Rule or tradition, here’s why Muneeb Butt saying women must cook at home is messed up

Rule or tradition, here’s why Muneeb Butt saying women must cook at home is messed up

The actor says that he likes it when his wife Aimen cooks for him as it "improves their emotional connection" and shows her love and care for him.
25 Apr, 2023

Actor Muneeb Butt has us confused. On one hand, we’ve seen him cook various dishes for his wife on his YouTube channel but on the other, he says they don’t have a cook at his house because the women of the family should be cooking.

In a recent interview, the actor was asked about something he said that landed him in hot water — “We have a rule at home that we don’t hire chefs, Aimen cooks because that improves the emotional connection between wife and husband.”

Butt explained that “everyone has their own way of thinking and every household has its own system”. He says he used the wrong word and “instead of calling it a ‘rule’, I wanted to call it a ‘tradition’”.

“I am someone who likes to carry on traditions. I still stand by this. When a wife cooks for her husband, it not only shows her effort but also her love and care for him,” he said.

His wife, Aimen Khan, explained, “Actually Muneeb loves what I cook for him and he’s usually on a diet, which I feel not everybody can make [food for]. I have help and his mom cooks as well. He gives me so many compliments for it and it doesn’t take too much time and I don’t do it alone, Muneeb’s mom helps too.” She added that on days when she doesn’t feel like cooking, Butt cooks for her.

To each their own, but sometimes, we wonder if celebrities understand the repercussions of what they say publicly and how this may affect their fans. Shouldn’t cooking or working be a choice for everyone? Calling it a “rule” or “tradition” followed because they “don’t like putting sense in everything” is dangerous. There are millions of people who look up to Butt and follow what he says. His fans also see his vlogs in which he’s seen cooking multiple times, which is great, but when he says women must cook, it tells them that the man can cook when he wants to but the woman doesn’t really have a choice.

His wife is one of Pakistan’s most popular celebrities and to hear her publicly preach that women must stay home to cook is also problematic. She admitted that she has help, but not everyone does. Many women are forced to do all the housework and cooking and don’t have an army of staff to help them. Butt and Khan’s words just reinforce the idea that these women must slave away in the kitchen, with little help from their husbands because it is “tradition”.

A celebrity repeating something like this often inspires justifications for bad behaviour. How many men will now go to their wives and use Butt’s words as justification for not helping or forcing them to serve everyone?

Butt comes from a family where his wife is a working woman and has made a name for herself in the industry through her own hard work. His vlogs also show him to be a helpful husband who takes care of his wife and is open to the idea of doing equal chores, which is in complete contradiction to this statement.

But this isn’t the first time the Buddua actor has come under fire for misogynistic comments. In 2021, Butt was asked about his phobias on the Nida Yasir show, where he turned the question around on Yasir who admitted that she was afraid of her husband getting married for a second time. Butt’s response was, “Yes, you should be afraid of this. All women should be afraid of this and so they should pamper their husbands so that they don’t divert their attention somewhere else.”

He was slammed on social media for this ridiculous statement and, in response, posted a seven-minute clip addressing the incident. Instead of accepting his mistake, he accused several “small publications” of using him as clickbait.

The issue is far more complicated than the usual celebrity blunder. From what we can see on social media — though social media is no indicator of a person’s true personality — Muneeb Butt seems to be someone who understands that chores should be shared. He said, “I also cook and I’m really good at it.” But then he also said only women should be the ones cooking.

We don’t know if the confusion is in what he’s saying or what he believes, but sometimes public figures need to learn what not to say. There are a lot of people who idolise both him and his wife, but lack the privilege that the couple have.

For those people, Butt’s or any other public figure’s, such as Sadaf Kanwal’s, ‘opinion’ lifting men up and putting women down serves as validation for piling all the work onto women as well as a sorry justification for why women must do more than men. We don’t need “rules” or “traditions” that perpetuate gender stereotypes — we need more people who talk about sharing the burden and equality.