Was there an earthquake on our Instagram account last night? We found some distressing comments bunched under the old war cry of ‘Is This The Islamic Republic Of Pakistan?!’. Some people declared that they will unfollow our account for posting such content. At first, naturally we thought this was in reaction to a murder story, or regarding the number of rape cases we post everyday. But surprise, surprise, it wasn’t. No other post got this kind of attention or criticism like a video of actress Ushna Shah dancing at her wedding did.
Pakistani women walk a tightrope everyday. They can’t declare to the world that they want to remain childless and single for the rest of their lives; not without attracting criticism for “hurting the sentiments of millions”. Or if they do choose to marry and remain happily in love with one man for the rest of their lives, they’re criticized for being extremely vulgar, refusing to confide with traditions of our society, and even promoting Western values.
Because for Pakistan, a happy woman is a sinful woman. And any woman enjoying her life and living it to her own terms is what will trigger an already joy-less nation. Nothing else will attract this much hostility and negative backlash the way a woman dancing away on her wedding will.
Like here is someone declaring that the reason for earthquakes striking Pakistan is because of a bride dancing the night away in a red dress?
Ma’am, what sort of crime did Shah commit by spending her own money on her own wedding, and then happily dancing because she was in love? Did this massive earthquake over look the rise of poverty, corruption, terrorism and murder cases and clutch it’s pearls because of a woman being happy and in love?
Or like this azeem shakhs who declared Shah was a kafir for dancing away in a ‘shameless’ dress which showed her bare midriff.
Did you get invited to her wedding, or even pay for the events and more specifically her dress? No! Then keep your nose out of it. Women don’t need to mold their lives according to how people’s expectations matter. It’s her dress, she decides what to wear.
And we haven’t forgotten the pile of hateful content that specifically targetted Ushna Shah’s dress, insulting her with terms like ‘Indian’ like this commentor is.
Because color me pink, red was solely a color that Indian brides have worn. Anyone familiar with the history of Pakistan knows our culture and wedding practices are no different from Indian ones. Many Pakistani brides have worn wedding dresses made by popular Indian designers like Sabyasachi, while the same happens across the border. Besides that, Shah, or any other woman, has the right to choose what dresse she wants to wear on her own wedding.
Ushna Shah had herself stepped in to silence the critics by reminding them that by the end of the day, it’s her choice to wear what she wants and celebrate in any way that makes her happy.
“To those who have a problem with my dress:
You weren’t invited, nor did you pay for my shade of red.
My jewelery, my jora: purely Pakistani.”
And that extends to every woman in Pakistan. They can celebrate the happiest day of their lives without paying attention to the negative voices in the shadows.