Part of the problem

I’m irritated. I’m irritated because I live in a country where people can’t see themselves as a systemic part of the problem, only as saviours & champions. One would think that adults would realise that when someone refers to say the elite, or the rich, then they are referring to the collective, looking at it critically and not targeting individuals. Perhaps our persecution complex has become so deep rooted that only deprogramming will remove it…

I’ll give you an example. A few days ago I was talking to someone about the fashion industry and it lead to a conversation about how we all perpetuate the beauty myth. We are all part of the system that allows it to flourish. Whining about it without challenging it is ludicrous.

At one point, I said: “mothers, too, force their daughters to comply with norms like encouraging them to wear high heels and ignore the pain.” At that point, my mother & sister went into uproar. Total outrage. “No they don’t! No mother I know does that!” My mother then added, “I never did that that to you!” Clearly they weren’t making the effort to listen to my words. They were simply assuming that I was referring to my mother (because any daughter who uses the word “mother” must only be talking about her mother, right?). I told them both to watch Toddlers & Tiaras.

My mother may not have forced me into high heels but perhaps she’s forgotten that she had to bribe me in order to endure waxing at a young age. I remember crying & hiding and could only be coaxed to endure it if I was given enough candy, money and comic books. Of course, this then lead to a very jealous younger brother who went ahead & got his arms waxed because he too wanted candy. Poor thing. I don’t blame him.

Deliberating inflicting pain on your daughter simply out of the fear that her hairy body will turn men away can definitely be classified as anti feminist. And just because she, a feminist, chose to do this, doesn’t make this ok. Nor does her association with WAF give her a free pass. She is part of the system that encouraged her to raise a daughter who, like most women, hated her body for years. Feminists aren’t immune to it at all.

Pakistan is flawed because we are flawed. Pakistan is corrupt because we are corrupt. And nepotism, which we only protest when the Bhutto’s perpetuate it, is rampant, accepted and common. This is a system that we are all part of and simply pointing fingers will do nothing but create a whiny culture with a severe persecution complex. Acknowledging oneself as part of the problem can lead to change.

PS: this post was inspired by an aunty who unfollowed me on twitter. See here’s the thing. This aunty was VERY encouraging until I tweeted about her son harasses women. I guess seeing me out her flesh & blood was too much for her. It’s ok for me to be critical of anyone who isn’t related to her it seems. Ironically this aunty is also a “champion & saviour” of women’s rights. Like most elite feminists, she gives elite men a free pass to do as they please. They aren’t part of the system or part of the problem in her worldview. I think this explains why so much of our activism is unsuccessful.