There are two things common between the proponents of Mera Jism Meri Marzi and ISIS: One, both can trace their creation back to the United States. Two, both do not tolerate a different point of view: it is either their view or the wrong view.
There is a strong similarity between what has now become known as Mera Jism Meri Marzi and a Netflix show called Black Mirror. The show is about the unexpected consequences of new technologies. In any story in that show series, the futuristic scenario is depicted where people use a certain form of technology and live in a kind of modernity that the character feels comfortable in but the viewer feels the oddity of it because it is a shift too quick and too easy to fathom and be comfortable with. For example, one interesting story had everyone giving their fellow citizens a certain social score as per their behavior. That score impacts everything they do.
In that very story, one man buys drinks for everyone in the office to create an image of himself as a good man, all for the purpose of boosting his score. He becomes the target of ridicule. That is how some of the journalists on some of the Pakistani news channels appear like; completely ridiculous. The ease with which the characters appear to be adapted to the technology in the show has strong parallels with the ease, which the fake feminists in Pakistan have with slogans such as ‘Mera Jism Meri Marzi.’
Marvi Sirmed on TV feels she has the right to provoke and insult people but when returned in the same coin, all the counter-arguments become classified as insulting women. Spare us this tactic of playing woman card when you run out of intelligent arguments. I wonder if Geo is going to block her from appearing on their channel for her insulting conversations, and her abusive and insulting tweets she sent out not too long ago.
Why is the media giving these proponents of Mera Jism Meri Marzi a free pass? Don’t they want every issue and opinion heard and debated? Isn’t that what they write in their editorials when their newspaper circulation is disturbed? Isn’t the entire purpose of journalism the creation of an informed citizenry and the tolerance of every opinion? The ‘Khalai Makhlooq’ is accused of manipulation but the news media themselves manipulate in a much more sophisticated way. Are you cut from the same cloth? Or Are you worse? Take your pick.
And it is funny to see Bilawal Zardari coming out in support of this so-called Aurat March because it sounds nice to be supporting a good cause, especially one that deals with rights of the people. But a little perspective and examination would help us all. Sindh Tenancy Act (STA) of 1950 is a law that protects the rights of the peasants in Sindh. The law is the result of the efforts of the peasant leader of the time named Hyder Bux Jatoi. This law that was supposed to protect the rights of vulnerable labor at the hands of the manipulative landlords was amended by the PPP in 2013.
The following words were removed from the law: “But the landlord shall not take any free labor from the tenant or a member of his family against his will.” That ensured the death of any rights the poor peasants of Sindh had. The last word of the above-quoted sentence is “will” and that sounds a lot like Marzi. What about the rights of those peasants? What about their physical work and their choice of working conditions? In other words, what has Bilawal done for lady farmer’s Jism and their Marzi? More than half of them are women.
The trick that the fake feminists or rather I should use my preferred name for them; the ‘Trash Brigade,’ is that they cite some of the individuals on Twitter who use abusive language for them and equate that with the majority of the view.
There is another trick that the Trash Brigade pulls. It is the Israeli trick or the Modi trick. Any scholar in the United States who criticizes Israeli policies and actions are quickly labeled as anti-semitic by the Israeli sponsored lobbies in the United States. The same argument is made if you criticize US foreign policy. You are labeled as a Taliban sympathizer if you dare criticize the US actions in Afghanistan, for instance. You are labeled as a Pakistani, a curse word in India if you dare criticize Indian actions in Kashmir.
The critique that every sane minded and open-minded Pakistani is making is against the ulterior motive behind these filthy sounding slogans. The trash Brigade is equating that critique with the critique of the cause. No man in his right man is against the rights of women. They’re against the abuse of this nice-sounding cause for the sanitizing of obscenity, immorality, and rude behavior. The critique of language such as used by Marvi Sirmed and the critique of this garbage laden rhetoric is equated to be criticism of equal rights of women.
When the proponents of Aurat March argue that theirs is a decent and peaceful struggle; I wonder if they think the following slogans are decent: khana main garam kar loongi, bistar khud garam kar lo (I will warm the food, you warm your bed yourself), mocking fun of being asked to sit in a decent manner they drew pictures where a girl is sitting with legs spread wide open saying Lo baith gayi sahee se (Here I sit in a decent manner), Mahwari hai tau tum ho, mahwari se kesi sharam (Women get monthly periods that is why you were born, do not be ashamed of our periods). I can go on and on, but the point is there is no limit to their indecency. Women demanding respect do not behave like this.
Furthermore, the end does not always justify the means because if this Trash Brigade gains whatever it is after, there would be massive hatred toward the good women in this country. Denying them equality would become an issue of ego. Most importantly, respect is earned not enforced. Men lower their gaze when a woman is walking by not because he is afraid of violating the state law or the edicts of some newfangled steroids injected social movement, he does that because this is about his decency and they genuinely believe in the idea of respecting women all around. Do not be surprised when men and women in this country, whether in universities, workplaces or somewhere else start seeing themselves from the prism of this filthy slogan and hatred is created.
Aamir Liaquat accused Khalil ur Rehman Qamar on live TV that the latter was dividing people with his views. The problem is that dividing men and women with this new fake feminism is the real creation of division now. Several friends I spoke with told me how the female colleagues in their offices now behave differently and suspiciously because of this propaganda drilled into their heads. That is how the division looks like.
As good as I can see, there are four distinct groups. One, the Trash Brigade that likes to make noise about Mera Jism Meri Marzi. Most of these members already have every right that they can imagine. Two, the men who have no problem with equal rights for women but are against the nefarious causes and fake feminism such as that espoused by Marvi Sirmed. Three, the women all across Pakistan who feel perfectly happy in their lives but are told to march in lockstep just as Pakistani TV viewers are told to pick a team from the PSL. I am from KP and I do not know one player in the team Peshawar Zalmi, yet my friends expect me to support that team. Fourth, the men who always cite foreign conspiracy theory at work. They do more harm than the Trash Brigade because they keep providing loose ends to them.
I just have one question from these journalists and self-proclaimed sell out human rights activists: Can you claim the same Marzi over your words or pen? Or is it perfectly fine if the agenda is dictated from outside? It is high time the truth is spoken, and the truth is that most of the women who have come in support of this filth in the media are the ones either enjoying already more rights than men or looking for some cheap fame. In both scenarios, it is fake.
The writer, Imran Jan, is a political analyst. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.