“Brutus, You too”…..or Simply “Me Too”…
Harassment at large, probably the most misunderstood word in Pakistan, right? Well for me this is an understatement considering the severity of the word itself.
Well let us build our case to the bewildered population of our country, shall we?
From Weinstein to Kavanaugh, the sixteen letter word in italics has been a center of attention in the last year or so. Unfortunately for us, a nation of 220 million, we still aren’t privy to what does this sixteen letter word entail for a lot of us out there.
We all have been acquainted with #MeToo, recent allegations of sexual harassment on local and international heavyweights from all walks of life, twitter wars and etc.
Sajid Khan… You too, latest updates from the “Me Too” campaign.
Here is to A Different Perspective of “Me Too”
I would be lying if were to say I am surprised, not that I think men are capable of such
animalistic behavior by default or that I think celebrities are spoiled little children who have
far too much power and resources at their disposal to act sane, but just that I know, being a
a woman, what is it like to move in a power structure which positions you at a situation of
a relative disadvantage with men.
The relative preponderance of power men have over women
at a financial, social and cultural level in all contemporary society, inevitably opens avenues of
exploitation and misuse of power. It is not all men, but it is still some men that unfortunately
have all the power they need to victimize and humiliate women who compete for equal
opportunity and equitable rights in a structure where the opposite gender has a head start just
because of their gender.
I am well aware of the costs that come with being an independent woman or an independent person in general, but to demand from women to stoop to a level
where they are hurt and damaged to a degree which makes it next to impossible for them to
report and seek help let alone recover and come back is exactly what such predatory
behavior from the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and apparently Sajid Khan and many others accused thrive on.
This is more than an ethical or cultural situation, this is a political issue, which is as real and subtle as exploitation regarding class difference, xenophobia, and racism.
To those who aim to paint it as a movement of Women against Men, fail to see that it is actually an issue of women fighting against the cultural and structural violence which they are faced with, that eventually open avenues for direct violence like harassment, rape, exploitation, threat,
blackmail, defamation, and manipulation because women as a gender were absent from the
balance of power present inside societal and institutional design.
When you end up hearing,
“Why did she go to his office in the first place? What was she expecting in this line of
Why can’t they just stay home?
Well, you have to make a few compromises if you
want to succeed!….then please know that there is something deeply wrong at the premise
our consciousness regarding the theories of equality and justice.
To the men who move up the ladder of success, I ask: how many of you were pushed to assert your sexuality or were forced
to deal with the sexual advances and favors on a daily basis as an alternative to your
professional and intellectual skills?
How many times you were disregarded not on grounds of your skill level or ability but your gender due to the socio-cultural constraints that were designed deep into the society, you move in so that it was impossible for you to be recognized apart from your gender, and the threats inevitable with being a woman?
How long has it been since it was OK to be a woman and to work, to speak
up, to dream, to question the unquestionable with a much more active and participatory role in this society of ours?
You will be surprised as to how many societies in the world can measure up to the
notions of gender equality and those that apparently just found out that there’s more.
They were not as safe and equal in terms of social justice and liberal values as it might have
seemed to the naked eye.
The issue of sexual harassment, particularly in the workplace, is of a deeply complex nature and the current polarized narrative we have towards it is bound to keep us at a distance from a resolution anytime soon.
What a shame, that we are ashamed of the women who were shamed on accounts of being just a