Dear Imran Khan, please use your mind before you use your tongue. Sincerely, feminism

Published: June 22, 2018
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From Imran’s comments, it’s pretty obvious that he doesn’t know – or knows extremely little – about what feminism actually means.

“I disagree with the feminist movement that has degraded the role of a mother,” said Imran Khan.

Wait… what?!

That was my initial reaction when Imran’s words flashed on the news website. I blinked in confusion and re-read the words, thinking I may have misread them due to tiredness or lack of sleep. But no. There it was, as clear as rain – feminism apparently “degraded” motherhood.

Like most people who took to social media to protest how shocked and disgusted they were, I sighed in frustration and rolled my eyes at the mere ignorance of this man and decided to write this piece. Imran is a former cricket captain and has now turned into a politician, and has this “divine” interpretation of a vision of a ‘Naya Pakistan’ where the government will be cleaned up in 100 days, millions of jobs will be created in five years’ time, along with world-class schools and hospitals being built.

Never mind the big plans for Naya Pakistan, Imran. Pick up a dictionary, look under F for the word feminism and fix your ignorance!

“The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”

“A range of political movements, ideologies and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish and achieve political, economic, personal and social equality of sexes”.

Feminist movements have campaigned and continue to campaign for women rights, including the right to vote, to hold public office, to work, to earn fair wages or equal pay, to own property, to receive education, to enter contracts, to have equal rights within marriage, and to have maternity leave. Feminists have also worked to ensure access to legal abortions and social integration, and to protect women and girls from rape, sexual harassment and domestic violence. Changes in dress and acceptable physical activity have often been part of feminist movements.

From Imran’s comments, it’s pretty obvious that he doesn’t know – or knows extremely little – about what feminism actually means. Born, brought up, living and working in the UK, I’ve experienced some of the aforementioned privileges that feminists have worked tirelessly hard to achieve. I was able to vote as soon as I turned 18 and had a voice about how things ought to be run in politics and in my country. That was due to the suffragettes – feminists who worked and struggled hard to earn us females that right.

I am able to own property in my name and receive an education just as much as the men do, and that came along due to the feminists’ hard work in the English law. I am able to enter contracts and have equal rights to my partner within a marital relationship because of feminism. Most of all, I was able to take a year off work – and get paid for it as well – and go on maternity leave so I could spend time with my child and care for her. And that was due to feminism!

So, how on earth is feminism “degrading” to a mother when things like maternity leave were made possible because of this very movement?

Ironically, as he claims that feminism is ‘degrading’ mothers, his comments are degrading to women (not just mothers) and everyone who dreams of a world where men and women are equal. Dreams of equality do not damage humanity. What is, however, even more degrading is that this same man also opposed the Protection of Women Against Violence Bill along with his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Someone who so openly demonised a movement that has always safeguarded the rights of women has also played his part in further deteriorating the status of women in Pakistan. Should women not be protected if they are suffering abuse and violence? Is that not against motherhood?

As a Pakistani girl, I have witnessed many accounts of violence where women are vulnerable to abuse. A man who dreams of creating a ‘new Pakistan’ by creating jobs, schools and hospitals could begin a ‘new Pakistan’ by doing the right thing and avoid ‘degrading’ attitudes and words such as these.

If Imran’s words have established anything, it has confirmed that he isn’t the right person to comment on feminism and womanhood. It just goes to show how much more development his mind needs to go through before he can develop the maturity and the intellectual ability to comment on things like motherhood. Just because he can talk a ‘good talk’ – like a typical politician – doesn’t mean he has the right to make insulting comments like these.

Before making huge assumptions about ‘feminism’ and how ‘degrading’ it can be, people like Imran need to educate themselves about topics about feminism and womanhood. Use your mind before you use your tongue, as one wise person advised. Rather than making big promises about cleaning up government and world-class schools and hospitals, maybe get the simple, basic and most important things right.

It is imperative that Imran, before being a politician, practices being a decent human being first!

aneka.chohan

Aneka Chohan

The author is a freelance journalist and human rights activist. She tweets as @anekachohan (twitter.com/anekachohan)

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

  • Syed

    U r telling IK to use brain but u didn’t tell him where to find ?Recommend

  • omair

    He talked about western definition of feminism degrade motherhood. Plz Don’t misquote .Recommend

  • Wajeeh

    Well said Imran. Woman is made to do the most difficult and responsible job on earth which is buidling a nation of good people and therefore she must not be dragged to streets for some cents and dimes. She is made to do a great job! Salute to all mothers who are doing their job responsibly. It is the concept of Western men to amuze themselves with the presence of women at work. Reality knock.Recommend

  • MuhammadSaadRashid

    Oh my days, the level of burn these feminists have is uncanny.

