Our celebrities have a large fan following and their words have an impact. When they use their celebrity status and clout to spout inanities, it is important to call them out. Recently, a clip of an interview of celebrity couple Shahroz Sabzwari and Sadaf Kanwal went viral where Sadaf made some problematic comments. “Our culture is our husband. I married him, which means I have to pick up his shoes and iron his clothes. I know where all of Shahroz’s things are and what and when he has to eat. I need to know these things because I am his wife and I am a woman. He doesn’t have to know the same about me.”
First of all, a woman’s life does not have to revolve around her marriage and her husband. She has her own agency, her own life. Secondly, what kind of marriage is Ms Kanwal propagating where a woman is the one doing everything for the husband while the husband does not need to know anything about his wife’s likes or dislikes and does not have to do anything for her? Marriage is about an equal partnership, marriage is about giving and take, marriage is about sharing responsibilities, marriage is about companionship, marriage is about compatibility. Marriage is not some one-sided relationship where the woman has to keep making compromises or do everything in accordance with her husband’s whims and fancies.
In a patriarchal society, a lot of women are told these things because women are only seen as mere objects instead of equal human beings. We are living in the 21st century now; we should really be challenging such archaic notions every second, every minute, every hour of our lives. Ms Kanwal also said that feminism has become a part of our lives now because liberals have ‘increased’ in society. We think that Ms Kanwal does not know the meaning of feminism. A feminist asks for equal rights for women, equal opportunities, an end to the oppression of women, an end to violence against women, and much more.
Also, why are words like ‘feminists’ and ‘liberals’ used in a negative and derogatory way? Just because they call a spade a spade? Our celebrities really need to educate themselves on these issues. Ms Kanwal has a budding career as a model, she has financial independence too and yet she is dishing out such irresponsible comments, not even thinking about countless women in this country who are stuck in bad marriages because they were told to do what all she is propagating.
As if Ms Kanwal’s comments were not enough, this week we saw a clip from the drama serial Laapata starring Ayeza Khan in which the issue of sexual harassment was shown as some sort of a blackmailing tool. Sexual harassment and sexual violence are serious issues and most of the underreported ones as well.
When drama serials start trivialising harassment and project it as some sort of tool used by women to falsely accuse men and/or to blackmail men, it is a disservice to those countless women who are the victims and survivors of this crime. It is a shame that in this day and age, we have to explain these things to TV networks or writers or actors. Let’s hope better sense prevails in the entertainment industry regarding such sensitive and highly important issues.