Mira Sethi wants to know why our definition of masculinity starts and ends with a woman's clothing

Mira Sethi wants to know why our definition of masculinity starts and ends with a woman's clothing

Your 'mardangi' should be be strong enough not to feel threatened by what a woman wears, the actor said in a recent interview.
25 Oct, 2021

Mira Sethi is known for not mincing her words when it comes to talking about women's rights. She's been vocal about intolerance towards women in society as well as a woman's right to dress however she pleases. In a recent interview, Sethi talked about how society's definition of masculinity has become so fragile that a man's pride feels threatened by a woman's choice of clothes.

In an interview with Independent Urdu, the Chupke Chupke actor shared her thoughts on the objections raised against what women wear on social media. "I saw a comment underneath a post made by my colleague and friend Ushna Shah on Instagram," Sethi said. She was wearing jeans and a top in the post and the comment underneath it read 'if my mardaangi (masculinity) compels me to act in a certain way now then don't blame me'."

"What is this masculinity exactly?" she asked. "Why is your definition of masculinity and pride so narrow that it starts and ends at a woman's clothing? An independent woman and a broad-minded man can both co-exist in this society together."

Sethi mentioned the prevalent perception of masculinity can't handle the thought of women wearing, what is perceived as, flashy or bold clothes. "I really don't understand this," she said. The actor asked people to broaden their minds and definitions of masculinity. "If a man is sitting in front of me wearing tight jeans, I won't just go on and say 'your tight jeans are pulling me towards sin'. Women don't speak like this," she assert.

Our thoughts don't go in this direction and this society hasn't even given us the right to speak like this to a man, she said. "But men think they can say stuff like this to women anytime."

Why do men police us so much? the actor asked. "If we talk about your masculinity then it should be confident enough and allow you to live without it feeling threatened. Of course, we have to be mindful of not crossing certain boundaries. As women we are aware of what those boundaries are because we live in this society."

Sethi was met with criticism for her choice of clothing at the Lux Style Awards. In response, she posted a lengthy message on Instagram telling her haters to back off. "Go home. I don’t dress for you," the actor had said. "I don’t dress for anyone or anything other than my own sense of joy and play and expansion. The men of this country are obsessed with policing women, constantly defining their ‘honour’ in relation to women’s bodies and clothing and appearance. It is a small minded, decayed, hateful thing to do. You want to disempower us because a deep part of you is hurting and angry. I get it. It’s societal and it is ugly."

In her recent interview, Sethi urged men to think deeply about the issue at hand. "People often say to men you have mothers and sisters. Yes those women are mothers and sisters but they are individuals as well. People often ask 'why did you rape her? She's someone's mother or sister'. Why can't people just ask 'why did you rape her?'. Full stop."

The actor also shared her thoughts on the efforts being made for women's rights in Pakistan. "I believe that the oppression women are facing in Pakistan these days has increased a lot," she said. "A bill against domestic violence was not passed in parliament recently. It wasn't passed because of 'politics', even though it should have been passed. I think the government should take these things seriously. They aren't taking it seriously though, and so people have to raise their voice against these issues. Women have to raise their voices. I believe we have a very long way to go.

"Our Constitution should be so strong in upholding women's rights and protecting women against violence that we would not have to worry. Unfortunately we haven't reached that point yet," she emphasised.


Ch. S Oct 25, 2021 05:26pm
Women who "aren't naturally beautiful" have to take refuge in skimpy dresses to match up. Just saying.
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Ibrahim S Oct 25, 2021 05:43pm
Almost all men don't know that women dress up for other other women and not to attract men.
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Zulfiqar Oct 25, 2021 07:53pm
It doesn’t. It’s YOUR perception about masculinity that does.
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Peace and love Oct 25, 2021 08:27pm
It has nothing to do with Masculinity it is about control, men want to control and fear losing that when they see a woman express freedom which is her bith right protected both by religion and the constitution.
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Dr. Ahmed Oct 25, 2021 08:59pm
Who is this person suppose to be? an actress?
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Maria Oct 26, 2021 02:01am
Some women are fortunate enough to be surrounded by men who can provide them safety regardless of dress choice. Others are not so fortunate and have to rely on dress choice to provide them with safety!
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Pakboy Oct 26, 2021 03:50am
Who is this guy.
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Rehana Bounse Oct 26, 2021 05:28am
@Dr. Ahmed . You don’t know who she is . Have you been living under a stone?
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SIAK Oct 26, 2021 06:31am
You tell me what’s right and wrong according to our glorious Islam?
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Faisal Oct 26, 2021 08:35am
@Ibrahim S because men are entitled and think the world revolves around us. It does not.
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Kaliwal Oct 26, 2021 11:21am
@Rehana Bounse sorry to say but her popularity is being an actress. Know you know her daughter of sethi or some writer?
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illawarrior Oct 26, 2021 11:48am
@Maria NO! Even women who are covered from head to toe get harassed and raped. The answer lies not with the women, but with the men. Even a naked woman has the right to say yes or no!
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Parvez Oct 26, 2021 03:00pm
She has made a valid point ......
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Maria Oct 26, 2021 03:59pm
@illawarrior a woman’s dress can be a way of saying NO. When educated elite think and write they have their myopic glasses on. They don’t think of the women who walk miles to fetch water or pick tea leaves, when a powerful elite woman insists that her dress choices are universally acceptable safe blah blah it’s simply a lie or a lack of understanding of ppls circumstances
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