You ain’t no princess

Published: November 11, 2011

Stop being damsels in distress, and start opening your own damn doors.

In wake of the ceremonious lambasting of the Y-chromosome, I believe I have a right to mount a defence. Now that Pandora’s box has officially been opened and the first stone has been cast in the battle of the sexes, dare I put my own two cents in?

In the past, I’ve often defended women in our present social milieu to the point where I fight to keep my own men’s club card from being revoked. I’ll lay my cards on the table and admit up front that I’m a feminist. I can sense eyebrows being raised at the concept of a male feminist, but that’s the way it is.

Feminism is about gender equality, and the entire movement would be self-contradictory unless it caters for the rights of both women and men. This is why I’m compelled to say the following:

Why is it sexism only if men do it?

At what point in history was the term hijacked, and rewired to work only for women? In no universe can I call the Pakistani women “a desperate being” without inviting the pointy end of a stiletto to the vertex of my skull. If I deny myself the guilty pleasure of constructing negative stereotypes about women, can I expect the same treatment in return?

While there is simply no excuse for chauvinism, men do not have to be sorry for being men. Wanting to be in the company of a girl, or even multiple girls, is not a behavioral trait indigenous to Pakistan. A young woman may cut her way through a horde of creeps using a chainsaw if she has to, only to find out that Prince Charming is a non-existent entity. However, it’s not all bad to settle for Prince Charming’s less sought-after cousin, Duke Goodenough.

Pakistani girls need to stop wanting to be “looked after” all the time. If they grow up (if ever) expecting to find a man with the strength of Hercules, the face of Apollo and the wit of Dr House, a suckerpunch of disappointment is what they rightfully get.

Guys are not perfect, and neither are girls. In all likelihood, you’ll end up with a partner expecting to lean on you as much as you want to lean on him. In other words, you’ll find half a Zorro whom you’ll have to complete by becoming the other half yourself.

Stop being damsels in distress, and start opening your own damn doors. Any relationship with one party depending wholly on the other is a disaster waiting to happen.

For our own sake, we need to steer away from the Utopian concepts of macho, steed riding men and beautiful, sandwich making ladies, and learn to accept each other for the imperfect individuals that we are.

Faraz Talat

Faraz Talat

A medical doctor and bubble-wrap enthusiast from Rawalpindi, who writes mostly about science and social politics (and bubble-wrap). He tweets @FarazTalat (

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