If you know me in any capacity whether this is through social media or in real life, you will know that I feel very alienated from my Pakistani roots. I have written a whole blog post about not calling myself ‘Pakistani’ which you can read here. However, today I wanted to discuss my main issue with the culture.
‘You need to learn to cook.’
‘So you can cook for your husband.’
This conversation summates everything. The Pakistani culture declares that women exist for the purpose of men; to take care of them, to please them, to be their slaves. Women are perceived as the weaker sex and thus less desirable. A prime example of this is when a woman gives birth. People are overjoyed if she has a son but a daughter is a consolation prize. Things such as ‘it’s such a shame that she only has daughters’ are reiterated as if females are a burden and a son is their saviour. This is also rooted so deeply within the Pakistani culture that women are happy to accept their positions as a housewife and are ready to berate anyone that hinders this norm.
We must remain at home until we are married, and then again, when the man goes out to work. Our lives become marriage CVs and everything that we do works towards our levels of marriageability. If a woman remains unmarried by the age of 28, she is considered to be ‘past her sell-by date’ and is believed to have something wrong with her. Maybe she cannot have children, or is depressed, or too educated, or not pretty enough? We may as well be made to stand in front of a police line-up wall and be pointed at from behind the glass. We are sold, bartered for. We are not entitled to live our lives to their fullest capacity because we are reined by the hands of men.
I cannot go travelling alone or move out before marriage because ‘what will people think?’ However it is perfectly acceptable for a man to do these things without raising questions. We repress everything whilst men are able to live openly, honestly, abundantly. We must hide a huge fragment of ourselves and thus split our own souls into pieces. Our existence is nothing but the ode of men. I did not endure countless years of education for men to put words into my mouth, to be ‘chosen’ by a man and scrutinised by his mother, to waste away my potential from behind the stove. We are not taught about self-development, growth, healing. We are taught to iron, to cook, to do whatever will please our husbands because we do not exist for ourselves. Our lives do not count unless there is a man beside us, to give us meaning, to be our voice. These things are indoctrinated within men, and thus they treat us as being inferior to them. Abused, manipulated, broken, hurt, we become their property because we are taught to be nothing else.
I am not compatible with the culture that I was raised in. I do not agree with patriarchy and I do not intend on being a part of this system. Whilst I recognise that this is something that is also present in many other cultures, I feel that it is highly accentuated within Pakistani/Indian cultures. My mother was born and raised in
thus carries and conveys a predominant amount of the customs which I am forced
to live my life by. I do not agree with them and do not ever intend to enforce
this on my own children. Pakistan