Comedian Ali Gul Pir's recent post on social media was quite different from his usual light-hearted content — it was a serious message directed at those who have no qualms about making toxic comments about people.
It all started when the Karachi-based comedian posted an image on Instagram in which he's dressed up as American actor Lili Reinhart from this year's Met Gala — albeit in a funny way that makes good use of loofahs.
What seems like innocent comic relief didn't come across as so for many of his followers. "You look really bad," commented one Instagram user. "Men don't look good wearing girls' clothing or doing their fashion." An opinion we strongly disagree with — who are we to dictate what people should wear?
Gul Pir didn't like it much either. The comedian posing in a pink dress shouldn't become a cause for concern and he made that clear. "I will wear what I want to, make want I want to and say what I want to," he wrote on Twitter. "Nobody will define my masculinity or dictate my creativity. Don’t hate me because I make you feel insecure."
The comedian isn't the only celebrity who's taken a stand against toxic masculine standards for Pakistani men. In July, actor Adnan Malik spoke about the issue on The Coffee Table on Indus News. "When we come into this world, it is all very instant," said Malik. "Boys like blue, girls like pink. Boys need to play with boys. Men are not supposed to be sensitive. It starts at a very early age at school where an older person bullies you for being sensitive and that's where the process starts and it kind of persists throughout your life," he said.
It's high time society lets men be as they wish to be, whether that means being vulnerable, being emotionally expressive or wearing pink or 'effeminate' clothes (whatever that means anyway). We're glad Gul Pir has thick skin and doesn't let the trolling get to him, but that isn't the case for everyone. Toxic masculinity feels claustrophobic for many boys and men and has adverse affects on their health, both mental and physical.
The world is moving on and we need to throw away toxic notions of masculinity to move along with it. Let people wear and do what they want and we'll all probably be much, much happier.