Friday, March 06, 2020
Web Desk

Celebrities who have been surprisingly skeptical of Aurat March slogans

Not everyone it seems is rallying around the necessary and long overdue movement for women’s rights in Pakistan.

Web Desk
Photo: File

While the vast majority of conversations regarding the Aurat March, slated for Sunday, have been positive and celebratory, there were, nonetheless, a few exceptions.

Not everyone it seems is rallying around the necessary and long overdue movement for women’s rights in Pakistan. There were, of course, the predictable opponents - conservative politicians and celebrities - and then there were the unexpected detractors.

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Here are some of the most surprising reactions to the Aurat March and the slogan “mera jism, meri marzi”, which was displayed on a placard at last year’s protest.

Ahmed Ali Butt

The actor and singer in a recent Instagram story called the slogan “a western campaign which supports to make abortion legal, abolish ban on organ sale, and make prostitution legal.”

Butt then also insisted that his fans Google the term, which would ostensibly prove his point. “It is sad,” he wrote that people are following “a funded movement.”

We Googled it, and we are not too sure what the actor is referring to.

'When did Aurat March organisers speak against Islam?' wonders IHC chief justice

Quratulain Balouch

The singer wrote on Twitter that a “real feminist gets down to work and wastes no time shouting for her ‘rights’” (sic).

Many female fans of Balouch expressed their disappointment with the singer’s stance on social media. One women reminded the singer that her success was “built upon a foundation of women before you [who] struggled.”

Mahira Khan

While Mahira Khan has been unequivocally supportive of the Aurat March, and vehemently defended women who came under fire last year, her request to the organizers of the March to be “careful with their words and slogan” did not sit well with many women.

Read also: Bilawal says no one can stop Aurat March from happening

In her Twitter post she asked if women could instead “hold banners of laws we would like to be put into place and those that have harmed women over the years? Don't we want as many people as possible to understand why we march?”

However, journalist Farieha Aziz pointed out that “oppression has many forms. The privilege and rights enjoyed today is the result of struggle of those who instigated and provoked society.”

Khan later agreed with Aziz and wrote back that she stood corrected.

The Aurat March organizers have on numerous occasions explained what the slogan “mera jism, meri marzi”means:

View this post on Instagram

M is for Mera Jism Meri Marzi It is mind-boggling when this poster from the last Aurat March went viral that men asked, “Oh now women want to parade naked in the streets?” When it is the patriarchal, oppressive and inhumane jirga system that has forced hundreds of women to be stripped naked and paraded in the village under the alleged crime of adultery. ‘Mera jism meri marzi’ means that women want bodily autonomy and independence. To be able to have the right to choose in matters concerning their bodies. To choose what to wear without fear of rape. To choose who to marry. To choose whether they want to have children, how many, and when they want to have them. To not have their husbands rape them because they feel entitled to their bodies after marriage. To have access to mobility in their day-to-day lives for work and for leisure. To not have their bodies maimed in the name of having their sexualities controlled. In Pakistan, female genital mutilation occurs behind closed doors and in whispers. There is no basis in any text or science for it except to control a woman's sexuality. It is not 'circumcision', it is violence. It is a violence enforced on young children by members of their family. It is a theft of autonomy and agency. Mera jism meri marzi means my body, my permission. It is a loud call to remind you that women are and should be in charge of their own bodies - just like men. Mera jism meri marzi means an enforcement of a human right every individual is born with, but women, trans, and non-binary person are robbed of. #AuratMarch2020 #AtoZFeminism

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