The subtle art of seduction… a Pakistani woman’s dilemma with the society she’s born in.

My land of pure is finally openly misogynistic. It has come out as rape apologist and takes pride almost in being oppressive. Pakistanis follow their own brand of conservatism that has nothing to do with what Islam says or the Quran carries. They have invented their own religion out of a history of constant patriarchy.

If Generation Z is so pro-patriarchy then I shiver to think what the Boomers currently condone. I have had many an interaction with the “new” generation and sadly, they all side with the rapists.

Also, it’s very alarming that a nation that watches most porn in the world is holding porn responsible. It’s almost like they know how to stop being a rapist but would rather watch porn and rape innocent women and children. Does that make sense? This whole argument goes against the salient features of responsible drinking, responsible gambling and even responsible gaming.

Even though I don’t believe in pornography promoting rapes, the number of men and women who cite pornography as the main problem do raise concerns regarding the perception of a woman.

Let’s be honest! The Pakistani society is no stranger to the words “honor”, “dignity”, “prestige” and “esteem”. We grow up learning gender roles at the feet of patriarchy. Women internalize patriarchy and become patriarchal matriarchs. We intentionally have set up a system that perpetuates hate and degradation of women.

We also, on the other hand, have a system whereby women are paraded before men as “potential prospects for marriage”. The arranged marriage system is very popular with Pakistanis. We take pride in disallowing all forms of communication before two people know each other. We value chastity so much that even phone conversations are prohibited in many families before a couple ties the knot. For reference, I don’t consider this chastity. This is flesh trade in simple terms.

When a Pakistani woman is paraded before her prospective husband, a lot depends on how he likes her so she is dressed in her finest. She is sprayed with the most expensive perfume and is adorned with some light jewelry even. The family members of the man evaluate her based on her appearance and other information that they may deem necessary. Then it’s up to her fate whether he or they like her or not.

When she gets married she is constantly ground into the role of a wife in the kitchen, a lady in the parlor and a whore in the bedroom. If her husband marries another woman, she is questioned like she has any answers. She is blamed for not being sexual enough. If Pakistani women could talk they’d tell people that they have never been allowed a sexuality. They aren’t supposed to be sexual. They are, however, expected to be quietly sexy.

In our conservatism, we have created a culture that revolves around overt toxic sexuality. We have put a man on a pedestal from where he looks down on women and decides their fate. This man could be anyone. In his worst form, he’s a rapist.

We have finally come full circle. The round chapatis started the debate of gender roles and why anyone’s bread has to be the perfect shape. Recently a group posted a Pakistani woman writer’s female lead’s round breads. Many women objected that they didn’t find anything wrong with sitting at home and catering to their families. They found nothing wrong with the picture. What they clearly missed was the misogyny of the picture. What they continue to miss is their own suffocating existence in the form of a provider and a nester. What they refuse to see is how patriarchy has reduced them to someone whose sole purpose in life is to make food for her family, get kids ready in the morning and protect patriarchy’s honor. They have been told to not ask for anything in return. They can’t ask for rights, equality or freedom. They do as they’re told. They don’t have a choice and that’s what they continue to not see. They continue to not acknowledge the lack of choice.

So finally the round bread demand has come to the “I want to subjugate this one too”. Men have finally subjugated their wives and mothers and sisters and daughters. Now they’re targeting the woman walking down the street. Now they’re raping the woman shrouded in her grave. Now they’re blaming women for their wayward ways. Now we have finally come full circle in the establishment of patriarchy via a woman’s oppression.

This might sound like a lot of rambling but here’s the thing. A woman is seen as a sexual object in Pakistan by almost everyone. She has played the seductress, the temptress, the courtesan and the mistress in one man’s mind or another. She has been dehumanized by almost all strata of this society. The disenfranchisement of women is a long case in the history of the subcontinent, the details of which are outside the scope of this blog. The thing is how a woman is involved in the subtle art of seduction with these men without even knowing that she is. She is luring them into a trap without knowing it. She is haunting their thoughts but has no idea about it. She is causing them to rape her due to reasons that she has given them but has no inkling of those reasons. If she is doing so much without even knowing that she is then why not let her be her own person and take her chances? Why not allow her a life of independence and face her fears? Because right now, she gets to do nothing that gives her pleasure in life before a man claims it. No dating, no risqué clothing, no foreign travel, no work life, no girls’ nights. And still, she gets raped.

2 Comments

  1. Love this article- as always Sonia
    They continue to not acknowledge the lack of choice.
    This is my favorite sentence.
    Having a choice – and being aware of it- changes so much in life.

    Love from Germany
    Karin

    Liked by 1 person

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