated women get married, have children and re-join the workforce when their children are old enough to enter primary school. Oh yes, by the way, this creates jobs for less educated women as Nannies! Not all women and men can participate in the higher education process nor should they as not all are suited for it! Some people can rise only to certain levels but HONEST WORK should always be respected. Japan has found themselves in quite a “pickle” as they have overeducated their populace and have had to import guest workers to do the simple labor such as workers at MacDonalds and street cleaners, hotel workers etc!

    So, back to my point! I simply said that if a woman HAD A CHANCE to be educated then she would not have to SETTLE for a arranged marriage that was with a man NOT of her choosing! Talk about “scraps”! Who will select those for her? What or whom determines what she gets? Who determines HER qualifications? From what I hear you Pakistanis, and perhaps Indians too go to family reunions to find dates and brides. Over here in the U.S. we call it “RED NECK” dating! Trees without a whole lot of branches! Therefore, if the women had a chance to be educated and could make a choice, perhaps the gene pool could be broadened! How long is it going to take you to find out the negative results that the Egyptians and the Hawaiians did when it comes to intermarrying? Sorry to be so blunt, but you brought it up!

    Lady Guinevere

    P.S. That Egyptian and Hawaiian thing was several thousand years ago!

  16. [...] “I am a female but I am not a feminist” [...]

  17. [...] few days ago, this blog by a Pakistani girl who thinks feminism is oppressive caused a tizz across the social networks. [...]

  18. imran mirza Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    mirzaio kuch to sharam kero

    http://www.hacklejackle.blogspot.com/

  19. imran mirza Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    O mirzaio….mirzay ki shakal dekho or tauba kero!

  20. salsa Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    dil ki baat keh di parases :D

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