It turns out that some celebrities actually do check their DMs. Take actor Armeena Khan who went through her inbox and found a fan confused about the Aurat March. Well, fret not dear fan, Khan made it a point to address your question and concerns with some meaningful answers to help you — and everyone else — understand just why Aurat March is needed.
Every year come March, women take to the streets to voice their issues and demand rights as part of the Aurat March. While many support the march as a much needed platform for women, others don't hold the event in the highest regards. Khan shared screenshots of a question a fan sent her about the march and the actor shared her answers on Instagram for everyone's benefit.
"With all due respect, I want to ask how the Aurat March will bring change in the life of those women who are oppressed, get raped, harassed in offices and workplaces, — even schools and madressahs — murdered, abused and killed in the name of honour?" the fan asked.
"A man who kills his daughter brutally will not be in anyway be affected by this march," they continued. "I am a huge supporter of feminism and want equal rights for everyone but those women who are already privileged, educated and have all the basic rights, right from birth, march for those who do not even have basic rights. Will this bring any change?"
Khan's fan believes that "only men can bring real change" in the lives of women. "... girls who are not educated and do not know any skills other than home chores end up getting married to men double or triple their age and obviously these girls cannot say no because this is what their fathers and brothers want and sometimes get money in exchange for their daughters and sisters and the vicious cycle goes on. I think that only men can bring the real change. They can be the chain breakers only if they want to be, [I] want to know your thoughts," they said.
Khan replied and said she felt the question "needed more than just a story post". "Killing, raping and denying basic human rights for women and girls is unacceptable, we can agree on that," the actor said. "Change is required. We can agree on that. But not everyone understands this change, so we can agree it needs to be communicated to wider society. Women are the best placed to decide what this change should look like. Women need a platform, a voice and equality of access to the public realm. Marches and protests are an established historical mechanism to enact socio-political change the world over, for example the Suffragettes.
"Aurat March cannot change everything singularly," Khan said. "It is not the complete solution, it is only a part, an important part of a range of actions required. As for privileged and educated women being part of the Aurat March, they are part of the movement because they are women. Their social position doesn't disqualify them. It's like saying Jinnah shouldn't have marched for the establishment of Pakistan because he was a westernised, educated, privileged man who had little in common with a poor subcontinent Muslim."
Many followers appreciated Khan's earnest answer to her fan and added to the conversation. "Just the fact that we are having this discussion, is a sound first step to addressing this long overdue issue of gender discrimination," one follower commented.
"People may associate this march to be a waste of time but this is exactly the kind of voice we need, to shake up the decision-makers and the leaders. More voice [means] more pressure on the authorities to prioritise cases of domestic violence and femicide, to at least provide justice and authority. People who complain that this is against Islam — you just need to review the news from last year till now on how many cases of violence have been found against women (and violence is actually contrary to the meaning of the word Islam, [which means] peace)."
Well said, Khan and her followers. There's nothing like a healthy and positive discussion to warm the heart and further the cause of improving the lives of women. Let's keep fighting the good fight.