Note: This is a work of satire
KARACHI: If you’re a desi man who feels personally attacked whenever a social media post calls out men upholding patriarchy, then today is our day, dear Men’s Rights Activist!
November 19 is the official International Men’s Day, celebrated worldwide to give a voice to men like me who believe that not all men are harassers or rapists, or just in general emotionally crippled, privileged beings.
Today is our day, dear Keyboard Jihadi who taps vehemently on his keyboard in his lonely cubicle in an attempt to tear down a feminist on Twitter. After all, #NotAllMen.
Women just don’t seem to get how difficult it is for us. Fine, we don’t have to fight to stay in school, or worry about an upcoming promotion or ever feel the need for self-surveillance when we go to Zainab Market and try on jeans.
But those are smaller issues. The problems starts at home.
What breaks my heart is that Ammi Abbu are in on this discriminatory behavior. They worry about my sisters Sumaira and Ammara more. They don’t care for my safety at all when I go out of the house to play football or just hang out in the street corner with Bilal Bhai and the gang.
Ammi will only check in on me occasionally to know my whereabouts and it’s still completely acceptable for me to come home by midnight. In fact, Ammi is always relieved to see me and would even lie to Abbu for me about what time I got home.
But it’s nothing like the hue and cry they make when Sumaira Baji doesn’t come home by sunset from her (hot) friend Sarah’s house. When I come home, I am showered with blessings but if Sumaira Baji comes later, she’s bombarded with a hearty scolding followed by silent treatment.
My parents often say to her, “Tumhare bhalay keliye he kahrahay hain… [We are only telling you this because we care about you.]” But what about me? Do they not care about me?
With Sumaira Baji, it is all about honour and society’s expectations from moral women … but what about my honour and respect? Why am I not expected to uphold the same morals? Why don’t Ammi Abbu hold me to the same standards as they do to Sumaira Baji?
As if that’s not enough, what really gets my blood boiling is the only time Ammi calls me is to ask if I can bring naan on my way back home.
“Wapsi per naan letay aana, aaj nihari banayi hai,” she says without a single care for ruining my after-school plan to hang out with your friends at Chai Shai.
It is so annoying! Why do the women in our households feel so entitled to our time? It’s not like we asked them to cook dinner for us or serve us when we get home after a tiring day out with my bros. We also never asked them to wash our clothes or do the dishes or clean our bathroom so that when we get home, we get to take a piss in a clean toilet bowl, have something nice to wear and gulp down hot nihari-drenched niwaalas from squeaky clean plates.
They just expect too much from us. And mind you, dear women who think we men have it easy, none of this is worth standing in the tandoor line as another woman waltzes in and grabs 10 pieces of freshly baked naan.
Tell me. Why… Why do women get to have a separate line for literally everything while we are expected to stand in a longer queue? This is especially true for Pakistan. Why is it safer for us to stand and wait in a line outside a shop than it is for her?
Why do men stare at her for all of the 60 seconds that she’s there for, as though she’s the naan they want? Where is the equality?
Let’s talk about the #MeToo movement. It’s a witch hunt. Apparently suggestive comments or remarks on a woman’s clothing or physical appearance amount to sexual harassment. Without any touch.
It blows my mind how women think they can catch us having dirty thoughts about them just because we look at them for far too long.
Like I literally feel pressured to censor my thoughts and wear a veil to cover my sexually suggestive expression and my wide, ogling eyeballs when I talk to Sarah Baji.
And it is equally devastating that some of us have started turning on our own.
I mean, how else can I describe how sexy Bilal Bhai’s sister is without trusting that Ahmed won’t tell on me?
I know we are supposed to think of them as our own sisters … but really, everybody knows their sister is up for grabs (pun intended). They just don’t need to find out about it.
Anyway, I just want to reach out to all the men who feel unsafe in this era of third-wave feminism, living in a call-out culture, where our masculinity is equated with something toxic and our male ego is seen as fragile.
We have fallen victim to our freedoms. And it is time we rise.
Happy International Men’s Day!