    Telling Imran Khan to become a decent human being first just because he says ‘Motherhood’ needs more respect and he doesn’t agree with Feminism? Is that how you argue and keep the threshold of your tolerance?

    Sure, he might not be well-aware of the feminist concept, but instead of educating, you writing a whole essay where you’re mainly criticizing and blasting on Imran Khan simply shows why arguing with typical feminists is just waste of time.Recommend

  • Ashar Nasir

    He is talking about 3rd wave feminism which is another form of CANCERRecommend

  • Sami Thinker

    A woman is designed to care, love, help and create lenient atmosphere. In response Man is to protect, feed and love his family. Either it is Feminism or Manism or any sham stuff it can never bring peace in society. Only tolerance and respect can.Recommend

  • Obaid

    Please stop conflating the critique of feminism with misogyny.Recommend

  • vinsin

    Who designed that way? Can woman be made slave? What do you mean by peace? How and where can you get? Who sells peace? Where is tolerance in your statement?Recommend

  • vinsin

    What is that? What are 1st and 2nd wave? How many wave feminism are there?Recommend

  • vinsin

    And when that happened? What is western feminism and non-western feminism? How many times feminism are there? How western feminism degrade motherhood?Recommend

  • Parvez

    If one disagrees with the concept of ‘ feminism ‘ as is projected today … it does not mean he is a misogynist. In my mind it means the man has his wires crossed and needs to get educated on the issue of feminism and what it actually means.Recommend

  • Tash

    Well I agree with Imran. Women are supposed to look after the kids and home. Man is supposed to look after the provisions for his family. Next these women will be talking of equal share in inheritance. These women are preaching Western ideas. We don’t accept those ideas.Recommend

  • Asad Ali Malik

    Feminism started with good things but now has become a blackmail keyword.Recommend

  • Mohammad Waqas Maqsood

    Well said imran I agree.Recommend

  • Zeeshan Khan

    stop this propagandaRecommend

  • Ammar

    Equal share in inheritance?? The horror!! Someone has to stop these feminists before they bring about the end of the world.Recommend

  • goggi (Lahore)

    He who does not fulfill his FATHERLY duty has no right to become a father. Neither poverty nor work nor human considerations can relieve him of his duty to feed and educate his children. Believe me, my readers, I tell anyone who has a heart and neglects such sacred duties, that he will shed bitter tears over his mistakes for a long time and never find consolation.
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau (philosopher, pedagogue, naturalist and composer of the Enlightenment)

    In view of the above wise saying, it is superfluous to say about Mr Im the dim!Recommend

  • Sami Thinker

    Creator of this universe has designed that way. Serving homies is not becoming slave it is the soul responsibility of woman. Peace is not a pizza which is sold it is an atmosphere which is created by trees of love and tolerance. I am unable to see tolerance in your comment!Recommend

  • SkepticalFaraz

    A 100 years ago Westerners thought the same way as you. Don’t fight change.Recommend

  • Ashar Nasir

    vinsin why are you replying all comments. I wonder if you have any Islamic knowledge. I guess you are one of those libtards who think that there is nothing wrong in use of women as property in advertisements…and Islam teaches slavery etcRecommend

  • shujaat

    :) I dont know of which society you are advocating…. In my home my mother decides what we eat, my mother decides how the home should be, my mother work in a college and when she come home my retired father had cut the vegetables or cleaned up the meet to be ready to prepared, in our society mothers decide what to gift anybody. mother decides what we and father will wear, our every male child loves her mother more then any body else. In public places we stands up for a lady we give path first to a lady, we lives in a society where we are not allowed to stare a women, we lives in a society where we make separate quo of womens….. You can not bring more rights to the women in this society at least go find some else…. yes there are irregularities like every other crime which occur is condemnable…. y dont you advocate the death penalty on a rape ? you can not be a feminist then a muslim society.Recommend

  • Patwari

    If it is a..”MAN”…meaning he is not a child or a teenager, then his wires will
    remain crossed. ‘them wires ain’t changing’.
    A person’s personality, sense of reasoning, distinguishing values, right from
    wrong IS SET in the early teenage years!! [according to psychiatry 101, and psychiatrists]
    From there on he/she/them are very much set in their ways.
    So sorry, there was no psychiatry during the Indian Mutiny of 1857.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    The feminism movement in the West has ‘degraded’ the role of a mother- Imran Khan.
    Does he realize he just insulted Jemima? His Western feminist ex wife who is doing an amazing job bringing up their kids.

    — Shamila Ghyas (@ShamilaGhyas) June 19, 2018

    The right response to a man living in the past obsessed with motherhood, not recognising equal rights for women.IK is one of the bonsai Trumps who regard women as a peace of meat.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Harris Ahmed

    Imran is right, feminists should tolerate criticism then getting triggered and writing essays. criticism isnt misgonyism, IK is right on feminism and liberals.Recommend