Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What happens when a Pukhtun man wears a burqa and goes into a bazar - hint: harassment & sexual advances from men of all ages

I just saw the best video of all time from a Pukhtun TV program: a man wears a burqa (full body covering) and goes into the bazar or the public to learn what it's like being a woman in public in Khyber Pashtunkhwa, Pakistan's NW province. Of course, we know that harassment is universal, and men will do everything to justify it. In many cases, women, too, justify their harassment and blame themselves for it. Harassment. We've all heard about it, and many of us deny it or will blame the woman on it. Or talk about it in such a way that the woman's at fault instead of putting the blame in the criminal.

Finally, more and more is being done to raise awareness of the problems that women face in public spaces no matter how they are dressed. In this case, he says he's wearing a burqa, not wearing any nail polish, has lowered his gaze, and is otherwise doing everything a "decent" woman is expected to do when she's in public. And yet ... the invitations, the harassment, the stares - from men of different ages and different educational levels (well, there are some college boys there) ... it'll anger you.

It's in Pashto so you might not be able to understand it if you don't know the language, but there are times when you don't need to know what's being said; just note what it's being done instead. How the woman is being approached, how many men stop, how adamant the men are about taking the woman home or wherever it is that they want to take her

And, of course, there are people in the comments section of the video who are blaming it on the woman as always - "why's she there? That's why women are supposed to stay at home." Shame on all you cowards blaming this on the woman still. For once, men, PLEASE take re
sponsibility! Stop assuming that women don't belong in public places or if they are there, they're prostitutes! Even if they're prostitutes, once they say"no,", you don't keep trying to get her. This is so appalling.

Also, the solution to this problem of sexual harassment in public that women face *ALL THE TIME* isn't for them to stay at home. It's for men to change their mentality. There's nothing natural about men lusting after women who are in the public. It's completely unnatural. What needs to change isn't women, their attempt to be respected in public and elsewhere; what needs to change is for men to stop seeing women as sexual objects created for the pleasure of men, be it their husbands or the random men on the streets.

You don't even know what a woman's reasons are for being where she is. In this case, like in the show, the guy says he'll pretend he's a mother going to get some medicine for a sick child at home with no men to do the task. Even if that weren't the case, women still should be respect in public spaces. If you want to know how civilized a society is, look at how it treats its women--both publicly and privately.

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