For the past two years, the month of March has been a very charged time in Pakistan. Ever since women started taking to the streets and literally marching for their rights countrywide on International Women's Day, men have been getting really worked up about it.
But it really stings when a woman bashes the movement.
Singer Quratulain Balouch took to Twitter yesterday to remind us of the dichotomy between "real" and "fake" feminists:
"Real feminist gets down to work and wastes no time shouting for her “rights”," she tweeted.
Lets just back up a little...
You have the privileges you enjoy because of all the "shouting" women have done before you to pave the way.
Quick question: how are women supposed to "get down to work" when so many of them aren't even allowed to work?
We march so that no woman has to ask for permission for how she chooses to live her life.
Also, why is rights in quotation marks?
While we get that actions speak louder than words, if anything's going to change, we need to first be having these conversations.
Painting us off as unruly, shouting, angry women is just a tactic used by the patriarchy to diminish us; feminists working towards change are just simply clubbed together as "angry", too irrational or emotional to be taken seriously. Similarly, internalised misogyny is a product of the patriarchy that divides us even more.
Also, where does it say that if we're making noise, we're also not doing the work?
Also read: Khalil Ur Rehman, please sit
Tone-policing like this is how women who have gotten the short end of the stick for far too long are silenced, over and over again so it's disappointing when a public figure like Balouch peddles the same narrative. Ladies, don't let anyone, man or woman, tell you that having strong opinions or demanding your rights is the same thing as being angry.
Not to mention, it's just bad timing for her to throw her own gender under the bus; we have enough sexists like Khalil Ur Rehman Qamar, Orya Maqbool and Fazal-ur-Rehman opposing the Aurat Azadi March and slogans like Mera Jism, Meri Marzi which literally advocates for bodily autonomy.
We don't need someone who has internalised stereotypes about how women should behave enforcing on us her idea of what makes a feminist a "real" feminist; it's not that different from Qamar acting like an authority on who's a good woman or a bad woman.
So QB, we encourage you to join us at the March this year and see what women are supposedly shouting for. There are those who hate us, violate us, threaten us, rape us, silence us. We're expected to stay quiet 364 days of the year; we get March 8 to let loose, this is our day. Let us scream and shout and let it all out; our abusers and oppressors don't deserve our civility.
Dear Quratulain Balouch, 'real feminists' don't bash other women