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Is it really so surprising?

My mother was always an advocate for a woman being independent, including being able to drive herself. She has been driving me to school all my life, and all my life, I have witnessed the battles that she fought on the roads every day. People expected her to be a horrible driver, a pushover, a danger to herself and them. They overtook her, they drove within inches of her side mirror, they leered at her. A beautiful woman, she was also the subject of many stares and creepy smiles.


She taught me many things about strength and self-assurance, especially on the roads of Karachi - if they're coming at you, don't look at them, they'll stop; if they're staring at you at a stoplight, maintain eye contact, they'll stop; if they act like you're a dangerous driver, use it to your advantage.


When I started driving off-road in the rocks and sand of Balochistan, at age 8, I got many looks. My father was proud - his little girl had to sit on a cushion to see over the dashboard but she could get a jeep out of a rut quicker than any man. I was proud too, but that doesn't mean everyone agreed. My chacha's family complained that a little girl shouldn't be behind the wheel, that I was putting them all at risk, that girls shouldn't drive, and why did he bring me anyway? Offroading wasn't a girl's game, I should stay home with my mom and *shudder* draw.


None of that changed when I started driving in the city. It was the same busted-up collection of parts that had once been my dad's passion project. Driving on the road, I got so many looks. No one expected me to drive that roughed-up box of metal. Even my friends were shocked at the way I could control it, one of them even stopped midsentence when he expressed his surprise that 'a girl like you-'.


But what is a girl like me? A girl who grew up behind the wheel and drives offroad with her eyes closed? A girl who uses the doubts of men to her advantage, leaving them in the dust? Why do people ooh and aah over the vehicle when it's parked outside a store, when there's a dog dangling out the window, when it's flying through the dug-up roads of the city, but then look on in horror when a girl takes the wheel? Why? Is it really so surprising?

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I want to express my appreciation to you for sharing their personal experiences and shedding light on the societal biases and stereotypes surrounding women and driving. It is disheartening to hear about the challenges and judgments your mother and you have faced simply because of gender expectations on the road.


The stereotypes and preconceived notions surrounding women and driving reflect a larger issue of gender inequality and the need to challenge societal expectations. Philosophically, these biases arise from deeply ingrained cultural norms and assumptions about gender roles, perpetuating a belief that certain activities or skills are exclusively meant for one gender. However, your experiences challenge these assumptions and showcase the importance of breaking down such stereotypes.


Your story reminds us…

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A very heartfelt read! Also reminded me of the discussion we were having in class today about women generally being stereotyped as bad drivers just because of their gender. And the examples that you gave like the remark your friend made is just another stark reminder of our society holding onto traditional gender roles that discourage women from taking the driver's seat in the first place. Lastly I think your mother’s resilience really shines through you!!! I loveee that you started off the blogpost with her example and I have so so much respect for her. All that I've ever learnt is from the women in my life. (reading this also reminded me of my own mom who drove me…

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It's truly disheartening to read about the stereotypes your mother faced while driving and the prejudice you encountered as a young girl behind the wheel. It's ridiculous how people can underestimate women drivers and throw all sorts of stereotypes their way. Your mom's determination and confidence are seriously impressive. And kudos to you for tackling off-roading at such a young age and showing everyone what you're made of!

Let me not get started on everyone questioning your off-roading skills just because you're a girl? I think that you've proven time and again that your gender does not define your skill or passion. I personally think that your love for driving and your ability to handle any situation on the road…

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