Why do Pakistani men have a roving eye?
What is up with Pakistani males and their need to objectify every female that crosses their path?
I emphasise on the word Pakistani because having lived in the West, I have never come across a culture or society where men have such difficulty lowering their gaze.
It is something that has to stop!
Not only does it make a woman feel uncomfortable, if not naked, it is an extremely degenerate and distasteful trait in men. Married men, who indulge in it when their wives are sitting right next to them, are particularly loathsome.
It starts the minute I land at Islamabad airport right to when I reach my final destination. Whilst sitting in the car and minding my own business, you have motorcycles roaring past with their passengers peering into the car having seen the silhouette of a woman from the rear window. I honestly feel I have Elephantiasis, a gross enlargement of a limb, or some monumental flaw on my face which is the cause of such unjustifiable attention.
There are some women out there who actually get some sort of an appalling pleasure out of these stares and dress to impress just to fish up more looks.
I, for one, am not one of them at all.
Some unfortunate husbands and brothers keep their women covered from head to toe to prevent these stares but they don’t realise that sometimes even that is futile.
In England or Canada, the most a woman gets is a person looking at you once and then looking away. At most, she’ll get a couple of looks, anything more than that is considered staring and ultimately, very rude.
When u travel u realise that Desi men r the only living taroo masters left. They will stare at women till their eyes fall out.
— Faisal Qureshi (@faisalqureshi) September 23, 2012
I know there are many other important things that are on the priority list of what needs to be changed in Pakistan, but this is something that needs to be discussed and alleviated. If we claim to be a Muslim country with emphasis on men “lowering their gaze” to protect their modesty, then it should be implemented as well.
The question remains on how to go about changing this habit. Maybe it should be discussed and talked about in the media or in some sort of public forum but the topic itself is perhaps absurd for national TV.
How do you even discuss such ogling or even acknowledge that men have this problem?
Most of the time men are in complete denial!
Staring pandemic RT @faisalkapadia: In your opinion do people in pk have a staring problem or is it the woman's problem?
— Ayesha Hasan (@AyeshaHasan) July 16, 2012
“Aunty bhi taroo ga, uncle bhi taroo ga”
(I will stare at an aunty, I will also stare at an uncle)
The lyrics are particularly funny because it implies that guys like this will gawp at anything and anyone. Although the song is meant to be taken light-heartedly, it doesn’t really tackle the issue head on.
Perhaps the solution if for women to be pro-active.
I’ve actually seen some women take matters into their own hands. My own mother, in fact, once punched a man for invading her personal space, only for him to walk straight on without looking back.
On one occasion, a group of us girls were in a marketplace when we noticed a guy staring at us from his tinted car as he drove by. This started annoying us as the same behaviour had occurred a few times before. Next time he returned, I decided to pick up a rather large rock closest to me and started walking towards him whilst looking directly at him. I lifted the rock up and shouted,
“Do you have a problem?”
This resulted in him speeding away in a panic-stricken state and not returning. It was quite relieving and hilarious at the same time. Only when women start shouting and fighting back will the men realise that it is unacceptable to behave like this.
Women have to take matters into their own hands if they want to feel protected, but when a society is ingrained with this disease, the battle seems fruitless at times. Many women just stay silent because they don’t want to have the issue spiral out of control.
Tackling the roving eye syndrome will require radical change, through education and a shift in values to abolish such behaviour.
Sadly, I don’t think this problem will be rectified anytime soon. One can only hope that a majority of women will unite together to make a stand against this repulsive habit.
I, for one, am starting to take a stand by teaching my young son that it is extremely rude to stare at anybody.
What will you do?
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.