Feminism. A subjective term. Simply put, feminism has come across as an idea to challenge the everyday gender-based inequalities and injustices that women have to face. However, it is serving and challenging different aspects of society. The sociopolitical demonstrations under the banner of Aurat March, and the increased awareness in a third-world patriarchal society like Pakistan are prevalent and we all have seen how the people and their placement in the society as social beings are making shifts.
However, the same Pakistani media destroyed and misrepresented the term feminism and the concept of Aurat March. A very famous Pakistani TV show, starring Ayesha Omar as Khoobsurat, Bulbulay, recently released an episode that raised many questions. Surprisingly, not much of a backlash was seen on Instagram, a platform where a picture of Ayesha Omar wearing a bikini while on her vacation in Thailand went viral. Don’t even get me started on why her character in the show is named ‘Khoobsurat’ and does her being fair, slim, and trendy fulfills the beauty standards that our society has constructed.
The very problematic episode explicitly throws a vile shade on the idea of Aurat March, and the ideological principles encircling ‘feminism.’ For an audience like Pakistan, a deep-rooted patriarchal society, the episode highlights the main manifesto of the Aurat March as ‘man-hating.’ Not surprising at all, because this was inevitable. More shockingly, the script tones out women NGOs as organizations or more so ‘platforms’ that promote and encourage the idea of divorce and staying single among women.
Note here, that the thematic tone and attitude of this media product are humorous. The toxic tint in the script goes ignored. Towards the end, the same man-hating woman falls in love with her husband and starts to serve him and do all his chores willingly. It promotes a culture of ‘majboori’ where no matter what the woman wants or aspires to have as part of a better life, she has to return to the unjust (married) way of life.
However, educating a little goes a long way. Feminism is not only for women but for all the other genders as well, that feel deprived of their basic rights and are exposed to injustices in every aspect of their day-to-day life. Aurat March was a banner event, under which representatives from communities such as the trans, the intersex, and a few others joined to speak up for themselves. Not blaming the women for making Aurat March an event for themselves only, but this blame is to be put on society. Our culture holds the responsibility for not only accepting but also nurturing an anti-women rights environment for decades now. The majority of women are indeed deprived of their basic rights hence, the Aurat March might be perceived as a march for women’s rights only.
Click here to watch episode #40, season 2 of Bulbulay.