Can a woman ever cause harm to another woman? Logically speaking it is of paramount importance that any group affected by injustice should stand united. Yet in the case of Pakistani women, that sadly does not happen.
When we speak of patriarchy, we immediately think of a concept created and imposed by men. While this is true to a large extent, we cannot possibly ignore the fact that in our country, unfortunately, many women also encourage and promote patriarchy. Women often promote the injustices brought by patriarchy by implementing them within their own homes. Women are often seen to be criticizing other women for not following the norms set by men. Women can be seen to prefer their sons over their daughters and women can be seen to be forcing their daughters to suffer silently at the hands of men.
While it is true that men indulge in professional politics to restrict the growth of women, we cannot ignore that fact that women too backstab their female colleagues. Sadly, women can be seen indulging in office politics more than men. While the rest of the world is trying to fight against gender pay gaps, women here can be seen to be in a constant war against fellow women.
Men in Pakistan will always criticize a woman over what she wears. It is with great shame, however, that I must say that I, along with countless other girls, have been criticized over what we wear not only by men but by women too. It is women, who talk in hushed tones if another woman dresses up in a way that society, which follows the standards set by men, does not allow.
When a girl has male friends, it is very common for her to attract criticism from the men in her family. However, have all of us who have male friends not been slut shamed by women that we know? I have perhaps been more conscious of what the women around me have to say about my male friends than what men have to say.
Falling in love is never an easy task for a Pakistani girl. Not only does she have to deal with the society and its absurd restrictions, she also has to please her mother-in-law. It seems as if women don’t consider any girl worthy of their sons. There are countless obstacles, numerous flaws are pointed out and in a majority of the cases a girl is met with severe resistance from the mother of the boy. More often than not, it ends up in the loss of love. In the defeat of a woman lies another woman’s victory.
So this Women’s Day, my wish is to see a world with less scrutiny for women by women. Both professionally and personally. I wish for women to get acceptance without having to try so hard. For women to understand other women instead of making things harder for them. The world is difficult enough for girls and women. Let's not make things worse.