It has been a month since the #AuratMarch, and unless one lives under a rock it is hard to escape all the conjecture around the movement. Though there have been many sections of the Pakistani society that have accepted and encouraged the #AuratMarch, it has largely been criticized and trivialized. With a whole spectrum of reactions it garnered, the most commonly used adjectives have been vulgar, unnecessary, immoral, unpatriotic, western, etc.
Some have called for the organizers to be arrested and raped, others have mansplained why the #Auratmarch is a social evil and few responded with their own slogans for a virtual #MardMarch. Some men defended their right to sending unsolicited pictures and explicit content to women without their consent. There exists a considerable body of women opposing the march, with their own placards, one of which translates to “You are a street b***h, while I am a home queen”. A woman may have a wonderful husband, but her experiences do not warrant that everyone has the same privilege. A placard that read “divorced and happy” opened up a crucial debate, challenging the prevalent opinion that divorced women are miserable damsels in distress. An alarming number of netizens argued on the logic that rights are finite like a piece of cake and giving women rights will deprive men of theirs. One placard held by a young man as a reaction to the #AuratMarch translates to “If I give you your rights who will give me mine”
Simone de Beauvoir, an existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist, and social theorist states “The point is not for women simply to take power out of men’s hands since that wouldn’t change anything about the world. It’s a question precisely of destroying that notion of power.”
Men, women, and everyone else who falls on different areas of the spectrum should enjoy equal liberty and equal protection of the laws. To assume that the #AuratMarch is merely to facilitate women is an uninformed notion, feminism is good for everyone. Gender equality means moving away from rigid constructs that a person can be defined and limited by their gender, be it a man, woman or anyone else.
Trivializing the #AuratMarch to sexist jokes takes away from what it stands for, in simple words equal protection of the law and equal rights. Human rights are universal, inalienable, and indivisible. Before we spew hate on the #AuratMarch, we should introspect and reflect. We need to recognise the enemy within. Social structures that have been decaying our nation, the sooner we realize the more lives we save.
Attached are a few headlines of what transpired in Pakistan in the past 4 weeks.