I am a Pakistani woman and there is nothing wrong in letting men help me carry my luggage

Published: February 2, 2014
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Pakistani men know how to behave well and how to present themselves to a woman.

Recently, I came across a blog titled I am a woman and I can carry my own luggage. By the looks of it, the writer clearly seemed frustrated by how porters at the airport behaved with her and it is obvious that her opinion hailed from her experience.

However, she also accused Pakistani men of treating women badly and felt harassed by the porters. This, I think, was a tad exaggerated.

I, personally, do not see what the issue was all about.

On the one hand, women talk about having equality and stand in line with men but then, they also wish to be respected and given extra attention by them. I am a woman and even I feel confused as to what the female race expects from men.

The problem is that we don’t know what we want from men.

We are in a constant battle with our mind because we cannot decide if men should treat us as their equals or treat us with respect, care and attention. I believe the blogger was probably stuck in the same battle when she wrote her piece.

In my opinion, Pakistani men really know how to respect a woman.

Offering help to women is in their blood and our men are famous for their chivalry and charm. Since they have seen their forefathers doing the same, it is a part of their culture and upbringing. It’s not like they are flirting with you or trying to harass you; that’s just how they are. At times like these, I remember a quote which became quite popular and was incessantly shared by people on almost every social media forum a few months back,

Or like in my fellow blogger’s case, for harassment.

The charms and mannerisms of desi men, and Pakistani men in particular, are unmatched. While men abroad will be polite and open the door for you while you struggle with your suitcase, a Pakistani man will probably open the door, take your baggage from you and put it safely in your car. That is the level of respect that men here have. It is not out of a show of masculinity that they inconvenience themselves to help you- it is out of sheer respect and duty that they feel bound to help you. When a woman enters the room, a Pakistani man will stand up to greet her, whether the others do or not. If you are a friend’s wife, they will refer to you as ‘bhabi’ and go out of their way to make sure you are comfortable; they will treat you with hospitality and generosity- not because they ‘fancy’ you, but because there is a ‘Pakistani code of conduct’ when it comes to the treatment of a woman.

If your car’s tire gets punctured, a Pakistani man would never let you change it yourself in his presence – he will do it for you and if he is unable to, he will make sure that he gets it done for you.

There are many more examples where men voluntarily and sincerely offer to help women in Pakistan in their times of distress. Pakistani men know the obstacles we face and will stand in the face of adversity to make sure we are able to get through unscathed, but that is not because they question our strength, it is because they don’t see the harm in giving us a boost.

Take child birth for example. Giving birth to a child is not a joke and men understand that. So, I personally believe that the idea of men considering us weak or underestimating our strength is an absurd one. And no, they don’t think that we are not strong enough to carry our own luggage – they do it out of courtesy and us assuming anything else is just a sign of our own complexes creeping up.

To this blogger and all women who think like her, this is what I want to say,

“You should feel lucky that you are Pakistani because our men know how to protect us, how to respect us and how to shield us from the real bad guys – the shady ones who roam around our society, actually harassing women. Pakistani men know how to uphold the concept of aurton ki izzat (women’s honour).”

What is ironic is the fact that when men to give us respect, we deem it harassment but if the same man treats as an equal and ignores our presence in the same way they would another man, we condemn him and attack him with our all-time favourite line,

“Is this how you treat your own mothers and sisters as well?”

My fellow blogger was talking about luggage at an airport?

The men in my area don’t even let me carry milk cartons or flour bags to my house and I surely don’t consider it to be harassment. These are the little perks women in Pakistan enjoy; revel in them.

Thank you for all your help Pakistani men. You guys rock!

Aisha Waris

Aisha Waris

A graduate from the University of Karachi, a blogger and a die-hard fan of culinary arts, she tweets as @eyeschawaris (twitter.com/eyeschawaris)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.