Atiqa Odho thinks Naumaan Ijaz's joke about cheating was 'naughty and entertaining'

Atiqa Odho thinks Naumaan Ijaz's joke about cheating was 'naughty and entertaining'

What's so entertaining about a married man joking about flirting with other women?
10 Sep, 2020

From normalising catcalling, to making smug remarks about fat-shaming, being insensitive towards trans people, or straight up abusing, Pakistani celebrities are evidently not too bothered about respecting women or marginalised communities.

Finding himself making headlines recently was veteran actor Naumaan Ijaz, who in a resurfaced clip from Iffat Omar's show, found himself making light out of infidelity and the #MeToo movement - ironically dismissing that the latter only happens because of straying away from religion.

"I'm such a great actor and an intelligent man that my wife, thank God, never finds out," he shares, as he speaks about falling in love with a different woman everyday, and often flirting with them in the process. "I love beautiful women who are hard to get."

While men like Ijaz do a wonderful job in exposing how fallacious the sanctity surrounding loyalty and marriage as an institution in Pakistan really is, it is unfortunately, women, who victim to internalised misogyny, or reasons unknown, encourage and support them.

Taking to social media, Humsafar actor Atiqa Odho defended her peer, mocking viewers' own "imaginations" for not being able to take a joke.

In a country where infidelity is not only common, but at the core of greater issues such as lifelong trauma, shattered families, physical abuse and dishonouring labels reserved only for a divorced woman, being asked to feel "shame" for "quickly judging Ijaz on a light-hearted moment on camera" seems to be my favourite celebrity advice.

"You really know how to get people's attention! You are so naughty and entertaining. Never a dull moment on and off screen," she writes, dismissing it as a casual joke. She adds that his wife and her "buddy" also, finds it hilarious.

Genuinely flabbergasted, I read and re-read what Odho says, but fail to understand what I should be entertained by - a man openly joking about being interested in another women while having a family at home? Boasting about being able to hide adultery well? A host not surprised at a shameless confession of infidelity? The "naughty" man on my screen? Or the fact that despite all this, it is women, who are villains, uphold bad character and stray "away from religion"?

For actors suggesting that matters pertaining to women's submission should be laughed at, I have just one thing to say: jokes about infidelity, cheating partners, flirting outside of marriage, and mocking the sanctity of what is supposed to be a relationship of trust - are distasteful, demeaning and crass.

They might be amusing to those not on the receiving end; but they are certainly not funny. We bet the men wouldn't have such a great sense of humour if it was their wives, talking about them this way instead.