There is a fine line between office and work. Offices are never easy and nor do they promise to be. In our male dominating society, it’s hard for women to breathe amongst sexual predators, assaulters and misogynists. We do stumble upon sexism and encounter it in all possible forms. Unfortunately, our counterparts are always successful to find a way to let us down and to prove their superiority. They will make sure they don’t lose the power to control women in both places – the one at their house and workplace. They will keep a keen eye on our every move. It’s frustrating to know that in our so called “enlightened society” in which we demand to profess equal rights, women protection bill, and liberalization – be it on the streets or the parliament – many female bread earners are affected by this in one way or another.
It was one fine day while I was working diligently, busy with sorting stuff for our new campaign to go live. My mind was fully occupied and I could feel the tension jumping inside whooping to and fro. I wanted the campaign to be perfect, flawless and to give me 100% conversion rate. Targeting – check, ads- check, banner – check. It was an elaborate list and I was making sure everything is scheduled on time until I was called.
It was an unusual call, my right eye kept blinking ridiculously making my vision flaccid. I could sense bad omen and knew that something was about to hurl towards me. My manager asked me to be seated and so I did, nervously. He has always been a supportive leader rather than a boss and I respect him greatly, to the extent that I just couldn’t say no for what he would ask for.
I was directed to cover my hair with the duppatta, which usually flows around keeping a grip on my neck. I am cognizant about my workplace, and work ethics. In general my dressing is neither explicit nor inviting, upon hearing this I revolted and refused.
However, I felt I was left with no option. Everyone seemed believe that covering my head will save me from evil eyes. Since the ratio of men outnumber women in my office, I felt that I had to surrender my right to freedom. Ever since then, I have been under strict eyes and the feeling is deplorable. My unconscious mind is like a ticking bomb when my duppatta takes a slip.
The problem here isn’t about the duppatta, but rather the intruding thought in my head, leaving no space for my covered skin to breathe. My right of liberty has been restricted in the name of modesty, protection and prevention.
I’m not targeting every man out there, but yes a large number in our society remains considerably narrow-minded, letting their intellectual level down to ashes. This dogma is hard to combat since it is insidious and a part of the subconscious. This, I reckon, just comes naturally when they see women working, competing for what think is manhood – in every step of life. So they let their wicked mind crawl through every possible way to belittle women and to nag their brains out. Workplaces in countries like Pakistan permeates sexism to a fine level which saps women persistently. Social, cultural and religious aspects have led women not to take over the marketplace.