pakistan
Wednesday Mar 08, 2017
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Then wither, the other half

Then wither, the other half

The struggle for universal equality will continue till the last man stands. We strive for it because that’s what evolution demands of us even though we know in our hearts that the world can never be a truly equal place. But to have a world where half the human species is being systematically deprived of its very identity is absolutely mind-numbing, and by doing nothing most women themselves are an accomplice to this crime being perpetuated against them.

‘Honour’ is perhaps the most intriguing of concepts today. We’ve heard all there is to hear in favour of and against ‘honour’ but very few talk about the psyche behind it because that’s where it gets uncomfortable. Honour is nothing but a fictional reality created by men; it has no physical existence, it can’t be touched and nor can it be seen. Yet, men have been successful in convincing women to shoulder the entire burden of honour alone.

Women have been socially and religiously conditioned to believe that upholding their family’s honour is the only life worth living, absolving men of any and all responsibility and allowing them to categorise women based on the dictates of honour and hence control their behaviour.

To break this cycle, we need to question the reality of honour and the psychological reason why we exclusively associate it with women. Close your eyes and try to visualise who or what you associate with your honour. If the image of a woman, any woman, comes to mind, it simply means that you are completely under the spell of a fiction. If your mind conjures up the image of a man it means you are the devil’s advocate and there’s hope for you, and if on the off chance your mind associates honour with other fictional realities like honesty, sincerity, loyalty and/or decency then you are amongst the rare few on track to evolution.

You may ask, what makes one fictional reality better than the other. The answer lies simply in how we use that fiction to control our reality. Concepts like honesty are used to control socially destructive instincts while honour is simply a power tool used to control the behaviour of others at the cost of evolutionary transcendence.

Humans have the same instinct of self-preservation as other species, whether it’s to save ourselves from death and disease or to ensure the continuation of our race. As women are the carriers of children it makes them the most important asset for men and also the weakest link in their armour against enemy exploitation. They try to hide this vulnerability behind the veil of honour and use this fiction, albeit unsuccessfully, to ensure conformity and deterrence; the logical failure of which has led to other socially deviant norms like honour killings, arranged marriages, anti-abortion beliefs, glass ceilings, forced behavioral modifications, domestic violence, marital rape and so on. Instead of empowering women to be equal partners and strength in whatever war men think they are waging, they chose to go for an intra-species power play. Sadism and masochism can, after all, exist side by side. Pretty convoluted, isn’t it? Perhaps that’s why we have not been able to solve this conundrum.

For starters, we the women need to challenge the Brutus’ and the Trojan Horses within each of us as well as amongst us. And then to get out there, face the wolves, educate ourselves and strive for a meaningful life. To give ourselves the courage to speak out we need to remind ourselves that it was exactly 100 years ago in 1917 when the women of Russia were the first to take to the streets against inequality leading to the unimaginable fall of Tsarist Russia. As for men, they must understand that flexibility is one of the core characteristics that make us human. Without flexibility, we will stiffen and die.

 

Munazza Siddiqui is an Executive Producer with Geo News and Editor Jang-The Economist annual edition. She tweets @munazza193

Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and do not reflect the official policy or position of Geo News or the Jang Group.