According to the Aurat Foundation’s VAW report, there were over 7,000 cases of violence against women in 2014. In the first half of last year 2,926 cases were reported.

Pakistan is the third worst country for women in terms of the Gender Inequality Index (GII) and the worst in terms of women work participation in South Asia.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan there were more than 500 cases of honour killings in Pakistan last year.

According to the Commission a rape occurs in the country every 2 hours, and a gang rape every 8 hours.

While modern feminist theories differ on phenomenology of female embodiment – from Simone de Beauvoir’s “passive… inert given object” to Shulamith Firestone’s “privatized reproductory system” to Judith Butler’s “alibi for gender (mis)construction” – female body politics, in our neck of the woods, can be summarised by the now popular lollipop fallacy.

The lollipop fallacy claims that a woman is like a candy, which invites insects unless it’s properly wrapped. The ‘properly wrapped’ bit varies according to communities, socio-political constructs and the magnitude of patriarchal prevalence.

How the lollipop fallacy dehumanises a woman into a delicacy meant to savor and satisfy taste buds has been dissected by libraries’ worth of feminist literature, even if not directly addressing the theory. Even so, its simultaneously blatant dehumanisation of men needs to be a part of both male and female feminist literature, especially in the Muslim world.

The lollipop fallacy equates men with insects and explicitly suggests that a male cannot – or at best finds it excruciatingly hard to – control his sexual desires, at the sight of a woman not dressed in accordance with a particular society’s benchmark for modesty – the ideal lollipop wrapper if you will.

What’s ironic is that the male ego, which can be immensely fragile in our part of the world, not only endorses the idea that the entire male population comprises of bugs waiting to latch on to any glimpse of candy, it also vociferously endorses men being stamped as beasts for every ‘na-mehram’ woman.

Shouldn’t modern day masculinity – theories of gender superfluity notwithstanding – be determined by re-humanising of both sexes, with upholding gender equality – not sameness – as the bare minimum? Shouldn’t modern ‘manliness’ be determined by one’s dedication towards readjusting the millennia old gender imbalance to at least an eventual semblance of parity? Shouldn’t a modern day ‘macho man’ be a ‘radical’ feminist?

But we seem to be quite content in being insects, for it allows most of us to ‘own’ – and not earn – ‘our lollipop’, and rids us of responsibility for the ‘over-enthusiasm’ we manifest in attacking other candies.

If covering up was a guarantee against sexual violence 99.3 percent Egyptian women wouldn’t have reported to being sexually harassed according to a UN Women Report in 2013, or 58.6 out of every 100,000 Saudi women wouldn’t be sexually assaulted – this in a country where you need four male witnesses to the act of violence for it to count as rape.

And again, before we start peddling numbers from the West, let’s first acknowledge that sexual violence isn’t reported at large in the Muslim world, owing to a commonly held misconception over ‘honour’.

The prevalence of the ‘honour’ killings and acid victims in Pakistan can also be explained by the lollipop fallacy.

By reducing the woman to a tempting object, we reestablish her as a property owned by a man. The sweetness of the candy serves as the ‘honour’ of the man or family – and often clans, tribes and nations.

Once that sweetness is accessed by anyone not a stakeholder in the lollipop’s ownership, the candy evidently becomes ‘useless’ and can hence be thrown away, broken or in many cases distorted to ensure that no one else gets to ‘own’ it.

The lollipop fallacy also unravels why both men and women need feminism – a label even women fighting for female rights tend to avoid, owing to the overbearing baggage of misconceptions.

As is evident, patriarchy dehumanises all genders with men traditionally bestowed with a mélange of suprahuman and bestial characteristics and women perpetually objectified. We need to convey the simple reality that feminism does not exhibit a male-female dichotomy and rather divides the world into two different camps: those in favour of raising women rights and privileges at par with the level long enjoyed by men, and those against it.

The use of the fem- prefix implies that out of the two conventional genders women are underprivileged and hence feminism focuses on their struggles. It does not in principle belittle any of the men’s gender based struggles, many of which – again – are a corollary of patriarchy and not an offshoot of feminism.

Even so, we need to understand that the Pakistani society is still reeling somewhere between the first and second waves of feminism, with many parts of the country still devoid of de facto women suffrage under the patently unconstitutional jirgas. And hence postmodern patriarchal deconstruction when thrust upon the average Pakistani, often adds to the inertial resistance vis-à-vis feminism.

While urban centres in Pakistan might have the technology that defines fourth-wave of feminism – its perceived demerits and merits notwithstanding – the average mind is oblivious of kyriarchal ideas and isn’t ready for a ‘radical’ dissection just yet. A glimpse of an untainted mirror would be a good start.

Right now our politics is dominated by debates on whether men should be allowed to beat their wives or not. Convincing men that they’re not insects would be progress as things stand. We have a lot of unlearning to do.