I believe that anything is possible in Pakistan; our law and policymakers are especially good at following Andre Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto because when it comes to women, they throw out every ounce of reason and let their thoughts be free.
Recently, one of our lawmakers, and not to my surprise, a woman, inculpated the rising divorce rates on women who smoke. She stated that the number of female smokers in the past few years had increased significantly, and it is pretty obvious how it is not detrimental to actual life, as it is to marital life. She claimed that women smokers are not accepted by their in-laws, which leads to divorce, and that she knew such women personally. Now, this is an interesting take because what our Miss know-it-all forgot to read off her notes was that it is women who are initiating divorces. Perhaps it could be because of the mistreatment of women by their in-laws, how they are expected to leave behind their entire life to serve them, or maybe how they are a victim of mental and physical abuse by their husbands; and intriguingly, all of this could be because these very lawmakers fail to pass or implement any law that protects women’s rights.
Why is it that men who smoke are accepted by society and women are judged for it? It reminds me of the lyric, “Mein karun tou saala character dheela hai.” I think it explains the gender-bias dynamic perpetuating in society quite well.
A spokesperson should not speak in public without considering the impact their words have on people’s lives; such narratives result in women leading uncomfortable lives filled with insecurity and unacceptance. The concept of Rosalind Gill’s “new sexism” can also be applied here, which considers men to be more privileged than a woman. But at this point, is it sexism or insanity?