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COUNTER SIDES OF THE AURAT MARCH 2019

AuratMarch2019 happened in Pakistan for women rights supported by NGOs, Civil Rights Society and Social Activists.

AuratMarch happened to materialize on March 8th 2019 on the International Women’s Day. Hundreds of men and women participated, ideally to promote basic women’s rights in Pakistan. The march picked momentum by the evening in numerous cities of Pakistan like Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar, Larkana, Multan and Faisalabad.

The rift began to develop as soon as the pictures of women holding placards surfaced on the social media. Initially, it looked more of an anti-men march than women rights march and was taken aback by the social media trolls. The entire nation went numb and the reactions were a mix of both love and hate.

There’s no denial to the fact that the spice of boorish language, added to advocate women empowerment and rights didn’t outline the authentic liberation of Islam in general. But it won’t be wrong to admit that Women March raised some underlying issues that women face in the male-dominated society of Pakistan, Aurat March’ 19 was a lot more than what it looked on the social media.

Here we’re summing up the Aurat March 2019:

The Good:

In the midst of all the slogans, rants and sarcasm, some placards were good enough to waive the heat.

  • Ao Khana Saath Banaye:

This earned a lot of praise, appreciation and love by both men and women because this demanded equality at a ground level. This slogan was directed to a segment who believed that ‘cooking belongs to women only’, however if we bring Islam in perspective, Sunnah is the first thing that clearly says that house chores aren’t just women’s game! In fact, it is solely on the priorities set by the couple. Our last prophet Muhammad PBHU, cooked, washed the dishes and helped his wives throughout his life.

  • Mujhey Kya Pata, Tumhara Moza Kahan hai:

This is one of the popular ones, justifies to an extent that men getting married or reaching adulthood must understand that they’re signing in to a more responsible role rather than stooping down and demanding unnecessary attention. They must learn to be domestically independent, in fact, help women in the house chores.

  • Stop Domestic Violence, Honor Killing and Sexual Abuse:

Pakistan houses a variety of groups that incite extremism and protect crimes like domestic violence, sexual abuse and honor killings in the name of family honour, religion and patriarchy.

Aurat March Protest on Domestic Violence

Women demanded legal inclusion and execution on the cases, vocally justifying that there is never any man being honour killed, then why women?

  • Dowry

Women raised their voice against the concept of dowry saying, “Jehaiz Khori Bund Karo.’ According to the protestors, dowry ritual has seeped in from the Subcontinent. In Naya Pakistan, it must be legally penalized from society. If not, there has to be a legal way forward for the people demanding it. Makes sense!

  • Safe Spaces

The revolutionary march raised voices for safe spaces where women can come together to relax, play, have conversations or receive support in a setting free from judgment or discrimination.

There are many more valid demands that women registered through AuratMarch’19 but the topic has more to it.

The Bad:

This part may bring some distaste, but that’s what came out as a loud cry.

The bad were thought to be too obnoxious, maybe the words or the slogans weren’t possibly the great fix to register women’s rights. Language was beyond the expected women’s vocabulary like, showing a girl sitting with legs wide open saying, “Lo Sahi Say Beith Gaye” – it clearly wasn’t the true representation of the Culture and Strong Women Ethics in Pakistan.

Upon talking to one of the protestors, she says,

“This is to bring all those fingers down who want women to sit a certain way, straight back, closed legs, all ladylike. However, we have women in filming, sports, journalism and so on who can’t achieve what they want to achieve by sitting a certain way.”

The answer brought another dimension and the trolls weren’t even close to the point.

Another came as a slap to the audience, “Khana Garam Kardoongi, Bister Khuud Garam Karleina and the rage that outpoured was horrendous. Men and women both opposed to the vulgar representation of Pakistan and demanded investigation against the NGOs and different bodies behind the show. This was against the men stereotyping women and restricting them to kitchens only.

The satire based placards like, ‘Mein Awara, Mein Badchallan’, ‘Dupatta Itna Pasand Hai to Khuud Pehan Lo’, ‘Tum Karo to Stud, Mein Karoon to Slut’ were among the batch that made countless rounds on the social media. All these slogans made sense but people believed that they could have been put with the right choice of vocabulary, and the right context. The loathsome language made the march more vulnerable.

And the movers and shakers!

A large number of the social media gurus, celebrities, thought leaders and community leaders who always voice out their point of views, turned their back from any political, religious and cultural debates and enjoyed the memes rolling around it. Many claimed that this is going to settle; why to make or break any relationship based on the opinions, let it happen.

Many of them didn’t comment at all. Upon inquiring they preferred staying away from the subject. They were not ready to share any comment.

The Aftermath:

The social media war didn’t stop with a few rounds of personal reviews, heated tweets and the video shares. The women behind the show seem to have ganged up to respond to the backlash, which itself proving, “Aurat hi Aurat ki dushman hoti hai.”

The famous poet and author of best selling books, Kishwar Naheed shared her apprehensions about the language used in Aurat March 19 and was badly trolled by the Aurat March Supporters.

On the other hand, men have announced to carry out MarchMarch in response to project the true picture of equality and feminism. MardMarch slogans have started making rounds on social media, misleading masculinity with women’s right, but let’s wait for the real show!

No matter what people say, Aurat March’19 went well in terms of registering its space in society. It did take over the mediums like TV, Social Media, Print and Radio.

The leading personalities involved were Sheema Kirmani, Nida Kirmani, Bindiya Rana, Nighat Dad, Ghazala Shafiq, Shumaila Shahani, Qurat Mirza, Meesha Shafi, Atiya Abbas, Sassui Lohar, Shehzil Malik and many others.

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